Kyoto Cherry Blossoms

You won't want to miss sakura (cherry blossom) season in Kyoto.

The Trips You Need to Take This Spring

Visitors to these five destinations can take full advantage of all the season has to offer, from flowers to festivals.

Spring is the season of new beginnings, so why not see it in a new place, or see an old place in a new light? Here are five Four Seasons destinations that call for exploration this spring.

Long Walks and Football Matches in London

London loves the spring. “It’s the best time to explore the popular sights and the city’s many green spaces, from public gardens, parks and commons to hidden terraces,” says Head Concierge Daniel Griffiths of Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square. And if you happen to be visiting on April 21 – the queen’s true birthday – you’ll likely hear gun salutes during the day in Hyde Park, in Windsor Great Park and near the Tower of London.

Griffiths’ top picks include a walking tour of the City of London, the oldest part of the capital, to explore its winding alleys and historic gems like the garden and ruined church of St Dunstan-in-the-East. He also recommends strolling over Tower Bridge and making your way to the sprawling Borough Market for lunch. “This time of year is perfect for checking out the food markets and picking up some of the best seasonal produce,” he says.

Football fans will want to scoop up tickets to watch pro teams from England compete in the FA Cup at Wembley Stadium in May. Or grab a seat and a pint as you watch from a pub. But flowers are the theme of the season, and you shouldn’t miss the Chelsea Flower Show, May 21–25 at the Royal Hospital Chelsea; it’s been a seasonal highlight for over 100 years.

Blooms, Baseball and Culture in Los Angeles

“Average temperatures in the 70s [lower 20s C] and tons of activities – including stunning botanical gardens, outdoor concerts and al fresco dining – make Los Angeles an ideal place to be in the spring,” says Chef Concierge Jeanne Mills of Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel. Among her top picks: Taking a tour (by appointment only) of the Virginia Robinson Gardens, part of a 6.5-acre estate that also includes a 1911 mansion and a pool pavilion; catching a baseball game at Dodger Stadium; and visiting the Griffith Park Observatory. “This time of year is when we tend to have the clearest and most crisp blue skies, perfect for stargazing,” she says.

This spring, you’ll find in LA the doors to two great photography exhibits. At Hauser & Wirth gallery, Annie Leibovitz. The Early Years, 1970–1983: Archive Project No. 1, through April 14, features more than 4,000 works by the high-profile photographer. And April 26–28 and May 2–5, Photoville LA, at the Annenberg Space for Photography, includes photography displays by local and international artists, workshops, family-friendly activities, and a beer garden.

Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto

In the garden- and temple-filled city of Kyoto, spring is synonymous with sakura (cherry blossom) season, when the city is awash in shades of pale pink. One particularly famous spot for admiring the blooms is the tree-lined road along the Kamogawa River, but you don’t have to stand there. “It’s always enjoyable to view the flowers by riding a bike, or even from a car window,” says Chief Concierge Tomo Shinya of Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto.

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid the crowds. “Viewing the sakura at night is called yozakura,” Tomo says. “And at midnight the Shirakawa entertainment district – after all of the tourists are gone – is certainly beautiful.” He also recommends visiting the temples of Komyoin and Myokenji for some quiet moments.

The Hotel itself has 22 cherry blossom trees in its pond garden, and a number of ways to salute the season, such as a Sakura Afternoon Tea and special pink cocktails like the Hanami Martini, infused with the scent of cherry blossoms.

A Garden Getaway in India

Four Seasons Hotel Bengaluru will welcome its first guests in May – just in time to witness the bright flowers that give India’s Silicon Valley its other nickname, the Garden City. You’ll see the asymmetrical mauve and pink blossoms of the purple bauhinia, as well as Indian laburnum, or golden shower trees, with their cascading bunches of bright yellow flowers.

“A morning walk in Lalbagh Botanical Garden is always wondrous. Just strolling through the trees – some of which are very interesting and ancient – brings joy,” says Assistant Chef Concierge Rachita Bhargava.

She also recommends Cubbon Park, officially Sri Chamarajendra Park. Walking paths, tree-lined avenues, a children’s amusement park, the State Archaeological Museum, and wide green spaces for picnics and playing. “It becomes even more ethereal when the trees are in full bloom,” Bhargava says.

Theater and St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

To hear Kristen Klus, Chef Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, tell it, the Windy City is completely transformed when winter ends. “I love that Chicago embraces warm weather like no other city because we have such a limited amount of it,” she says. “You see this resurgence of vitality – people are biking, walking and kayaking on the lake.”

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations jump-start the festive spring vibe on March 17 with a parade and celebrations around the Chicago River, dyed kelly green for the occasion. The weather can be a little unpredictable, though, so list a few indoor activities on your itinerary. Klus recommends visiting the Lincoln Park Conservatory, where orchids, primitive forms of plant life and all kinds of palm trees flourish inside a beautiful Victorian glass house. “You can go any time of year,” she says, “but it’s particularly pretty in the spring because of the tulips.” Or look into tickets for the Tony Award–winning Dear Evan Hanson, at the James M. Nederlander Theatre through March 10.

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