The endless wait for summer is finally over – so it’s time to start planning that getaway. Whether it’s a quick jaunt close to home or an elaborate escape further afield, here are five destinations sure to please.
It doesn’t get better than summer in the Gateway City, according to Alper Oztok, the General Manager at Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis. “The weather is beautiful, especially in May and June,” he says. “It’s the perfect time to go to outdoor concerts or sporting events.”
One of the Hotel’s greatest assets is its location, within easy reach of the season’s doings. It’s about a mile from Busch Stadium, home field of baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals and a tour stop for such boldface names as Ed Sheeran and Kenny Chesney.
But the star of the show is the famous Gateway Arch. The tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere stands next to the Mississippi River, surrounded by landscaped plazas and riverfront green spaces made for exploring. One of the best views of the 190-metre (630-foot) icon is from a plush velvet chaise next to floor-to-ceiling windows in your guest room. Or do as Oztok does and put on your running shoes. “A beautiful way to start your day,” he says, “is by running or biking along the path that goes by the Arch.”
The Hotel just completed a multimillion-dollar room renovation, bringing the serene and sophisticated aesthetic of its chic public spaces into each room and suite. And there’s the Hotel’s lauded Cinder House restaurant. In a kitchen anchored by a wood-burning hearth, Chef Gerard Craft – the first St. Louis chef to win the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Midwest – showcases the grilling traditions of Brazil and Argentina alongside reimagined South American staples like crab ceviche and feijoada, a stew of black beans and braised beef. Craft credits his beloved childhood nanny, Dia, with instilling in him a love of Brazilian food, and as an adult he worked alongside her to hone his recipes and methods.
Step out onto the open-air patio of the Cinder Bar – so close to the Arch you feel you could touch it – to sip sunset cocktails on the lushly landscaped rooftop. Or head over to the new Game Deck to have some fun with bocce, cornhole, oversized Jenga and more. Each week this summer, Cinder Bar will host “Tasting Thursday” from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, with sampling opportunities and specials featuring wine and spirit varietals.
Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis
While no visit to one of the world’s oldest cities is complete without eyeing its storied dry-land sites, you’d be remiss in visiting Athens without taking time to bask in its seaside splendour.
Standing on the lush Athens Riviera, Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens encompasses 30 hectares (74 acres) of a pine-wreathed peninsula on the Saronic Gulf, just 30 minutes from Athens’ historic core. This stretch of Athenian coastline is marked by serene coves and beaches, and the Hotel claims three pristine stretches of sand connected by a 300-metre (1,000-foot) boardwalk.
Thermal Vouliagmeni Lake, which hovers at 22–29 degrees C (71–84 F) year round, is just a five-minute drive away. “It’s an exceptional sight,” says Concierge Maria Genidounia. “You can swim with small fish or enjoy a picnic surrounded by nature.”
For an aquatic experience that goes deeper, book a full- or half-day island voyage on a vessel from the Hotel’s handsome fleet of powerboats.
“A day cruise to the islands is a must,” Genidounia says. “The nearest island, Aegina, is only 20 minutes away by boat.” Picturesque isles like Paros, Kea and Hydra lie farther afield, and swim stops in the Cyclades are encouraged.
Round out the experience with a feast sourced from the sea. In the waterfront enclave of Glyfada, across Vouliagmeni Bay from the Hotel, Sardelaki is a traditional seaside taverna serving Grecian essentials like mussels saganaki, grilled sardines and marinated anchovies in a laid-back, family-friendly setting. For a more debonair atmosphere, opt for nearby Feedel Asador, Genidounia’s pick for modern Greek cuisine.
Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens
Summer is one of the best times to visit South Korea – especially the capital city. “Seoul is full of life and excitement, with local performances and cultural events. Prepare to be surrounded by so much beauty and entertainment, it will make you fall in love with the city,” says Chris Kim, a Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Seoul.
One of Kim’s top picks is “the country’s premier light show extravaganza” at Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain, a 20-minute display that takes place along the Han River several times day and night in season. “It’s an aesthetic feast for the eyes,” he says. Just a quick stroll from the bridge is Banpo Hangang Park, an excellent starting point for a scenic bike ride along the river, or for having a picnic with some chimaek – fried chicken and beer – and enjoying the view.
Kim also recommends heading to Hongdae, near Hongik University. It has a youthful college-town vibe, with cafés, galleries, boutiques, art markets and restaurants. “It’s a fascinating place to walk around, especially during the summer, when there are a lot of street performances and busking,” he says.
And from now through October, you can visit the Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market, which Kim says is one of the trendiest in town and popular among Seoulites. “The night market is always full of surprises,” he says. Head to one of its multiple outdoor locations to sample both local and international street food and dishes from food trucks, shop for handmade crafts, and watch various performances. (Kim advises guests to check in with the Concierge for the most up-to-date night market details.)
Finally, for a VIP experience worth seeking out any time of year, the Hotel can arrange a private visit to the exclusive Korea Furniture Museum, which is only open for special reservations. “Guests are invited to spend time in this unique space, designed to give you a sense of how Koreans lived in the Kingdom of Joseon, which lasted from 1392 to 1910,” Kim says.
Four Seasons Hotel Seoul
“Montreal is a park city,” says Lara Grafin, Assistant Chief Concierge of Four Seasons Hotel Montreal. “In every district you have a park.”
From June through September, these public spaces transform into viridescent outdoor living rooms, infusing the city with an energy that’s almost tactile. The myriad events unfolding throughout summer add to the vivacity.
“We have all these great festivals that we’re known for,” Grafin says. “The Canadian F1 Grand Prix; Les Francofolies, the French Music Festival; the International Jazz Festival, the largest in the world – just to name a few. There’s always something happening over the summer.”
One of the best-loved events, though, doesn’t tout high-profile sponsors or performers. “Every Sunday, beneath the George-Étienne Cartier Monument in Mount Royal Park, we have the Tam-Tams,” Grafin says. “It’s an informal gathering of people playing drums that starts in the late morning and doesn’t stop until late evening. You can watch, dance or join in.”
Another top spot to soak up the sun is Le Village au Pied-du-Courant, along the St. Lawrence River: “You have an amazing view of the Jacques Cartier Bridge. There are activities, concerts, food trucks, a beer garden and a sandy beach. It’s very relaxed – a great place to go with kids, and a great place to watch the fireworks. Every Wednesday and Saturday night in July we have L’International des Feux Loto-Québec, an international fireworks competition.”
One of Grafin’s favourite summer itineraries is a ride along the Lachine Canal Bike Path on a bicycle rented in Old Montreal: “Stop at Atwater Market, a local food hall, and continue on to McAuslan Brewery, where you’ll find lots of locals enjoying the terrace on the river.”
Four Seasons Hotel Montreal
First things first: North American summer means winter in the Argentinean capital. But temperatures are relatively mild – highs around 17 degrees C (low 60s F), with nights dipping to about 9 C (upper 40s F). The cool but sunny days are perfect for exploring the historic mansions and palaces found throughout the city. Pablo Pintos, Concierge Supervisor of Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires, recommends taking a tour of the downtown area, as well as the Retiro and Recoleta neighbourhoods, in order to appreciate the French-inspired architecture, monuments and famous streets.
If you can, plan your trip in August, springtime in Argentina, when the annual Tango Festival and World Cup takes place. The event includes performances, classes and the championship competition, and there are plenty of local milongas where you can dance the night away. “Milongas are nightclubs where locals get together to practice this romantic dancing,” says Pintos, and Maldita Milonga, in the San Telmo neighbourhood, is a local favourite. There you can enjoy the live orchestra and a row of musicians playing the bandoneon, an instrument in the same family as the accordion.
The Hotel can arrange bespoke tango experiences for you with a private teacher, who can also take you to popular dance spots around town.
Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires
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