The endless wait for summer is finally over – so where will you be heading off to this year? Whether you’re looking for adventure, a chance to immerse yourself in the culture of a new city, or a beautiful place to relax and unwind, here are our recommendations for spending carefree summer days and nights in these six iconic destinations.
The months of June, July and August are the dry season in the Serengeti, which means clear, sunny skies and the beginning of one of the greatest shows on earth: The Great Migration.
During this time, a mass of single-minded wildebeest reaches the western and northern parts of Serengeti National Park, crossing the perilous Grumeti and Mara rivers and coming face to face with crocodiles, lions and eager hyenas. “This is a spectacular sight to witness, as millions of animals travel through the park in a clockwise direction,” says Trevor van de Ven, Senior Director of PR and Communications at
Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti. This is also the dry season, he notes, which means that animals are easier to spot as they gather around water sources and the vegetation is less dense.
“With animals – antelope, wildebeest, zebras and large cats – in abundance over this period, a simple half- or full-day safari drive will result in some of the best wildlife sightings the park has to offer,” van de Ven says. And it’s hard to beat the tranquillity and awe of viewing thousands of animals waking at sunrise while you silently soar above them in a hot-air balloon.
Since it is the dry season, herds of elephant, buffalo and other wildlife are more likely to come and quench their thirst at the Lodge’s watering hole while you relax by the pool and watch. The temperate weather of this period is especially comfortable for a day out in safari vehicles, as well as at dawn and dusk. “A stay at the lodge over this time is also not complete without participating in a sunrise yoga session atop a kopje – the rocky outcroppings that dot the plains – or enjoying sundowners and a torchlit barbecue dinner in the bush,” says van de Ven.
See the animals of the Serengeti
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 Greek 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.
Explore the Athens Riviera
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 Sojung Park, Chef Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Seoul.
One of Park’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,” she 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.
Park 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,” she says.
And from the end of April through June 4 and again in mid-September through October, you can visit the Hangang Moonlight Market, which Park says is one of the trendiest in town and popular among Seoulites. “The night market is always full of surprises,” she 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. (Park advises guests to check 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 open only by special reservation. “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,” Park says.
Summer like a local in Seoul
North American summer means winter in the Argentinean capital. But it’s a mild winter – highs ordinarily 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 to be found throughout the city. Paula Pantanali, Concierge Supervisor of Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires, recommends taking a tour of the downtown area, as well as the San Telmo and Recoleta neighbourhoods, in order to appreciate the French-inspired architecture, monuments, bohemian streets, antique shops and art galleries.
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 and learn tango. It is the place to discover and understand why tango plays a key role in Argentine culture,” says Pantanali. Milonga Parakultural in downtown is a local favourite, or head to the famous Marabú, a cabaret founded in 1935 where you can enjoy a live orchestra and a row of musicians playing the bandoneon, an instrument similar to the accordion.
The Hotel can arrange tailor-made tango experiences in this fascinating world with a professional dancer, who can take you to popular dance spots around town.
Dance the night away in Buenos Aires
“The perception of luxury has changed vastly over the years,” says Olga Krylova, Concierge at Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons Hotel. “I strongly believe that authenticity is the new gateway to luxury travel.”
Perched atop a rugged cliffside overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the Hotel is perfectly situated for experiencing the summertime beauty of France’s famed Côte d’Azur. For a quintessential taste of seaside glamour, lounge in a private cabana at its legendary Club Dauphin, enjoying dips in the same saltwater pool frequented by Greta Garbo and Charlie Chaplin. Stay all day and take advantage of the open-air lounge, enjoying Provençal salads and grilled fish accompanied by chilled white wine.
Once you’re fully in relaxation mode, it’s easy to think of the French Riviera as your personal playground. Krylova recommends exploring the coast by boat, stopping to relish a picnic prepared by Executive Chef Yoric Tièche and probing the picturesque coves and hidden swimming spots of the Lérins Islands. Or let the Hotel arrange for you to drive a classic car along the coastline. “Start in Tourette-sur-Loup, famous for its medieval village with its houses forming a rampart around the historic centre,” Krylova says. Be sure to taste the village’s famous violet ice cream, then take the road through the Gorges du Loup en route to Gourdon.
“Immersing yourself in a local culture, heritage, food, places and meeting locals is what will bring you lasting emotions,” Krylova says. One way to go for all at once is by paying a visit to local restaurants. Try La Chaumière, on the high corniche of Nice, known for outstanding meat dishes, prepared on a log fireplace, and an excellent wine list. Or La Corderie, a casual and authentic restaurant on the fishing port of the charming Villefranche-sur-mer.
Pay a visit to the Grimaldi Forum Monaco to and see the “Monet in Full Light” exhibition, now through September, with paintings created during the artist’s stays on the Riviera. It could serve as inspiration when you take up a paintbrush yourself in an immersive watercolour workshop guided by a local artist at the Hotel’s own Villa Rothschild.
At the end of the day, step into the Spa for a therapeutic massage or embark on a personalized wellness journey surrounded by 17 acres of gardens that face the Mediterranean Sea.
Relax in style in Cap-Ferrat
During the summer months, Miami’s tourist crowds thin out, leaving its famous surf, sand and shopping ripe for quiet exploration and relaxation. Spending the day at one of the iconic Cabanas at The Surf Club – the same cabanas where Winston Churchill would often go to paint and relax – is always a favourite activity among guests of Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club, and it’s easy to see why. “You get to relax in our furnished and climatized cabanas while enjoying fresh drinks and casual bites along our pristine pools,” says Daniela Trovato, Regional Vice President and General Manager of Four Seasons Hotel and Residences at The Surf Club.
Another must-try summer experience is The Surf Club’s new Sunrise Breakfast Picnics. “Our team sets up a picnic at the beach for you to enjoy breakfast while embracing the magnificent Surfside sunrise,” says Trovato. Later during the day, stop by the Champagne Bar for a cocktail flight: “Whether you prefer tequila, mezcal or other base liquors, our expert bartenders will take you through a cocktail journey paired with small flavour-enhancing bites.” This unique experience can also be enjoyed in the cigar lounge with a cigar from the Club’s curated selection.
Trovato also suggests paying a visit to the world-class Spa, which offers unique and effective treatments by Biologique Recherche that will induce a state of pure bliss.
While in town, make time to see what’s new in Miami’s countless shops and boutiques. “Miami is a shopping destination, and we are very fortunate to have Bal Harbour Shops just minutes away from us as well as Miami Design District close by, both being stellar shopping locations,” Trovato says.
From cruising the Miami canals on a yacht to sitting down for a meal at Chef Thomas Keller’s Michelin-starred The Surf Club Restaurant, moving at your own pace is the key to any vacation. “My favourite thing to do during the summer is to take a bike ride from The Surf Club all the way to South Pointe (the farthest point in South Beach), choose a quiet spot for a quick swim, and then head over to a local restaurant for a sunset aperitivo,” says Trovato. This year, why not hop on one of the Hotel’s custom bicycles to find your own favourite spot along the scenic Surfside trail?
Relish in the Miami Sun
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