The Trips You Need to Take This Summer
The endless wait for summer is almost at an end – 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.
A Monument Reborn and Golfing in St. Louis
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 when there’s minimal humidity,” 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 offerings. It’s about a mile from Busch Stadium, where the St. Louis Cardinals play baseball; the venue is also hosting acts like Kenny Chesney (July 21) and Ed Sheeran (September 6). And a short walk will take you to The Dome at America’s Center, which has Drum Corps International (July 15) and Taylor Swift (September 18) on the calendar.
But the star of the show is the famous Gateway Arch. The tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere is reopening on July 3 to show off a USD 380 million restoration project. The Hotel is celebrating with a package that includes a room with a view of the 630-foot-high (192-metre) icon and a visit to the top. Or do as Oztok does, and put on your sneakers. “I’m an avid runner,” he says, “and a beautiful way to start your day is by running or biking along the path that goes by the Arch.
Golf fans should stop by St. Louis August 6–12, when the PGA Championship comes to the Bellerive Country Club, about 30 minutes away. Friday to Sunday is sold out, but Oztok suggests the public tickets for weekdays. “Players are more likely to interact with fans during practice rounds, and crowds are a little smaller,” he says. The concierge team can help secure tickets and provide transportation; alternatively, he recommends watching at FOX Sports Midwest Live! at Ballpark Village next to Busch stadium, home to a 40-foot (12-metre) LED screen.
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A Culture-Filled Trip to Seoul
South Korea claimed the spotlight last February, but summer is one of the best times to visit – 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,” says Elly Kim, a Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Seoul. “It will make you fall in love with the city.
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 both day and night. “It’s an aesthetic feast for the eyes,” she says. 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,” she says.
And from now through October, you can visit the Bamdokkaebi Market, which Kim 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 six locations to sample both local and international street food and dishes from food trucks, shop for handmade crafts, and watch various performances.
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.
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The Mountains of Megève
The French Alps are usually associated with winter and skiing, but they’re just as spectacular in the summer – and likely a bit less crowded. The new Four Seasons Hotel Megève, open for the summer from June 14 to October 14 and set along the 17th hole of the Mont d’Arbois golf course, is an ideal home base for those seeking to combine outdoor activity and relaxation.
Need a little detox? Concierge Manager Margaux Pfeiffer points to the Hotel’s retreat program, which includes yoga, meditation, mindful walks in the French countryside and plenty of time in the on-site spa. The Run My Mountain offering provides opportunities for mountain biking, hiking, mountaineering and – for the especially brave – paragliding. If you’re visiting in July, mark your calendars for the Edmond de Rothschild International Show Jumping (July 15–20), which brings 500 horses and 350 equestrians to town.
For the ultimate in romance, Pfeiffer suggests watching the sunset from L’Ideal 1850, a restaurant at the summit of Mont d’Arbois. “The best time to arrive is around 8:00 pm, just in time for sunset and a glass of Champagne,” she says. “The terrace gives you an amazing view over the mountains, and you’re completely alone and secluded in this unique spot.”
All Manner of Adventure in Hawaii
Athletes and aesthetes with a penchant for glorious views will find plenty to do on the Big Island. Colin Clark, the General Manager of Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, touts the destination’s 10 different climate zones, which mean there’s a lot of variety in the outdoor adventure department. “You can go up a volcano and two hours later be at the beach,” he says.
Hawaii has long been home to the Ironman World Championship, and Clark, who’s training for his first one, spends his days off mountain biking up the Mauna Loa volcano or hiking in the Waipiʻo Valley. You don’t have to be in stellar shape to follow suit, especially since the Resort offers guided rides and electric bikes. “They do half the work, and it means you can get groups and families of different levels all going together,” he says. Hardcore fitness buffs, meanwhile, may want to sign up for a triathlon camp run by six-time Ironman World Champion Dave Scott (July 30 to August 3).
This being Hawaii, chances are good you’ll be spending a lot of time in and around the water. At the Resort, perfectly situated on the Kailua-Kona coast, you can watch dolphins in the crystal-clear water, take an outrigger canoe into the ocean, snorkel in the on-site pond (home to 4,000-plus tropical fish) and spend time with a marine biologist. And near Hilo, you can find “black-sand beaches, cliffs covered in greenery and phenomenal waterfalls,” Clark says.
Ready for morning coffee? For a great off-property excursion, head to Holualoa, where local Kona coffee comes from. “You’ll find small, family-run farms, and you can visit them and see how it’s grown,” Clark says. And gourmets should know that July 20–22, the Resort is hosting the Hualalai Culinary Weekend with acclaimed baker and pastry chef Ken Forkish.
Come evening, don’t forget simply to look up. “The streetlights here have an orange glow and minimal up-lighting to ensure you can really see the stars,” Clark says. To look farther, the Resort can help arrange the ultimate cosmic experience: a night-time excursion to one of the observatories atop Mauna Kea, the island’s tallest volcano.
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Learn to Tango in Buenos Aires
First things first: The North American summer is winter in Argentina capital. But though visitors to the capital can’t expect the warmest of days, temperatures are relatively mild – highs around 17 degrees C(low 60s F), with nights dipping to about 9 C (upper 40s F. If you can, plan your trip in August, springtime in Argentina, when the annual Tango Festival and World Cup takes place. As Maria Jose Iturralde, Chief Concierge of Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires, puts it, “From August 9 to 22, you will breathe tango in every corner of our magical city, listening to the emblematic voice of the singer Carlos Gardel while watching dancers from all around the world.”
The event includes performances, classes and the championship competition, and there are plenty of local milongas where you can dance the night away. Iturralde’s favourite is Maldita Milonga, in the San Telmo neighbourhood. “You can enjoy the live orchestra El Afronte and see the musicians,” she says – including a row of people playing the bandoneon, an instrument in the same family as the accordion. “The most amazing thing to see is how tango is alive today.”
The Hotel can arrange bespoke tango experiences for you with a private teacher, who can also take you to popular dance spots around town. “You’ll leave our city dancing like a local until dawn!” Iturralde says.