There’s something about flying south for the winter that enchants humankind as well as birds. And warm-weather getaways can be even more restorative – and transformative – when you partake in thrills that are delightfully different from those available back home. Staff members at Four Seasons hotels and resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico suggest some of their favourite things to see, eat and do – from wrangling lobster for your own dinner to indulging in a massage of mezcal and chocolate.
Wellness is always the order of the day at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla, perched on coralline beachside bluffs on the British territory’s northwest shore. Moringa, a local superfood plant, is considered highly nutritious, with powerful anti-inflammatory and tissue-protective properties. To kick off your morning, consider ordering Dean’s Green Supreme, a tropical blend of moringa leaves, bananas, orange juice and mango purée, at Half Shell Beach Bar on the frothy waters of Barnes Bay Beach.
Continue a self-care morning in the seafront spa, where open-air spa cabanas sit adjacent to turquoise surf. Guests seeking a spa treatment connected to their location should book an Anguilla Salt Scrub, which reportedly detoxifies your skin; the island was once the largest exporter of salt in the Caribbean. (Bonus: The treatment includes a citrus vanilla mask body wrap and scalp and foot massages).
End the perfect day with a johnnycake-making class, where you’ll whip up a patty whose base is baked salt fish, flour and eggs at Bamboo Bar and Grill. Or do as locals do and select your own fish from the catch of the day – whatever fish was hauled in from the sea that morning, such as crayfish, snapper or parrotfish. Usually, the culinary team puts fish in foil with onions, carrots, celery, garlic, tomatoes, butter and white wine. Then they place the fresh catch on the grill for 20 minutes and cook it to perfection.
Please note: In light of the latest COVID-19 guidelines, Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla is closed but is accepting reservations for stays from November 1, 2020, onward.
“If I could only have one meal for the rest of my life, I would make ceviche and have a beer,” says Jorge González, Executive Chef of Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, set beside a picturesque bay on Mexico’s western coast. The citrus-cured fish is his dish of choice on hot days when he teaches a private cooking class in the outdoor kitchen of the Resort’s new restaurant, Dos Catrinas. When the catch of the day arrives by boat, he concocts a light ceviche, such as yellowtail snapper with soy sauce, lime and serrano pepper, and pairs it with the Resort’s very own CORA beer.
Dos Catrinas highlights Mexico’s varied regional cuisines. González’s favourite dish on the menu is a modern duck confit with pink mole made from beets and white chocolate, but his eyes light up when he talks about the Tsi Kil Pak, a scrumptious pumpkin-seed dip of Mayan ancestry. He serves it with tlayuda, a toasted, paper-thin tortilla from Oaxaca.
The local pride that drives the menu is also apparent in the tequila-blending class taught by the Resort’s Cultural Concierge, Enrique Alejos. Guests learn to profile Mexico’s home-grown liquor using all five senses and then craft their own blend from the barrels of blanco, reposado, añejo and extra añejo on display. Each guest’s recipe is inscribed in a ledger so that the Resort can send a personalized taste of Mexico to you at home whenever you like.
At the newly revamped oceanfront Four Seasons Resort Nevis – where green vervet monkeys frolic on the Robert Trent Jones II–designed golf course – plenty of on-site adventures are as authentic as they come.
One particularly delicious option? Diving for your own Caribbean spiny lobsters with a Nevisian dive master and a Four Seasons chef for their Dive & Dine program. “The dive site we visit most isn’t too frequented,” says Sous-Chef Eddy Dhenin. “Other sea life you may encounter includes nurse sharks, parrotfish, trumpetfish and even Christmas tree worms.”
Back on shore, sip a rum punch as your chef grills your lobster with lemon and garlic butter. Dhenin’s advice: “Be sure to ask chef to share the recipe for a Caribbean sofrito marinade, made with organic ingredients from the Resort’s herb garden, used to bring out the sweetness of the lobster.”
Then turn up the heat with another foodie exploit – Paw Paw Pepper Sauce cooking class, hosted by Four Seasons Resort Nevis butcher and local entrepreneur Llewellyn Clarke and Executive Chef Samuel Faggetti. “Nevisians are fanatical about their pepper sauce (locals don’t call it hot sauce), and they eat it on everything, everywhere from roti lunch counters to roadside barbecue stands,” Clarke says. For Paw Paw 101, you’ll dip into your homemade sauce – a blend that includes papaya, pepper and garlic – with conch and lobster fritters.
Don’t leave the island without taking the Resort’s kite-making class, which will have you constructing aerodynamic toys from bamboo strips, colourful tissue paper and string and flying them at The Flats, a nearby recreation centre overlooking the Caribbean Sea. “Kite flying has long been a part of our local Easter celebrations in Nevis,” says Jonathan Dutil, Guest Experience Coordinator – Nevisians host a kite-flying competition on Good Friday with categories like “Best Flying” and “Most Creative.” “It’s a great way to tap into our creativity and honour our local cultural heritage.”
Please note: Four Seasons Resort Nevis is closed but is accepting reservations for stays from October 7, 2020.
Tucked in a vibrant hacienda with a leafy, canary-inhabited courtyard, Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City unites modern urban exploits with ancient Mexican traditions.
Take your jet-lagged mind to the spa, where the Pre-Hispanic Holistic Massage combines mezcal with chocolate and amaranth to put pep in your step the old-fashioned way. (Amaranth is a grain cultivated by Aztecs that reportedly made up 80 percent of their food sources.) “The best part of this massage is connecting with pre-Hispanic relaxation techniques,” says Cristina Gutierrez, Spa Manager, “starting with a shot of tequila to open the pores.”
Speaking of drinks, mezcal – the spirit made from distilled agave – is all but required here. Imbibe like an expert at a tequila and mezcal tasting with the Hotel’s resident mixologists.
“Amores Cupreata is a perfect mezcal if you’re looking for something a little bit more complex than others, given the interesting evolution it has in the glass,” says Head Bartender Fran Calvo. “It starts with fresh aromas of agave, incense and toasted squash seeds, and on the mouth it feels slightly spicy, accompanied with a nice bitterness towards the end.” He’d pair it with bone marrow sopes – “the mix of fat with the body of the mezcal is amazing.”
Set on a pristine 2-mile stretch of Mexico’s Sea of Cortez,
Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costas Palmas champions the many delights of the Baja California Peninsula. “Back in the 1950s, the East Cape was an escape for Hollywood celebrities and Texas fishermen,” says General Manager Borja Manchado. “They would arrive by small plane or boat, seeking the spirited adventure and peaceful requiescence of this secret paradise that was just a couple hours from home.”
Among the awe-inspiring thrills available to guests: swimming with whale sharks, the largest fish in the sea at up to nearly 19,000 kilograms (41,888 lb.).
“This part of the Baja Peninsula is home to miles of swimmable beach, and some of the world’s best diving, snorkelling and sportfishing with nearly 900 species of fish that reside in the Sea of Cortez,” says Denis Espina, the Resort’s Manager.
If you need a spa treatment after your electrifying swim, choose one of the many options with local roots in the 10-room Oasis Spa. “We have created an environment that replicates the harmonious balance of nature and honours the indigenous essentials of the desert, mountains and sea,” says Director of Spa Lina Morales, “to provide guests with a holistic salve that heals the soul while easing the mind and body.”
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What local adventures will you discover?