Master Class: 9 New Obsessions to Pick Up on Vacation
From learning the art of craft with local makers to upping your game with top athletes, these experiences provide the best souvenir: the honing of a favourite pastime or even the discovery of a brand-new passion.
Whether you’re vacationing in an exotic locale or somewhere closer to home, interactive experiences that provide a connection with the local culture and landscape are the ones you’ll remember most. We’ve rounded up our pick of hands-on activities designed to inspire, instruct and entertain – you may even discover your new favourite thing.
Step to the beat of a local tradition in Mauritius
“There is not one Mauritian who does not know how to dance the sega,” says Nadia Grossiernez, who teaches the traditional African dance through the Kids For All Seasons program at Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita. “It’s part of the identity of the country, and teaching this dance to the kids is like welcoming them into the extended family of Mauritius.” While the youngest visitors practice their steps with Grossiernez, adults often get their first taste of this local custom during the vibrant sega shows held weekly at the Resort. After a dinner of native cuisine at Bambou Restaurant, join the experts and learn to sway your hips and step to a beat than spans three centuries.
Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at AnahitaBook Now
String a crown of fresh flowers in Oahu
Every week offers the opportunity to join local floral artist Pamakane Pico for the Ocean Dreamer Flower Bar and Haku Workshop at Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina. Using fragrant, freshly cut flowers – hibiscus, varieties of orchid, plumeria, tuberose – you’ll learn to string traditional Hawaiian leis or haku leis (floral crowns). Young travellers can enlist Pico’s advice on making the perfect flower bracelet.
Four Seasons Oahu at Ko OlinaBook Now
Train with a Muay Thai pro in Koh Samui
At Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui, a day-long immersion in the traditional art of Thai kick-boxing begins in the training ring. Under the instruction of a seasoned professional, you’ll learn new techniques or practise existing moves and skills. After your Muay Thai lesson, break for a muscle-easing spa treatment, and then head to the Chaweng Boxing Stadium, where you and your trainer will watch a pro match from VIP seats.
Four Seasons Resort Koh SamuiBook Now
Improve your stroke with a swimming legend at Cap Ferrat
A living icon of the Côte d’Azur, Pierre Gruneberg has been giving swimming lessons to students like Elizabeth Taylor and Elton John at the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat since 1950. Above the rocky coast of the Mediterranean Sea, at the Club Dauphin Pool he calls “my first crush,” Gruneberg offers pupils instruction on breathing control and stroke technique that benefit both serious swimmers and visitors just hoping to feel more comfortable in the water.
Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons HotelBook Now
Strum a new tune in music-loving Austin
The Texas capital of live music, Austin offers plenty of venues for listening to noteworthy bands. At Four Seasons Hotel Austin, your own guest room can be one of them. Through the complimentary Taylor Guitar Concierge program, you can host your own four-hour jam session. Beginners or guitar players looking for more practice can opt for a private lesson from local musician Craig Calvert, who plays regularly at the Hotel with his band, Murphy’s InLaws. “All experience levels benefit from a private guitar lesson,” says Calvert, “and the vibrant music scene in Austin inspires creativity, which makes it the perfect setting.”
Four Seasons Hotel AustinBook Now
Elevate your yoga practice in Bali
Learning to fly takes on new meaning at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan, where AntiGravity® Yoga lures both novices and long-time yogis seeking an alternative to their standard practice. Supported by a soft hammock, students explore full-body movements designed to increase strength and flexibility. “Once you let go of your fears and trust the instructor – as well as the strength of the hammock – you feel such a sense of achievement,” says Yoga Master Putu Purnama. “This is the most rewarding thing about teaching AntiGravity Yoga: seeing the guests’ delight when they surprise themselves.”
Four Seasons Resort Bali at SayanBook Now
Learn an illuminating art form in Kyoto
Kyoto’s most beautiful lanterns originate at Kobishiya Chube, a 220-year-old atelier whose creations light temples, shrines, theatres and private estates throughout the city. During a stay at Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto, guests can visit the workshop and create their own miniature lantern with the guidance of Kobishiya Chube’s master craftsmen. Choose from a broad selection of fine papers and hand-painted designs that recall the traditional aesthetic of Kyoto’s lanterns.
Four Seasons Hotel KyotoBook Now
Fly falcons in the countryside of Hampshire
Take up a sport favoured by English kings with a falconry lesson at Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire. A hunting tradition with deep roots in Hampshire, falconry now showcases the strength and majesty of birds of prey while pointed towards ecology and education. “We go on Hawk Walks around the estate to demonstrate all the techniques and equipment used in falconry,” says Simon Wilson, a falconer at Four Seasons. “Falcons are experts at body language, so we teach guests body language techniques to get the birds to move.” After learning the basics, slip on a glove and try flying a falcon, hawk, eagle or owl.
Four Seasons Hotel HampshireBook Now
Learn to let go
Vacations are about breaking from the routine and enjoying a few restful days (or weeks!) with a fresh perspective. As you explore new activities, remember that one of the simplest lessons – and one of the hardest to learn – is to sit back, relax and enjoy the view.