There’s something about flying south for the winter that enchants humankind and birds alike. 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 dancing in a legendary parade.
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,” says Dean Bryan, Assistant Manager at Half Shell Beach Bar on the frothy waters of Barnes Bay Beach. To kick off their morning, he often serves guests Dean’s Green Supreme, a tropical blend of moringa leaves, bananas, orange juice and mango purée.
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, led by Chef Kendrick Richardson of Bamboo Bar and Grill, where you’ll whip up a patty whose base is baked saltfish, flour and eggs. 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 and parrotfish. “We normally put the fish in foil with onions, carrots, celery, garlic, tomatoes, butter and white wine,” says Martin of its delectable preparation. “After that, it’s placed on the grill for 20 minutes and cooked to perfection.”
“If it was the end of the world, 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 a fizzy pale ale.
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 homegrown liquor using the five senses and then craft their own blend from the barrels of blanco, reposado, a?ejo and extra a?ejo 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.
Francophiles flock to The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, Bahamas for its 35 acres of lush, Versailles-inspired gardens abutting a 5-mile swath of white powdery beach. But the Resort – a glitterati magnet since 1962 – is also a prime place to experience the Bahamas like a local.
First on the agenda? A Bahamas Rhythm Massage in the spa, a deep tissue rub-down using bongers, a percussive massage tool. “The bongers are to the Bahamas rhythm what the drums are to Junkanoo, which means they are the soul of the whole experience,” says Spa Manager Shaniel La Roda. “The parts of the Bahamas rhythm massage that yield the most health benefits are the kneading of the muscles which have direct therapeutic benefits as they increase your range of motion, loosen tight muscles. This service is upbeat and lively, which is synonymous with the vibrance of The Bahamas.”
Another fixture of life here is undoubtedly rum, which locals first distilled from molasses in the 1600s. So you can tipple like a Bahamian, the Four Seasons team arranges Cane to Cask, which will have you sampling single barrel rum at John Watling’s Distillery, in the 1789 Buena Vista Estate, before lifting a glass with Wilfred Sands, who invented the Rum Dum cocktail.
If you’re lucky enough to be visiting on Boxing Day or New Year’s Day, don’t miss the Junkanoo Parade. “Junkanoo is a Bahamian celebration that stems from the country’s West African heritage,” La Roda says of the annual event, when competition in costume, dance and music turns into a raucous party. Her tip: “You will want to obtain seating as close to Rawson Square as possible to be under the lights at the centre of all the action. Prepare for a spectacle of art and cultural expression in the most authentic fashion.”
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 Andrew Atangan. “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. Atangan’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 rec 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.”
Tucked within a vibrant hacienda complete 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 mescal with chocolate and amaranth (a grain cultivated by Aztecs that reportedly made up 80 percent of their food sources) to put pep in your step the old-fashioned way. “The best part of this massage is connecting with pre-Hispanic relaxation techniques,” says Cristina Gutierrez, Spa Director, “starting with a shot of tequila to open the pores.”
Speaking of drinks, mescal – the spirit made from distilled agave – is an all but required indulgence here. Imbibe like an expert at a tequila and mescal tasting with the Hotel’s resident mixologists.
“Amores Cupreata is a perfect mescal 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 Ezequiel Huerta. “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 mescal is amazing.”
Opening in October 2019 on a pristine 2-mile stretch of Mexico’s Sea of Cortez,
Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costas Palmas is set to champion the many delights of the Baja California Peninsula. “Back in the 1950s, the East Cape was an escape for Hollywood celebrities and Texas fisherman,” 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 at the newly minted hideaway: 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. Says Lina Morales, the Resort’s Director of Spa, “We have created an environment that replicates the harmonious balance of nature and honours the indigenous essentials of the desert, mountains and sea to provide guests with a holistic salve that heals the soul while easing the mind and body.”
Your Journey Begins Here
What local adventures will you discover?