For true travellers, it’s never enough to simply see the world – one must experience it.  Four Seasons, the world’s leading luxury hospitality company, invites guests to go beyond the sights and souvenirs and into the heart of each destination it calls home, sharing the stories of people and places that will be the starting point for each traveller’s own story.

“The Middle East and Africa offers an incredible range of opportunities to explore, learn from and be inspired by, given the centuries of history and culture found in abundance here,” says Adrian Messerli, who was appointed to the role of Four Seasons President, Hotel Operations – Europe, Middle East and Africa last year and is now based in Dubai.  “As Four Seasons pairs ancient wonders with modern luxury for today’s adventurous travellers, we invite you to join us in being part of the continuously unfolding story of the region.”

With more than six decades of experience in setting the stage for extraordinary travel experiences, Four Seasons can customize the perfect holiday, completely tailored to individual needs and wants.  With insider access, trusted local guides and seamless travel arrangements – not to mention the comfort of luxurious accommodations at the end of each adventure-filled day - all that’s left to do is enjoy every moment.
Here, Four Seasons shares a taste of the possibilities, recommendations for unforgettable discoveries in the region, and ways to get started on planning a journey into the untold in the Middle East and Africa this year.  
Under Water and Across the Land
Endless landscapes under bright blue skies, under water worlds teeming with life, lush private gardens and up-close encounters with wildlife are waiting to be discovered with Four Seasons:
An unforgettable journey to the “Edge of the World” begins at Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh as guests embark on an eight-hour excursion that begins with traversing the sands, hidden cities and winding rivers of Bedouin folklore as the sun fades.  On arrival, guests will take in the stunning beauty of a geological wonder that has to be experienced to be believed.  As a spectacular sunset gives way to a starlit evening, enjoy a traditional dinner before returning to the Hotel with memories of a lifetime.
Fashion legend Yves Saint Laurent fell in love with Morocco’s Red City long before Four Seasons Resort Marrakech gained the (virtual) keys to his very private garden sanctuary.  Inside the beautifully maintained Jardin Majorelle, a riot of colours, scents and textures awaits as guests wind through leafy passageways discovering rare tropical plants, sky-high cacti, and the electric blue buildings that the designer famously said introduced him to the world of colour. A private tour of the home he shared with Pierre Bergé and a guided visit to the adjacent Musée Yves Saint Laurent follows, then a tailor-made, YSL-inspired dinner back at the Resort.
In the heart of Dubai’s ultra-modern downtown, Four Seasons Hotel Dubai International Financial Centre is minutes away from the UAE’s first national park.  Comfortably seated in a vintage 1950 Range Rover, guests can look forward to witnessing graceful Arabian gazelles running across rippling dunes, a demonstration of the region’s love of falconry, and an authentic Bedouin camp dinner to round out the incredible Royal Safari Private Experience.
Surrounded by 76 recognized sites, the new dive centre Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh is the jumping off point to a world of undersea wonders.  Blessed with clear, reef-filled waters that are home to abundant aquatic life, visibility is truly remarkable, even at night as the tiny particles of glowing plankton take on a glittering bioluminescence.  The Red Sea is also the final resting place for many intriguing shipwrecks, including the World War II era British SS Thistlegorm.  Early risers will board a high-speed powerboat at the Resort’s pier on their way to the Strait of Gubal to see it resting on the sea floor.
Become a Local Expert
Four Seasons goes beyond the usual tourist stops and introduces guests to the real culture of the most intriguing cities in the region.  Insider insights, hands-on experiences and private access are all gently guided by local experts carefully chosen by Four Seasons:
As the city continues to emerge as a global destination, Four Seasons Hotel Doha has curated the top sights and lined up private guides to offer guests customized itineraries – whether exploring the Gulf’s pearl diving history or bargaining for a strand in the souks.  Doha has everything from sandy beaches to fragrant spice markets, world class dining and designer shopping, and for an immersion in the country’s rich heritage and culture, a guided exploration of the Museum of Islamic Art or the futuristic National Museum of Qatar.
Ever dreamed of having free roam of a royal palace?  It’s now a reality as Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria at San Stefano opens the doors to a newly-restored 19th century palace that was once the home of the wealthy Muhammad Ali dynasty.  Even better: the family left the royal jewels behind, from ruby and emerald crowns to a golden chess set, diamond-encrusted sword and so much more, each with its own fascinating story shared by an expert guide.
Top of the list for any visitor to Egypt is the recently opened Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in Cairo.  None other than Ramses II (in the form of an 11 metre / 36 foot statue carved 32 centuries ago) welcomes visitors to the largest archaeological museum in the world.  The striking contemporary building houses most of the treasures unearthed a century ago in King Tut’s tomb, plus more than 100,000 additional artifacts spanning 7,000 years of Egyptian history and culture.  The concierge team at Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence can arrange early access to the Tutankhamun Immersive Exhibition’s captivating multi-sensorial experience.
Beyond the Spa: Inward Journeys of Self-Exploration
Getting away from it all can so often clear the way for finding oneself – and each other – with a host of locally-inspired wellness experiences created by Four Seasons:
Although situated in the heart of Jordan’s capital, the expert concierge team at Four Seasons Hotel Amman helps travellers write their own stories in the astounding sites and experiences beyond the city, from the ancient wonders of Petra to the historic village of Pella.  Here, guests are welcomed with a mountaintop meditation accompanied by a local shepherd and his flock, followed by a lunch in this spiritually-charged archaeological site that has been continuously inhabited for 6,000 years.  Learn about “dream weaving” from a local artisan while practicing art therapy, and salute to the setting sun during a private yoga session.
For those seeking a more traditional spa experience, Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay sets the stage for romance with the Couple’s Escape including an aromatic steam and scrub before side-by-side aromatherapy messages capped off with a bubbly toast to love.  Or, opt for the Night Spa package that finds couples relaxed and soothed as the clock strikes midnight following a massage for two by the indoor pool, which can then be enjoyed in complete privacy with sweet nibbles and sparkling wine.
Tastes to Remember – and Share
Some of travel’s greatest rewards are reserved for the palate, and at Four Seasons, the experience can be distinctly off-menu:
At Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita, guests are introduced to the many cultural influences that have shaped the island’s vibrant cuisine, starting in the on-site Cotomili garden to snip fresh leaves before heading to the kitchen for a Creole Cooking Class. This is where travellers learn to make local favourites such as rougaille: a classic, tomato-based comfort food made with dried fish that home chefs can make their own with flavours such as garlic, ginger, curry and chili. 
In Morocco’s White City, Four Seasons Hotel Casablanca introduces guests to a four-generation family making the city’s best cornes de gazelles at Pâtisserie Bennis Habous in the Quartier Habous.  They’ll reveal their closely-guarded recipe for these traditional Moroccan cookies, made from almonds and orange water and shaped by hand. Afterwards, do as the locals do and enjoy the cookies with a glass of sweet mint tea on the terrace of the nearby Cafe Imperial.
And Now for Something Completely Different
One is never too old to try something new, or to take a step - or leap - out of their comfort zone with the assurance that Four Seasons is there to ensure every second is both exciting and rewarding:
A world away in the Indian Ocean, it’s time to learn something new while contributing to the preservation of marine wilderness with the education and conservation specialists from WiseOceans at Four Seasons Resort Seychelles.  Here, travellers will learn about the intricate world of coral reefs, and even help build new ones.  As they continue to grow, guests can watch progress from home through electronic updates and photos.
At Four Seasons Hotel Amman, guests can spend a day in the nearby hilltop town of Umm Qais where they will learn traditional arts including basket weaving and making hadabs – a Jordanian headdress – by hand with local women, who will also share the ecological and medicinal secrets of wild za’atar.
Trip Customization in the Palm of One’s Hand
Take advantage of the Four Seasons App, and chat in real-time with Four Seasons team members in 100+ languages for more advice and ideas, and throughout a stay in the Middle East and Africa.
For more travel inspiration, visit Four Seasons Magazine online.

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