Posts Tagged ‘Four Seasons’

The Coolest Pool in Africa? Quite Possibly at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge, Tanzania

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Swim up bar… for elephants

Hotel pools are a huge draw for guests. #PoolPorn is a real thing. There are pools with lazy rivers and water slides for children. There are pools that overlook dramatic scenery. Some have swim-up bars. But the infinity pool at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti in Tanzania might be the most amazing hotel pool I’ve ever seen. Because it features swim-up bar for elephants and zebras instead of the human guests.

Time lapse of the watering hole at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge in the Serengeti

The Four Seasons Safari lodge pool overlooks a watering hole which is heavily used by herds of elephants and zebras and other wildlife in the area, much to the delight of guests who can watch the action from their lounge chairs or while in the water.

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The lazy man’s safari– complete with bathrobe at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge

There is separation in elevation so that guests swimming in the pool have a great vantage point but are still at a safe distance from the enormous animals.

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Infinity pool overlooking an elephant at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge

The pool and the surrounding area, including an outdoor restaurant, make for the ultimate lazy person’s safari. Many of the hotel rooms and suites also have views of the watering hole action from their windows or balconies.

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A thirsty herd of elephants headed towards the watering hole

The watering hole action is busiest during the dry season, when water is more scarce in the plains of the Serengeti.

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Zebras and elephants sharing the watering hole

While herds of zebras and elephants would use the watering hole at the same time, they did not mix. The zebras stuck together and so did the elephants.

A fawn non-plussed by the action at the watering hole

Pool porn is a competitive thing in the luxury hotel industry, and the Four Seasons Safari Lodge has gone seriously next level with it’s watering hole next to the pool design.

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A local elephant taking a dip

The watering hole is man made, but is more popular than the natural watering hole on the ground that can only be viewed from a few high end suites.

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Infinity pool + elephants = win

The hotel’s restaurant has seating outside near the pool, so guests can enjoy the view and poolside safari action throughout their stay. The friendly waitstaff has no problem bringing a cocktail to your lounge chair if you’d like to sip on a gin & tonic while watching the wildlife. It’s the ultimate passive safari for a day you need a break from the bumpy roads of Serengeti National Park.

Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti

Central Serengeti, Serengeti National Park,

P.O. Box 14321 Arusha  Tanzania

Lodge Reservations +255 (0) 768 982 101/2

Front Desk +255 768 981 981

Reservations Manager +255 (0) 768 982 100

 

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Scenes from a Day Trip to the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, Tanzania

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An elephant in the Ngorogoro Conservation area

During my stay at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge in the Serengeti, the staff arranged for me to take a full day trip to the Ngorogoro Crater Conservation area. The Ngorogoro is one of Tanzania’s great treasures, and a stunning place to see unique landscape and wildlife.

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Red earth, white clouds, and saline lakes in the Ngorogoro Crater

The Ngorogoro Crater Conservation Area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The crater is the centerpiece for the area. It’s the world’s largest inactive, intact, and unfilled volcanic caldera. So the landscape is rather unique.

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Grey Crowned Crane

The Ngorogoro Crater is stark and beautiful, with the vast landscape dotted with wildlife. While I do not consider myself much of a birdwatcher, the birds in the area are stunning. During certain times of the year, flocks of flamingos are present in the saline lakes.

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Rocky roads leading into salt flats and canyons of the Ngorogoro

The Ngorogoro Crater Conservation area is large, and it was a long (and bumpy) three hour drive from the Serengeti Lodge. I found the area interesting enough that I wish I had more time there. On my next trip to Tanzania I hope to stay in the area longer to learn more about it and see more of the interesting and unique ecosystem.

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Zebra were plentiful on the grasslands of the Ngorogoro Crater

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Zebra feeding on the grasslands

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Hippos in a lake in the Ngorogoro Crater Conservation Area

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Much cleaner Hippos than in the muddy hippo pools of the Serengeti

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Kori Bustard, the largest flying bird native to Africa

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Ostrich in the Ngorogoro grasslands

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Wildebeest

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Wildebeest in the Ngorogoro Crater

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Ponds and trees in the Ngorgorgo Crater

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Superb starling

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Hyena walking 

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Giraffe in the Ngorgoro Crater Conservation Area, Tanzania

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Masked Weaver

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The Ngorogoro’s oddly beautiful landscape

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Giraffe in the bushes

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Obligatory “tourists taking a selfie” pic in the Ngorogoro Conservation area

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Stark landscape + Giraffes in the Ngorogoro Crater Conservation Area

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A Girls Trip Based at the Four Seasons Seattle

Welcome amenity- complete with a chocolate Seattle skyline- at the Four Seasons Seattle

I’m a big believer in all kinds of travel. I love traveling solo, exploring things at my own pace and taking as many photos as I like.  I also enjoy traveling with my husband– we met while traveling and it’s a mutual passion we’ve shared throughout our relationship.

Traveling with friends is something I’ve made an effort to do throughout my adult life– it’s a great way to bond and get into deeper conversations than are possible when we catch up just for dinner and drinks. I particularly enjoy girls trips– which are often the hardest to arrange due to busy schedules, and demands on our time (and resources) by families and careers.

I’ve always been a girl’s girl. And while I have many male friends, it’s spending time with my girlfriends, both new and old, that makes me smile the most effortlessly. Since I’ve started this blog, traveling with my girlfriends often comes with a little bit of baggage. I sometimes have to take time out from meaningful conversation to photograph room service or take a property tour because, well, that is what I do. Of course girlfriends are understanding about this stuff– that’s why they’re my girlfriends. In my real life I have several close friends who don’t have Facebook pages, Instagram accounts or “know what a twitter is.” We need actual face time to touch base. Besides, it’s rude to assume all your friends read your blog.

Modern, understated luxury at the Four Seasons Seattle

My recent girls trip to Seattle with my friend, Erica Hargreave of Roamancing, was fun and relaxing for a few different reasons, not the least of which is because our friends at The Four Seasons Seattle put us up and we got to use the hotel as our basecamp for our girls trip.

Erica and I met about a year and a half ago in Cairo where we both presented at the IOETI conference on digital tourism and have since become friends. Erica lives in Vancouver and we’d been talking about meeting up in Seattle for a girls weekend, which we finally made happen a few weeks ago after several months of planning (see above re: busy schedules).

Left: an artistic in-room lighting fixture Right: Orchids at reception

Since Erica is a digital storyteller, I didn’t have to explain why I was instagramming room service or live tweeting. She was doing it to. We sipped on room service lattes– delivered in a speedy 9 minutes after the operator estimated a window of 15-20 minutes– while simultaneously blogging in pajamas.

Testing out room service is one of the perks of the job

Girls trips differ from others because they are refreshingly devoid of war memorials and usually include a little bit of pampering. Getting time away with a girlfriend is a luxury in itself but Erica and I also got to check out the signature services offered by the Four Seasons spa (you can read my post about Spa Style here).

Bathrobes and a deep tub– appreciated luxurious touches to a girls trip

Erica enjoying the television in the mirror feature at the Four Seasons Seattle

 

Erica took advantage of outdoor pool every day

Erica arranged for us to check out Savor Seattle’s Gourmet Seattle Food & Cultural Tour-– something I probably wouldn’t have done if I had been planning a solo trip (where I probably would have arranged a photo tour of some kind). I was happy to go along with it and found that I really enjoyed it. Traveling with girlfriends can challenge me in a different way than other traveling companions, and it’s always good to challenge yourself. I discovered that I really enjoyed the food tour, and found plenty of photo opportunities on it.

Not only did Erica and I get to relax and reconnect while on our girls trip– we also got to try out new things and enjoyed doing it. When I suggested we order Bloody Marys from room service and have them delivered to the hotel’s hot tub, I learned that Canadians don’t have Bloody Marys as a brunch beverage staple. We also learned– from fellow hotel guests in the hot tub with us– that we should try the Bacon Bloody Mary or the Beef Bloody Mary next time.

A view of Seattle’s Great Wheel from The Four Seasons

With Mother’s Day coming up, I encourage this blog’s female readers to think about taking a girls trip– whether it’s a relaxing weekend away or just a brunch date. Reach out to your mother, your sister or a female friend and try to find the time for the two of you to relax and reconnect. Friendships are one of life’s great treasures and it’s good to make nurturing them a priority in your busy, adult life.

I think I have a few other girlfriends who would enjoy trying a bacon bloody mary. I’m going to call one of them later today.

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Spa Style at the Four Seasons Seattle

Pink orchids add to the zen chic vibe at the Four Seasons Seattle Spa

Pacific Northwest style is embraced at the Four Seasons Spa in downtown Seattle. The spa’s facilities are 6,000 square feet of understated luxury– basalt rock and glass brick are featured throughout the eight treatment rooms. The rock used in the spa interiors has even been cut in a manner to show off its fossil-like dendrites, which make you feel surrounded by nature even though you’re in the middle of downtown.

The Four Seasons spa’s signature treatments embrace the hotel’s Pacific Northwest environs. You can book a 4 1/2 hour Mount Rainier Journey or try a Deep Forest Bliss treatment complete with balsam and pine body oil. After learning that the spa was open on Sunday (win!), I scheduled an Amala rejuvenating anti-ageing facial for a Sunday morning as a final treat to my Girls Trip weekend.

The spa has a zen charm and very comfy seating. You can even order room service

Scenes from the spa

Fossil Like Dendrites in the stone are a particularly charming detail

After slipping into a fluffy bathrobe, my therapist, the lovely Christine, led me back from the orchid-filled relaxation room to where I would get my treatment. I was thrilled to learn the spa uses Skinceuticals products, which are a personal favorite of mine (I keep a bottle of their B5 Hydrating Gel in my TSA approved liquids bag). The spa has variety of eco-friendly products available for purchase when you check out, but there is no hard produce sell. The relaxed, service-centric style is pure Four Seasons, and really what luxury is all about.

A variety of beverages and a spa menu are available to spa goers

I loved the different textures: soft chairs, glass bricks and fleshy orchids

A Variety of Eco-Friendly Products are available for purchase at the Spa

I relaxed for the next 80 minutes as Christine explained the different steps of the facial. She was lovely and informative but not chatty. The mild glycolic peel was lightly tingly but effective. Halfway through the treatment Christine even took out a hand mirror to show me the lifting effects on half my face, which were surprisingly visible even during the procedure.  I left the spa glowing and excited to learn that the facial’s visible results last for about 8 days.

The spas facilities boast a steam room and fluffy robes

Glass brick adds a modern touch to the spa, and makes it man-friendly

Go ahead– say yes to a lavender infused chilled towel.

Even if you’re not a guest at the hotel property, the spa is fantastic place to book a treatment and enjoy some  fabulous Four Seasons service. You can even order room service right from the relaxation room.

The spa is a favorite among locals.  It was a perfect retreat for a girls weekend, but the vibe was modern enough that guys would be comfortable too. I can’t help thinking the treatments would be a great treat for Seattle mom on Mother’s Day.

The Spa at the Four Seasons Seattle
99 Union Street
Seattle, WA 98101

Phone: 1 (206) 749-7000

Disclosure: my spa service was provided gratis from the Four Seasons. It was so fabulous I gave Christine a really big tip.

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