The hospitality ecosystem that Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has been building since it opened its first property in 1961 expands beyond 124 luxury hotels in the world’s most desirable destinations. In 2015, it upped the ante with the Four Seasons Private Jet Experience, whisking discerning travellers on curated itineraries via the brand’s very own private jet. By Chadner Navarro
And in the last couple of years, its retail offerings have taken off; fans of the brand can now buy all the trappings of a Four Seasons hotel room, from scents and candles to those devotion-inspiring mattresses. What’s next? You can find out in a few years when the first Four Seasons yacht sets sail in late 2025.
All about the upcoming Four Seasons’ yacht
“This is something that we’ve been talking about for years, but this is a natural extension of what we’re already doing with our hotels. Now, we’re building the Four Seasons experience on water,” Christian H. Clerc, president of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, tells Travel + Leisure, following a press conference in Monaco announcing the upcoming Four Seasons yacht. “But we just needed to find the right partners. Because the pressure is on us to meet the expectations of what it means for Four Seasons to enter the yacht world.”
The maiden voyage is still at least three years away, but premier Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri is now at work on the 679-foot-long, 14-deck yacht in Trieste, Italy. Interiors, which will adopt a tranquil, residential-inspired aesthetic, will be overseen by two globally renowned agencies: Tillberg Design of Sweden, as lead architect for the design of the exterior and guest suites, and London-based Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, who will bring the public areas to life. Marc-Henry Cruise Holdings LTD is in charge of marine and technical operations. “Just like you don’t want us flying the jet ourselves, we’re partnering with experts in the field to make sure that this is going to be the best in the business,” Clerc adds. “But the rest will be managed by Four Seasons. We’re not hiring third parties to do anything, because this is essentially a Four Seasons hotel but on a yacht.”
Ninety-five cabins (with modular walls that can combine some rooms to create enormous suites), 11 restaurants and bars, a spa programmed with the most of-the-moment wellness treatments and fitness activities, a multi-use venue that can stage everything from private parties to lectures, and an industry-first transverse marina that will create a beach club–like fantasy similar to what you might experience at Club Dauphin, the iconic seaside hangout at the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat in the Cote d’Azur, France. These are just some of the foundational amenities you can expect from the Four Seasons yacht. The stay is then elevated with service (there will be a one-to-one staff-to-guest ratio on board) and space (the smallest suite will be approximately 580 square feet and each cabin will cost USD 4.2 million (INR 34,26,05,550) to create, according to Four Seasons). And the showpiece is the Funnel Suite, a four-level cabin measuring 9,600 square feet, featuring plenty of outdoor space, its own wading pool, and a dedicated spa area.
But the guest-first indulgence that Four Seasons offers will extend outside the yacht, too. Itineraries are still being designed, but Clerc reveals that the vessel will follow the sun, sailing the Mediterranean in the summer and wintering in the Caribbean. As often as possible, it will port in destinations where there is an existing Four Seasons property. Given the vessel’s compact size, it is expected to stop in hot spots where larger ships cannot, such as Monaco and Venice.
Four Seasons plans to flip the script on itinerary-based sailings, encouraging guests to instead create the yacht vacation of their dreams. “No one is going to tell you that you need to disembark at 10 am to join a tour with a guide holding up a flag,” Clerc says, insisting that a framework of an itinerary will exist but merely as a suggestion; you can do whatever you want. Do you want a private tour of the Acropolis? No problem. Would you prefer to stay longer in one port than meet the yacht at the next one? Anything is possible. Guests can even stay on board and eat their way through the culinary offerings. There will be a caviar-and-Champagne lounge, a Japanese omakase concept, and a Mediterranean restaurant. “In a week, we can make sure you don’t have the same meal twice,” Clerc promises.
Yes, there are buzzy bells and whistles telling you that this is going to be as ground-breaking as most things Four Seasons do, but Clerc says that all of that is built atop the intuitive service the brand is known for. “Our intention is not to enter the world of cruising,” Clerc says. “What we’re hoping to do with the yacht is create a sailing experience that doesn’t currently exist but through which our guests can see the world through the Four Seasons lens.”
This story first appeared on www.travelandleisure.com
Main and Feature Image Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons