Cooler temperatures make September travel the ideal bookend to one hot summer. Here are some perfect excuses for gassing up the car or perusing flight schedules.
The off-season is so on right now in the American West. Summer’s swarms have departed, creating some much-needed breathing room at the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe. The property will once again participate in the Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival, September 5-7, and delicious opportunities abound: learn to create Prohibition-era cocktails; be a winemaker for a day; experience communal farm-to-fork eating at the Long Table Harvest Dinner; or bring it all together at the Grand Tasting on September 7 when 25 of the region’s finest chefs pair wines, spirits and beer in a winner-take-all culinary competition.
Windsor Court Hotel turned 30 in 2014, and is celebrating all yearlong with various promotions. Moreover, the customary ritual of the afternoon tea takes on entirely new importance with a year’s worth lineup of fun themes, some of which, like July’s Princess Tea, are perfect for the whole family. On September 20, however, the Four-Star property invites you to an adults-only treat, the Prohibition Tea at 11:30 a.m. in Le Salon. Take a step back to the 1920s with a three-course, brunch-inspired tea service filled with quiche, tea sandwiches, scones, tarts and cakes. Craft cocktails such as the Blind Fig (Canadian Club whisky, housemade fig syrup, hazelnut liqueur and lemon juice) will be served in teacups. You know, so as not to get pinched by the fuzz, see?
Santa Rosa, California
The inaugural St. Regis Polo Cup (September 20) at Santa Rosa’s Wine Country Polo Club presents a winning combination: an afternoon polo match, a classic Argentine asado (barbecue) and a wine tasting provided by Sonoma’s beloved Hamel Family Wines. The event put on by Five-Star The St. Regis San Francisco also features a silent auction benefiting Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center, the largest year-round, premier accredited therapeutic riding program in the Northern Bay Area. The match will star Nacho Figueras and other superior players. Sport, meat and wine — all for a good cause. But if you’re still hungry for more, The St. Regis’ Polo Cup Aficionado package comes with a two-night stay, treatments for two at Four-Star Remède Spa San Francisco and Bentley-chauffeured transportation to the match.
Fans of electronica — and festival culture in general — probably know all about TomorrowWorld 2014 (September 26-28), and have their tickets, glow sticks and kandi bracelets at the ready. But after the beats, you’ll likely be beat. A mere 45 minutes away (or the length of two extended tracks from David Guetta) Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead is the idyllic place to detox with a luxe spa treatment. After the EDM extravaganza, a Fijian scalp massage, Atlanta hot stone massage or Georgia red clay body wrap wouldn’t go amiss.
Westlake Village, California
When you bite into an apple or a cluster of grapes at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village and wonder why it tastes so heavenly, it’s probably because what you’re eating has been freshly picked at Philen Pharms a few miles away. When booking the Heirloom Farming package here, you get exquisite accommodations, a welcome garden amenity and an exclusive tour of the farm’s 636 heirloom trees and vines from proprietor Timothy Philen, who has been growing them for the last 10 years. Hike up the side of a canyon and learn that these pear and peach trees aren’t just organic, but have been grafted from those that once stood in Versailles and Rome. Pick sugar-sweet Mirabelle plums that were a delicacy of King Rene d’Anjou’s court or prized Niunai persimmons that delighted the royal tables of the Ming Dynasty. After your tour, you’ll be treated to lunch at Philen’s farmhouse, where a Four Seasons chef will weave in the fruits growing on the property. Your culinary experience doesn’t stop there; back at the hotel’s California Health & Longevity Institute, get a private cooking lesson with a registered dietician. The menu is up to you, as the class can be tailored to any type of ingredient, cuisine or health challenges you may have.
If international travel is in the cards, deal in Hong Kong, where Five-Star Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong falls into autumn with a pop-up of gastronomic proportions. From September 19-27, chef Wang Zheng Jing, co-founder and general manager of the award-winning restaurant Da Rong He, will lead his team in presenting a series of Sichuan dishes at the hotel’s Four-Star Cantonese restaurant Man Wah.There, guests may savor more than 25 signature dishes on the à la carte menu and two special set lists, highlighted by the chef’s tea-smoked duck; pickled bamboo shoot with baby ginger, kale and walnuts; steamed fish head with red chile; and wok-fried fresh abalone with bean sprouts. Additionally, the hotel will join the rest of China in celebrating National Day on October 1 with a Golden Holiday package that includes two-night accommodations and a daily dining or spa credit of HKD 500 (about $65 US) or 1000 (about $129), if you get a suite.