Baku, Azerbaijan – Reported by Erin Riley for Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine
Situated in an ambiguous region that is neither Europe nor Asia, Azerbaijan is as complex as its locale. As a tourist destination, the nation seems to be just finding its ground as it emerges from a war-torn post-Soviet slumber, backed by an oil-rich flurry of development. In recent years, however, the nation’s urban capital of Baku has come into its own as one of the world’s most popular up-and-coming holiday hotspots. Offering luxury jetsetters a go-to alternative, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts debuts their first property in Azerbaijan with the Beaux Arts-style Four Seasons Hotel, Baku.
While Baku can be characterized by haunts of luxury interspersed amongst renowned UNESCO-listed sites, a mere three-hour drive from the bustling metropolis will bring travelers to changeless villages from which shepherd tracks lead into the breathtaking Caucasus mountains, silent but for the soft clicks of backgammon that come from tranquil teahouse terraces.
“This is an incredibly exciting time for Baku. The city is changing almost daily now, and we are right in the middle of it all,” says Four Seasons General Manager Tarek Mourad, hopeful that “this may be the year people finally stop asking, ‘where is Baku?’”
Traditionally designed yet replete with every modern-day amenity, Four Seasons, Baku’s luxury hotel accommodations are the city’s most spacious, averaging 500 square feet. Of the 171 guest rooms, including 29 luxury suites, almost every terrace comes with breathtaking views of the Caspian Sea or the Old City. A beautiful touch: specialty suites are strategically located in the building’s distinctive corner turrets and offer rounded rooms that take full advantage of the panoramic views.
Sure to be the city’s hottest see-and-be-seen destination, the five-star property will be home to four restaurants and night-life options. “Gourmands already know that the best saffron and caviar comes from this region and now oenophiles are starting to take interest in our homegrown wine industry,” says Mustafa Suer, food and beverage director, noting that the hotel’s restaurants and bars will all feature Azeri wines, along with the best international selections. “Executive Chef Marco Bax and his culinary team promise to celebrate the local bounty and traditions, while bringing in the finest ingredients and new ideas from around the world for our local and international guests.”
Not to mention: a penthouse spa, heated sky-lit pool and Turkish-style hammams all come together to make a stay at Four Seasons, Baku as eclectic as the region itself.