The Luxury Dream
I suppose it’s nothing unique for a kid from a middle-class background to have daydreamed of someday being able to stay in a luxury resort.
Growing up, I went on a lot of unforgettable and fun family vacations to beautiful beaches and national parks all across Australia – but my family never had the money to stay in the place with the pool or the beach view, unless said place was a caravan park.
There’s nothing wrong with this kind of holiday. In fact, I would say that my 2013 trip to Mooloolaba with my family is one of my all-time favourite travel memories.
We always want what the other half has, and ever since I’ve been old enough to travel on my own, I’ve sorely wanted to experience what it’s like to live as one of the rich and famous.
So you can imagine my excitement when I learned that we’d be spending a night at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge during our safari.
Coming to the Four Seasons Serengeti
We came to the Four Seasons Serengeti after a long, but fulfilling day of game driving out on the Serengeti. Still buzzing from our close encounters with an angry bull elephant and a lazy leopard, we stepped out of the car and immediately had our breath taken away.
We’d stayed in some lovely lodges so far in the safari, but nothing that could compare to the grandeur of the Four Seasons.
While every lodge in Africa greets new arrivals with a blessedly cool wet towel and an ice cold drink, very few can usher you out onto a deck overlooking an infinity pool that overlooks an active water hole that overlooks the vastness of the Serengeti.
“We can show you to your rooms now,” our host graciously offered, but all of us were too gobsmacked by the view to move. Long after our towels had dried and our glasses were empty, we were still staring out at the imminent Serengeti sunset.
Eventually, we did move. After being guided along the scenic elevated walkways that connect the main lodge to the various residential wings, we were shown our rooms.
I say ‘rooms’, but these things dwarfed all three of my Korean apartments and both of my Chinese apartments. I’m actually pretty confident all three of my Korean apartments combined might have squeezed in.
A huge bed, a private balcony overlooking the Serengeti, a rainwater shower big enough to accommodate far more than a single solo traveler, a separate wardrobe and dressing room, a TV streaming live footage from the water hole, and a complimentary basket of fruits and South African rose just begging to be enjoyed.
But first, I had unfinished business with that Serengeti sunset…
To Infinity (Pool) and Beyond
Selfies were taken, oohs were aahed, and then it was time to take a dip.
I won’t waste words on trying to describe the sunset or the experience of swimming in a pool that overlooks a water hole being enjoyed by wildebeest, zebras, and elephants.
I’ll let pictures do that for me.
Dinner and Drinks
Four Seasons Serengeti is an all-inclusive lodge, meaning that your meals and your drinks are all provided in the (admittedly hefty) price tag.
My companions and I enjoyed a few local beers, some sinfully good iced masala chai tea, and plenty of good conversation with the lodge’s Irish manager and the other staff as we soaked in the last of the sunset and waited for dinner.
And let me tell you, dinner was well and truly worth any wait. Course after scrumptious course graced our table, and all of it lubricated with whatever beer, wine, spirit, or (in Robert’s case) iced masala chai our heart desired.
By the time dessert rolled around we were all well and truly exhausted from a good meal and a busy day. I retired to my deck with a bottle of Rose in hand and a smile in my heart.
Best Wakeup Ever
Those who know me know that I love a good sleep in, but as comfortable as the bed was – it was hard to stay asleep as the morning’s chorus got started.
The braying of zebras, the grunting of wildebeest, and the occasional triumphant from an exhalation of an elephant shook me awake as surely as if it were Christmas morning.
Like on Christmas morning, I hurriedly tugged on some clothes, threw open the door, and burst out onto the balcony with starry eyes.
I’ve woken up to the purr of the ocean. I’ve woken up next to a beautiful woman.
But nothing will ever top waking up to the procession of wildebeest, elephants, zebras, and giraffes I saw meandering within arm’s reach of my balcony that morning. While the zebras and wildebeest moved with urgency, the majestic elephants brought up the rear in stately fashion.
And like the uncool kids at a party they weren’t invited to, the hyenas haunted the fringes.
As good as breakfast out on the deck was, it paled in comparison to the spectacle that was unfolding by the water hole. Elephants butted heads, used their trunks to spray water, and joyfully frolicked in the water a few dozen feet from where I was sipping my latte with a bagel in the other hand.
It was being on safari from the comfort of a deck chair.
But wait, there’s more!
If that had been the extent of what Four Seasons Serengeti had to offer, I’d still have been impressed. While our own stay was a too-short one night, we were given a tour of the resort’s facilities and weren’t unimpressed.
Two on-site restaurants, one of them serving traditional African cuisine and African fusion, a full service children’s activity area, a massive gym with a Serengeti view, an interactive education centre, a whole wing dedicated to spas, a classy billiards and games room…
And don’t even get me started on the aptly named Presidential Suite. It was the entire resort in miniature, right down to having its own infinity pool with its own view of its own private water hole.
A Study in Decadence
Is Four Seasons Safari Lodge expensive? Of course! The brand and the service they offer does not come cheap. You’re looking at around $1,100 USD a night.
Could that money be spent elsewhere? Of course! But to my mind, it’s hard to put a price tag on an experience. Hotels and lodges tend to fade from your memory within a few days of leaving – but places like the Four Seasons Serengeti stick with you for a long, long time.
But as far as achievable bucket list items go, you could do far worse than splashing out on a night or two at this spectacular resort. Whether you venture out each day to go on safari or avail yourself of the activities at the lodge, you’re going to leave with a lifetime of memories.
Do you ever splash out on decadent accommodations?
What hotel or lodge experience has surpassed all others in your experience?