When you hear the name “Four Seasons”, what comes to mind? For me, it is: style, beauty, service, comfort, relaxation, grace, luxury escape and the best of the best. What I love about staying at a Four Seasons hotel is that while I’m in the epitome of class, service and style, I can also feel comfortable bringing my three children: Alec, 14, Leigh, 12, and Zachary, 10.
I’m fortunate that Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta happens to be only a two-hour drive away. So when I heard about the hotel’s “Holiday How-To” classes, I decided to get creatively inspired. I wanted to bring my (only) daughter Leigh, who is so creative at 12 years old. She loves Christmas and all the festive happenings, and I thought this would be a fun mother-daughter trip. Unfortunately, she was under the weather and unable to come. I went anyway to bring home and share with her some new, fun holiday ideas.
The Saturday afternoon one-and-a-half-hour class was packed with great food and recipes, entertaining ideas and new acquaintances. From start to finish, I was wowed while pampered with tea, scones, appetizers, desserts and even holiday cocktails.
The class started with Executive Chef Robert Gerstenecker teaching us how to make Candied Pecans with only three ingredients: white sugar, water and pecans. I was immediately hooked.
Chef Gerstenecker said, “Simplicity is the key”—and I LOVE that. He shared recipes for crostini with pimiento cheese, chicken liver paté and a creative red pepper dip made with walnuts, Feta, garlic and a few other ingredients. They were all delicious. He demonstrated how to make homemade cheese crackers; only five ingredients, easy and freeze perfectly. My kids will love all of these.
Next, Four Seasons mixologist Matthew Buckly showed us how to whip up some festive holiday cocktails. Can you say, “Candy Cane Martini”? (I’m so glad he gave us the recipe.)
This holiday class would not have been complete without floral designer, James Hurley. I admit this is an area where I have a lot to learn, and he explained how to create beautiful floral arrangements with ease. From the napkin holder, to individual place cards made with fresh herbs and raffia, to simple bud vases, he gave a step-by step tutorial with many great tips, even for beginners like me.
For example, how to start a simple floral arrangement in a vase working east to west, and then filling in the center; or how to snip the bottoms off hydrangeas (and what type of scissors to use; i.e., floral sheers). I know my daughter Leigh would have especially loved this since she adores flower arranging.
When the class was over, I went exploring. Since it was cold outside, I found a warm, inviting spot. This indoor pool is not only gorgeous and huge, but it was the perfect place to warm up. The kids would be in heaven here. And who could go wrong with a dip in this Jacuzzi? Pure serenity.
I didn’t have time for a spa appointment (next time!), but I did go check it out after a short workout in the huge gym/fitness facility. Both women’s and men’s locker rooms were fully equipped with sauna, steam and just about anything you could possibly want.
Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta is located in Midtown Atlanta right near Piedmont Park, The Atlanta Botanical Gardens, The Georgia Aquarium, The High Museum of Art, The Fox Theater, World of Coca Cola, to name a few. Since I needed to do some holiday shopping, I headed over to Atlantic Station, an incredible venue for families with great stores, a train ride, carriage rides, even Santa. Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta is such a wonderful family getaway or a great couple’s getaway. You can’t go wrong with this fabulous destination.
Alison blogs at Ingredients, Inc.
Read more about Atlanta in Four Seasons Magazine.
Alison Lewis is president and owner of Ingredients, Inc., a Food Media Consulting company in Birmingham, Alabama. She is a well-known cookbook author, recipe developer, magazine and Internet journalist, speaker and food, travel and fitness blogger. You can find her work in Southern Living, Better Homes & Gardens and Cooking Light, as well on her personal blog or bio website.
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