The acclaimed cruising resort is now anchored in Palau, introducing Four Seasons travellers to the myriad natural and cultural wonders of the remote western Pacific nation
KOROR, Palau, Dec. 6, 2023 /CNW/ — With fair winds and following seas, Four Seasons is now welcoming travellers to discover the marine wilderness of Palau aboard Four Seasons Explorer. Eco-adventurers, divers and cultural explorers will be able to explore the virtually untouched wilderness of more than 340 islands, expansive protected marine territory, and a 4,000-year-old culture, while enjoying the warmth and care of Four Seasons from the deck of this luxury catamaran.
“For many years, Four Seasons Explorer was a hugely popular option for exploring the waters and atolls of the Maldives, and now we are delighted to introduce the hidden paradise of Palau for the first time through the lens of Four Seasons,” says Rainer Stampfer, President, Global Operations, Hotels and Resorts. “With our visionary owner-partners HPL Limited and in close cooperation with Palau’s government and tourism agencies, Four Seasons Explorer sets a new standard for luxury yachting that is at once enriching for our guests and respectful of the country’s natural beauty.”
Four Seasons Explorer is a 39-metre (128-foot) luxury catamaran, with three decks, 10 staterooms plus the lavish Explorer Suite, restaurant, bar, lounge, library, PADI 5-Star Dive Centre, spa corner plus a dedicated team ready to create unforgettable experiences for guests.
Having swapped its former Maldives homeport for The Rock Islands Southern Lagoon of Palau, Four Seasons Explorer now offers guests the option to embark daily, with no minimum stay. Accompanied by several dive boats and tenders to transport guests to and from shore, Four Seasons Explorer guests can customize their stay, whether for serious diving, cultural encounters or simply relaxing in this tropical utopia.
“Palau is truly one of the world’s last remaining frontiers, almost untouched by time and now preserved for generations to come thanks to local and international efforts to protect this charming nation and its culture of omengull – respecting all and everything,” says Regional Vice President and General Manager Armando Kraenzlin, noting the synergies with Four Seasons own ethos of luxury with genuine heart. Having overseen Four Seasons Explorer on its expeditions in the Maldives, Armando continues to manage the operations and guest experience as the boat moves to Palau.
Just nine of Palau’s islands are inhabited, and half a million square kilometres (193,000 square miles) of its waters are protected – 80 per cent of the country’s total marine territory. The world’s first national shark sanctuary, Palau is also home to the Rock Islands Southern Lagoon – inaugurated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012, and the locale for many Four Seasons Explorer experiences.
With visibility up to an astonishing 100 metres (325 feet) beneath the waves, Palau’s myriad lagoons and marine features offer an underwater world of wonder to be discovered, from more than 1,400 species of fish and 500 species of healthy coral, to numerous shipwrecks. The on-board PADI 5-Star Dive Centre caters to guests of all experience levels, offering dives at renowned sites such as Blue Corner, German Channel, Peleliu Wall, Chandelier Cave and Helmet Wreck as well as access to lesser-known gems.
In addition, water lovers can snorkel, kayak, stand-up paddleboard, fish and free dive. A favourite excursion is to Milky Way, a shallow “lake” enclosed by islands, with its seabed of volcanic ash creating a warm, milky-blue retreat for yoga sessions and mineral-rich mud bathing.
On Palau’s lush green islands, Four Seasons guests can hike through jungle to hidden waterfalls, or grab a pair of binoculars and check off a list of dozens of rare birds that inhabit the region. History buffs will find much to discover while bicycling on Peleliu Island, with numerous military ruins including an old airstrip and American and Japanese memorials to the infamous World War II battle named for the island. At just under 20 square kilometres (7.5 square miles), Peleliu’s diverse terrain includes steep rises of up to 75 metres (250 feet), casuarina forests and mangroves, and is home to many endemic bird populations.
Inhabited for more than 4,000 years, Palau offers an intriguing journey into the past, with many bai (traditional meeting houses); the mysterious Badrulchau Stone Monoliths – known as “Micronesia’s Easter Island” – a double row of 2,000-year-old carved basalt that may have formed the pillars of a bai capable of sheltering hundreds of people; and the ancient red and yellow geometric rock paintings of Ulong Island.
How It Works
In the country’s main commercial hub of Koror, guests are met by Four Seasons representatives and transported offshore to wherever Four Seasons Explorer is anchored at the time. Arrival and departure times are flexible, while inclusive rates aboard Four Seasons Explorer cover on-board accommodations and three meals daily including hot beverages; unlimited diving, water sports and island adventures; daily yoga and wellness experiences; and pop-up events from beach barbecues featuring local musicians and dancers to expert talks hosted by the boat’s on-staff marine biologist.
In the galley, the culinary team is adept at creating menus to suit international tastes – whether dining on board, enjoying a castaway-style picnic during a day of diving and exploring, or retreating for a romantic toes-in-the-sand dinner à deux under an endless canopy of stars.
A Special Partnership: Four Seasons Maldives Hospitality Apprenticeship
For the first time ever, three young Palauans participated in the renowned Four Seasons Maldives Hospitality Apprenticeship. Graduating the multi-faceted, year-long program in June 2023, the trio has now embarked on a new career with Four Seasons Explorer: Dilreng Dee-light Patrick and Kaali Mae as Guest Services Agents, and Joyce L. Kyota as Commis Chef.
“Since launching our Hospitality Apprenticeship in 2001 with accreditation from the Government of Maldives, more than 800 young Maldivians have completed the program, with many joining our teams at our two Maldivian resorts and private island,” says Kraenzlin. “It has been our dream to expand the program, and we are delighted to work with the Government of Palau in this initiative for the youth of these two small island nations.”
The program is continuing as 21 Maldivians are currently in Palau, working with the locally based crew as Four Seasons ambassadors, and further developing their careers with international experience.
Be among the first to experience Palau with Four Seasons Explorer: With several opening offers and daily embarkation options to choose from, reservations can be made by calling (960) 66 00 888, emailing [email protected] or booking online.
Given its remote location, Palau is ideally enjoyed in conjunction with other nearby destinations. Palau International Airport in Koror is currently accessible via Taipei, Singapore, Honolulu, Guam, Manila and Brisbane, with the island nation well placed for further exploration of Australia, the Philippines, Taiwan and other islands of Oceania such as Yap, Chuuk and the Federated States of Micronesia.
Four Seasons Explorer is also available for tailored private yacht charters in Palau for groups of up to 26, including dedicated seasonal charters for surf enthusiasts with the experts from Tropicsurf.
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SOURCE Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts