Arizona’s high desert has a unique magic and mystique all its own, and when it comes to the Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North, guests can also expect the unexpected—starting with its Sonoran Desert locale. For one, lush and desert aren't normally two words one would associate together, but in the high Sonoran Desert you'll find iconic saguaro cacti standing tall amid bright desert marigolds, delicate summer poppies and vibrant green velvet mesquite all strewn about the rocky mountainous landscape.
This gorgeous backdrop is befitting of the Four Seasons Scottsdale, a AAA five-diamond oasis that delivers luxury service in an unpretentious, salt-of-the-earth way. Here the relaxed resort ambiance complemented by Southwestern-styling beckons guests to kick back, unwind, and enjoy all the property has to offer. Guests are treated to an array of amenities, including a top-rated golf course, pool, spa, fitness center, both casual and fine dining, and excellent service.
Along with its unique setting and sense of place, an intuitive approach to service is what sets the resort apart. It’s this instinctive method of service that delivers yet more surprises while on-site, as I have personally witnessed staffers doing their utmost to meet a guest’s every need and whim—even before asked to do so. The brand's approach to service is being able to anticipate guest's needs and exceeding them. In Scottsdale, they are certainly doing the brand proud.
The property’s mission-critical service standards are pretty rigorous as well. Housekeeping employees have a detailed list of check points all throughout the guest room that must be completed and, when done, an inspector also then examines the room to ensure it is guest-ready. This “checks and balances” system serves to assure the property achieves its goal to not only meet, but to exceed guest expectations.
Of course, nothing is more important to a guest experience than the room in which they stay. At the property, there are 210 guestrooms, including 22 suites and three standard rooms located in 25 of the property's adobe casitas that are designed to blend flawlessly with the desert surroundings. The interior décor features custom furnishings and handmade art sourced from regional craftspeople and artisans, including the Huichol Indians. Guests staying in the casitas can choose from a variety of breathtaking vistas, including the Sonoran Desert, Crescent Butte Mountain and the Valley of the Sun. Those staying in other suites enjoy a private plunge pool, garden shower and outdoor kiva fireplace. Additional rooms provide a large balcony overlooking various aspects of the desert landscape sprinkled with indigenous flora and fauna.
However, those desiring the most luxurious accommodations the hotel has to offer will want to opt for the three-bedroom Pinnacle suite. This 3,000-square-foot space boasts two king beds and two double beds, three full bathrooms (two with garden showers) as well as a guest powder room and shower. This is all situated in a private building on high ground with a remarkable view of Crescent Butte Mountain from any of the suite's private patios. The Pinnacle suite is perfect for entertaining as it boasts a pantry for food preparation, a dining area and ample seating in the living room, all surrounded by plank hardwood flooring below and intricate wood-beamed ceilings above. Another special touch that guests revel in, is a telescope for viewing the spectacular night sky, complete with detailed astrological chart.
Dining here is also unexpectedly humble. The cuisine is certainly elevated but straightforward, blending the piquant flavors of the Southwest with fresh, seasonal American cuisine that’s served up in an energetic ambiance representative of its upscale-yet- casual approach to resort dining. However relaxed the atmosphere, sourcing of the victuals themselves, is serious business. Only the best and freshest from local purveyors will do. Executive Chef Mel Mecinas has helped guide the culinary program at every level by changing its approach to food and beverage. Now, the resort focuses more on its local partnerships with growers whom supply the majority of fresh foods at the property.
There are a variety of dining options that Chef Mel oversees. For one, Proof restaurant is a great option no matter the time of day or night. The restaurant features homestyle comfort food that’s served up in an American Canteen-styled setting reminiscent of old Americana and courtesy of thoughtful design elements like a nostalgic soda fountain, games and country pantry styling. Televisions and a bustling bar foster a lively and communal vibe. I personally didn’t expect a Four Seasons to feature a restaurant quite this laid-back and approachable, but it was certainly a pleasant and welcome revelation.
During the daylight hours, guests can also enjoy light, poolside fare at Saguaro Blossom—an all outdoor seating eatery and bar. The restaurant services the cabanas and lounge chairs, also extending complimentary amenities of chilled water, fruit kebabs, chilled towels and tasters of fruit smoothies and other beverages. Saguaro Blossom specializes in light poolside fare, much with an elevated Tex-Mex twist.
Drinks and small bites at the Onyx Bar & Lounge are also a must—especially as the sun sets behind the Sonoran Desert. This daily show-stopper is in view from the lounge’s outdoor common patio area replete with plush couches and additional seating. Onyx features a menu of small plates, and fresh sweet and savory cocktail combinations among fine wine and bubbly options.
But, it's Talavera where Chef Mel’s culinary prowess is most apparent. Talavera is a steakhouse specializing in prime cuts of meat, poultry and game from boutique purveyors, as well as a wide variety of seafood. Chef Mel combines a cornucopia of über-fresh ingredients into exquisitely delectable dishes such as Seared Rougié Foie Gras with rhubarb chutney, bacon and a slice of peach pound cake; Buffalo Tenderloin with bacon, roasted carrots and ancho-tomatillo sauce; and Venison Loin with baby squash, mole, foie gras and cotija cheese.
In all, the Four Seasons Scottsdale is doing its rich history proud. The property was held by cereal heiress, Lois Kellogg Maury, and was home to a finishing school for wealthy Eastern debutantes. Known as the Crescent Moon Ranch, the school also rented out guest cottages to seasonal visitors who undoubtedly took advantage of what this unique region has to offer. Today's guests can still experience adventures in and around the property. Other nearby activity options include grooming and saddling horses before going on a trail ride; hot air ballooning; bike tours and rentals; Hummer tours; rock climbing and canyoneering, just to name a few. Guests can also get their blood pumping on-site at the fully-stocked fitness center that has plenty of free weights, Nautilus machines and cardio equipment to ensure an effective workout session.
If relaxation is the order of the day, visitors can simply hang out at the free-form, bi-level pool (one of which is adult-only) either in or out of a luxury poolside cabana. During some seasons pool guests are even treated to an evening dive-in movie. Understanding many resort-goers are ready to be pampered, the on-site 14-room spa offers a full range of head-to-toe services in addition to five signature treatments.
Also family-friendly, the property has numerous options to accommodate the younger guests. There are complimentary offerings for families year-round, like items to childproof guest rooms; the use of high chairs, bottle warmers and playpens; and child-size bathrobes, as well as baby and children's toiletries. The resort’s Kids For All Seasons (KFAS) space is a children's camp that hosts activities for children all year long. KFAS offers complimentary access to a pool table, ping pong table and Lego table, as well as board games, movies, daily crafts, and rooms dedicated to playing Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii. Parents also love that, with 24 hours’ notice, the resort can arrange reliable babysitting services for an hourly fee.
Whether you're a family looking for a fun vacation, a couple seeking quality alone time in a peaceful desert paradise, a gaggle of gal pals looking to unwind and catch up, or if you simply want to get away from the daily grind, the Four Seasons Scottsdale is a picture-perfect hideaway that has it all—including a charisma and charm uniquely its own.