Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale is an oasis from the ordinary, with retooled golf courses, signature hiking trails, and an award-winning resort that offers something for everyone.

Relax in a private pool.
photography by Mary Nichols

RESORT REDO: Long one of the premier destinations in the desert—with the AAA, Mobil,Condé Nast Traveler, Zagat, and Travel + Leisure recognitions to prove it—Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, nestled in the shadows of spectacular red-rock peaks, just finished a six-month, $17 million renovation that left barely a grain of sand unturned. Led by designers Paul Duesing Partners of Dallas, all 210 guest rooms and suites received a face-lift: new color schemes echoing the high Sonoran Desert; custom linens and furnishings; and high-tech touches such as flat-screen TVs, wireless Internet, and MP3 player docking stations. The public areas and dining rooms also got a makeover, with the addition of more glass to bring the drama of the great outdoors indoors. COOK’S TOUR: The new restaurant on property is called Talavera (a type of brightly colored, hand-painted pottery), specializing in fresh, seasonal ingredients—meat, game, seafood—and table-side preparation. Special dinners and seminars introduce guests to everything from Mexican tequila to Russian vodka, Australian wines to American caviar. True foodies can spend “Saturday Night in the Kitchen,” getting behind the scenes and helping prepare the evening’s specialties ($500 for experience for one, including dinner with the chef and three guests). For something quieter, “Sunday Supper” feeds the clan while offering simple instruction on cooking for a family ($300 for family of four).ON THE MOVE: Surrounded by countless cacti and local wildlife, you could easily spend the day on your private patio surveying the desert. But better yet, go play in it. Scale Pinnacle Peak in an early-morning guided hike, which introduces you to the secrets of the land. Or take a self-guided tour through the trails in McDowell Mountain Park. Resort guests are VIPs at nearby Troon North Golf Club, which has two of the country’s top public courses (see sidebar). Children’s programs keep the young ones happy. Kids have their own concierge and their own pool. There’s also a pool for adults, as well as a secluded hot tub. And there’s no greater show than the desert sky at night, a blazing chandelier of stars: you’ll find a celestial chart in every room and a telescope in each suite. ACHY BREAKY: Worn out from too much fun? The Spa has a stretch, wrap, or program to soothe every ache or pain. The Golfer’s Massage uses heated golf balls, rolled over the shoulders and back, to relieve the stress of bogeys (50 minutes, $150). Two specialists perform simultaneous reflexology and a facial to take you Head Over Heels (50 minutes, $270). And if you can’t get enough of the desert, the Sedona Earth Clay Purifying Body Masque (80 minutes, $205) is a grown-up mud bath that nourishes and detoxifies the skin. LAST CALL: Although the Lobby Lounge has been redesigned and reformulated as the Onyx, master mixologist Sean Hoy is still behind the bar. No matter what kind of day you’ve had, finish it off with one of his signature libations, such as the Troon Traditional Margarita, a blending of anejo tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice. And for a guaranteed good night’s sleep, try the Arizona Monsoon—two rums, vodka, Southern Comfort, and fruit juices served in a pineapple—the ultimate desert nightcap.

photography courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North

Playing Through
You’ve got to have some pretty big saguaros to mess with the two best public golf courses in Arizona. But just as the Four Seasons felt it was time for a sprucing up, so did Troon Golf, which built and manages the Monument and Pinnacle courses at Troon North Golf Club. These two Tom Weiskopf designs, which opened in 1990 and 1996 respectively, recently underwent a two-year renovation that involved much more than reseeding a few greens. Under Weiskopf’s watchful eye, all 36 holes were rethought and rearranged, so the new Monument course is roughly the front nines of the two original courses and the new Pinnacle is approximately the original back nines. As a result, both layouts are easier to navigate, which is especially apparent on the more walkable—and more challenging—Pinnacle. Many fairways were widened and some native plants removed (as were 19 bunkers), making the courses prettier and more playable. Don’t be afraid to swing harder; you’ll find a little more grass and a little less desert out there. Returnees should feel as if they’re on two almost-new designs, while first-timers will enjoy two of the Southwest’s finest.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North
10600 E. Crescent Moon Dr.
Scottsdale, Arizona 85262

US Airways and American Airlines offer nonstop service from DFW to Phoenix.
From Phoenix to Scottsdale: rent a car or call resort concierge to arrange private pickup.

Casita guest rooms: $565 to $759, double occupancy; suites: $958 to $5,500.


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