by Candyce Stapen
When we see Pinnacle Peak rising in the distance from the road, we know we’re not far from the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North. The craggy ridges and salmon colored slopes of the area’s signature mountain seem to pull us along, welcoming us to the high Sonoran desert. Pinnacle Peak, rising 2,889 feet above sea level, forms the backdrop to the AAA Five Diamond Resort.
Upon arrival, the doorman offers guests bottled water or prickly pear ice tea. In the room, chocolate chip cookies and juice greet children.
Size matters. Among Scottsdale’s many hotel choices, we appreciate the low-key ambiance of this medium size resort whose 210 guest accommodations spread out in one to three storey casitas that dot the 40-acre property. On the ride to your room via golf cart, check out the saguaro and barrel cactus as well as ocotillo and palo verde trees.
The Four Seasons Scottsdale is a heritage that dates to the property’s development in the 1940’s as the Crescent Moon Ranch, a private estate built with cottages for friends by cereal heiress Lois Kellogg Maury. In 1967 developer Charles Ingebritson purchased the property. The Four Seasons Resort opened in December 1999.
The upscale resort offers a low-key oasis with first-class service plus many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors with your family, not the least of which is taking a guided hike up Pinnacle Peak. Golfers also like the property, dubbed a “Top 10 U.S. Golf Resort” by Travel & Leisure Golf. Tom Weiskopf led the renovation of both of Troon North’s course. The Pinnacle and the Monument golf courses reopened in 2007. In March 2008, the golf complex debuted the Callaway Golf Performance Center, one of only 10 such high-tech teaching facilities in the U.S.
In January 2008, the resort completed an 18-month, $17.5 million renovation. The makeover added comfortable couches to the lobby, a new wall of glass in Talavera, the fine dining restaurant and room upgrades.
Pinnacle Peak dominates the view during the day, but at night be sure to admire the twinkling lights of the Scottsdale/Phoenix valley some 1000+ feet below or simply relax on the patio and admire the stars.
To learn more about Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, please visit Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.
Our Editor Loves
- Secluded location
- Free kids' program for ages 5 to 12
- Separate menus for young children, and tweens
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Game Room
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
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The one-bedroom suites feature a roomy living area with a private patio, a kiva fireplace, private plunge pool plus a telescope. The soothing outdoor setting proves conducive to admiring the stars while having long family chats. After all, really talking with and listening to your children are the best parts of any family vacation.
Even the standard accommodations are comfortable and over-sized at 480 to 500-square feet. Each room has a gas fireplace. The renovation rooms were brightened by adding color and texture as well as creating the convenience of Wi-Fi. Framed red and blue yarn art created by the Huichol Indians of Mexico hang on the walls, painted a soft beige with a yellow cast. Sripes of hot pink, coral, blue, lime and gold cover the headboards and dust ruffles.
When requested, the resort provides complimentary cribs, strollers, high chairs, playpens as well as washcloths, bibs, baby wipes, diapers, safety pins, powder and a nighlight. Upon request, your room can be baby-proofed with outlet covers. Don't forget to ask for the kid-sized, Terrycloth bathrobes for your kids. Just beware that most kids don't want to go home without them. You can purchase the robes.
Amazing experience! The facility is beautiful. I loved the scenic walks from my room to the pool and restaurants. The food was not only delicious but we were treated to many wonderful options. The fireplace in the room was a wonderful and unexpected treat.
My husband and I just returned from a weekend in Scottsdale and had a wonderful time at the Four Seasons. We were there for a wedding, which was held on the property. The entire staff was amazing but I wanted to give a special thanks to Ted, one of the concierges. I had a dress that was supposed to be delivered for the wedding, which ended up coming late and delivered after we had returned to Michigan. Ted went above and beyond and returned the dress for me. So nice!
Our room was clean and well maintained. We loved having an indoor and outdoor fireplace. The outdoor TV was an added bonus, especially for my husband who loves to watch sports.
We were very impressed with the food at the wedding and the servers were all prompt and very professional. The venue itself is gorgeous. Location is great for hiking Pinnacle Peak.
We would definitely return and recommend to friends and family.
An effective way to judge a property's commitment to its children's program is to see how much real estate the resort allots to kids. By that measure, the Four Seasons Scottsdale receives an "A." Instead of cramming ages 5 to 12 into one room, the Kids For All Seasons (KFAS) center spreads out in seven rooms plus two patios. And that's just the indoor space. Counselors take older kids swimming in the residence or resort pool. However, in order to participate without a parent present, campers must be able to swim without water wings in water five feet deep. Young children can splash in the kiddie pool.
Kids For All Seasons, the Four Seasons' chain-wide, activity program for ages 5 to 12, remains one of the few industry wide, supervised, daily, kids' programs that is still complimentary from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Children may attend any part of the program or stay all day. The only fee is for lunch.
Located on the ground floor of one of the resort's residential buildings, the children's facility unfolds in seven rooms, each offering something special. As a result, the program has enough space to capture the interests of all ages, even toddlers. Yes, parents are welcome to come to the facility to build Legos, read storybooks, do puzzles and play with their children younger than 5 years old.
KFAS' director at the Scottsdale property, David Goucher, works hard to come up with creative activities, some of which teach youngsters about the southwest. Scavenger hunts involve finding saguaro cactus and Palo Verde trees. On nature walks, kids discover how Native Americans used resin from creosote branches as glue and how the indigenous people employed the prickly, curved needles protruding from barrel cactus as fish hooks.
For crafts, kids decorate bug houses as well as paint wooden snakes and lizards. Young children and their parents fashion rainmakers from paper towel holders and beans.
The shaving cream shoot-outs and balloon battles are just plain fun. At Snorkeling 101 held in the pool, kids don masks and breathing tubes to learn how to shoot underwater images with a disposable camera. What do they photograph? Schools of fake fish, of course, placed by the counselors.
The "Club 27" teen center is open daily from 5:30 to 9 p.m., welcoming teens ages 13 to 17. Teens can play foosball, Ping-Pong and pool, as well as enjoy video games and special movie screenings as part of the nightly fun.
We really like the complimentary family activities. At stargazing families can view Saturn's rings through a high-powered telescope. At the Cowboy Campfire, roast S'mores while listening to tall tales told by a dude wearing chaps and a 10-gallon hat.
You can also hike Pinnacle Peak on a free guided walk or on your own. There's a trail from the resort's grounds. On Pinnacle, the first overlook at about .75 mile is a good goal with young kids and with older ones, go for the 3.5-mile roundtrip.
Pool and Recreation
Families will also love the large outdoor pool, tennis courts and golf courses.
Finally, a solution to getting your 11-year-old to order from the kids' menu without a grimace and a good deal of attitude. The Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale offers both a children's menu and a young adult menu. The children and teen menus in Proof, the causal, comfort-food eatery open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, differ slightly from those in Talavera, the upmarket, steak and game, dinner only restaurant, but each menu appeals to its target age group.
Your tweens no longer suffer the indignities of ordering from a kids' menu when they are not kids, as they repeatedly remind you, and you, as a parent, no longer have to overspend by ordering a full-price entree that your 11-year-old won't finish -- unless you want to.
For lunch in Proof youngsters can choose familiar kid comfort food such as grilled cheese, hamburgers, chicken fingers and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, from the children's menu. Tweens satisfy their bigger appetites and more sophisticated palettes by selecting chicken Ceasar salad, chicken quesadilla, grilled prime filet or grilled salmon from the resort's young adult menu.
This specialty steakhouse serves dinner only.
This casual poolside spot serves lunch, snacks and cocktails.
The let-there-be-peace-when-ordering meals extend to room service too. From the children's menu, young kids can select macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers, or peanut butter and jelly. From the "I'm not a kid anymore menu," ages 9 to 12 can order bigger portions of macaroni and cheese, as well as a grilled chicken breast and a hamburger.
Although we love the pampering of room service breakfast, we never order toast because by the time the bread arrives, it's soggy and cold. Not at the Four Seasons Scottsdale. That's because the room service attendant brings the sliced bread to you, takes out the toaster tucked away in your room's closet, and voila perfect toast. We remain impressed.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
At certain times of the year, the Kids For All Seasons program hosts a Saturday night movie night, called the Pajama Rama, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. for a fee. Children may attend in pajamas. During the evening kids decorate a pillowcase with markers, have dinner (charged to their rooms) and enjoy a film and popcorn.
Who has time to shine shoes? The staff does. Put your shoes in a bag outside your door and they come back beautifully shined for free.
In-room babysitting is also available at per hour fee. Reserve ahead.
The Art of Smart Timing
Value season: June through August
High season: September through May
It's a 29-mile drive from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North.
You can forego the daily valet parking fee by parking your car yourself. (First, drop off the gang and all your luggage). Having this option is a nice touch.
For Mom and Dad
Enjoy wine tastings every Wednesday night and tequila tastings every Thursday night.
For something different, try the resort's Chef du Jour program or become a Docent for a Day. As a chef, you consult with the executive and sous chefs, create a menu, help prepare it and, of course, savor the meal for two in Talavera's private dining room.
As a docent for a day, work with experts and master docents at the Heard Museum North and the Heard Museum Phoenix. Choose a collection of interest to you and find out about the artists as well as the process of mounting and assembling the collection.
Make time for the Spa! The 12,000-square foot oasis with 14 treatment rooms received a Mobil Four Star rating for 2008. Massages, facials and plenty of treatments are available.
The Spa doesn't forget about kids. Bribe (oops "reward") your high-schooler with the Sweet Sixteen spa experience, a 60-minute facial followed by a 20-minute skincare consultation plus a makeup lesson. Younger children might like the Bubble Yummy Manicure or the Bubble Yummy Pedicure. The pre-polish fun is soaking toes or fingers in a creamy solution..
Swing through 36 holes of golf at Troon North, whose courses have been rated number one and number two in Arizona. Resort guests receive priority tee times.