Just outside of Scottsdale, seemingly encircled by the mountain ranges, Four Seasons Scottsdale is a resort in the truest sense of the word. There’s a distinct and honest South-Western feel here; local artists have created sculptures, bold and bright textiles, wrought-iron lighting and kiva fireplaces.
About 20 miles from downtown Scottsdale, the resort is accessible but remote. Pinnacle Peak stands over the property, providing the backdrop to some stunning vistas. Walk among saguaro cactuses, take an outback tour or book in for a celestial picnic – a picnic on a remote lawn where you can even have a guided stargazing session with a local astronomer.
Inside there are three central pools; the main pool bi-level so you can splash around in the top before drifting to the smaller pool lower down. There’s a separate kids' pool, and a hot and bubbly adults-only pool. Loungers line the walkways around the edge, and assistants are on hand with towels, sunscreen and drinks. Book in to a luxury cabana and you can even have your very own entertainment system – TV and iPad included.
The spa itself is a short walk from the pool area. Here, the reception area mimics the décor of the main hotel with dark wood, patterned armchairs and tiled floors. Skin care products, swimwear, jewellery and gifts line the shelves along the walls. The salon is just off to one side where you can have hair treatments, manicures, pedicures and make-up applications. Each single sex changing room has its own sauna, steam and relaxation room where there are plenty of lockers, big showers and all the products you need to preen and pamper. If you want to keep to a fitness regime, there’s a gym, studio for exercise classes and tennis courts, too. Staff are knowledgeable, friendly and always happy to help.
Tell us about the treatments
We tried the Healing Hiker's full body massage (80 minutes, from $230).
My therapist, Karen, met me in the cool and dark relaxation room and took me through to our treatment room. Karen explained the massage would involve lots of stretching and some deeper tissue work to loosen my tired and tight muscles. She then began with a face and scalp massage using hot stones along my stressed jawline – tension really does get into the oddest of places.
Karen then moved her attention to the front of my arms, shoulders and legs, applying a hot towel to the larger muscle groups to warm the muscles before working on them with her hands. The heat was blissful and really made a difference to the treatment.
Karen asked me to turn over and moved her attention to my calves and feet. She wiggled my toes, stretched my feet, ankles and lower legs, and used strong pressure to get deep into the muscular tissue. Once my legs had turned to jelly, Karen moved onto my back and neck, this time using her hands, arms and elbows to knead, roll and then lift my muscles.
The massage felt almost remedial, working to help my body heal from the morning’s exertions rather than give me 80 minutes of pure relaxation. Once the treatment finished, I slipped back into my robe and allowed Karen to lead me back to the relaxation room where she brought me a plate of chocolate dipped strawberries – the perfect post-massage treat.
If pure relaxation is what you are after, try the Dream Catcher Massage, part of Four Season’s Sleepytime Services, a guided relaxation exercise followed by a long flowing massage. Four Seasons Scottsdale also offers Omorovicza and Hydrafacial™ facial treatments, body wraps and polishes, manicures and pedicures, and treatments for men and mums-to-be.
There are three dining options at the resort: poolside, Saguro Blossom serves drinks, snacks, salads and heavier dishes such as burgers and tacos; Proof, an American Canteen, is exactly what it says and serves South Western and American classics, with modern twists; Talavera is closer to fine dining than the advertised steakhouse. We were blown away by the variety of fresh and beautifully created food. Our Chilean sea bass and Kansas City steak were seriously good.
Who would like it?
There’s plenty for little ones to do here, but it feels more like a place for a romantic break -- the food is very good, the design and décor is rich and interesting, and the pools are perfect for a sunny afternoon. Carve out some time to spend with your beloved.
Hikers: The trail head for Pinnacle Peak is just by the hotel’s parking lot and the scenery is otherworldly for Brits. The trail is about 3.5 miles long, so you can make it up and down in time for a session in the spa… Just make sure you dodge the coyote and rattlesnakes.
An evening aperitif at Onyx bar: Watch the sunset with a glass of your favourite tipple. If you visit in the cooler months, there’s a fire pit to cuddle up around, if you’re visiting in the heat, the breeze over the valley is beautifully refreshing.
The massage treatments: Americans call it bodywork and, if you’ve been out hiking or even just walking around Scottsdale’s many malls, it’ll feel like bliss.
9th December 2016
Warmth and sunshine; spas which take me away to another country; fruit infused waters; beach-worth pedicures; deep tissue massages.
High footfalls; treatments that over promise and under deliver; heavy lunches; loungers drapped in used towels.
Behind the scenes