Culture / Travel

Desert Bathing, Prickly Pear, and Red Rocks with REI — Inside the Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North

A Perfect Winter Retreat for Frozen Texans

BY // 02.08.23

In the midst of the Texas cold snap, I yearned for a winter retreat. Somewhere warm where restoration was the focus. Scouting out my base camp for my winter getaway, I wanted to focus on wellness, relaxation, and being outside as much as possible. In my research, I came across an activity I’d never heard of that caught my eye at the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North: Desert Bathing. My fate was sealed. I was off to Scottsdale, Arizona. 


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A shot of the pool at the Four Seasons Scottsdale.

The Backstory — Four Seasons Scottsdale 

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North opened at the end of 1999 on the site of the historic Crescent Moon Ranch. In the 1940s, enterprising homebuilder George Ellis designed and built Crescent Moon Ranch in the Pinnacle Peak area for cereal heiress Lois Kellogg Maury. Maury used the adobe and redwood main house, two guesthouses, and a bunkhouse as a finishing school for wealthy debutantes, in addition to renting out guest cottages on the 127-acre property to seasonal visitors. The property has operated under the Four Seasons flag for more than two decades, and has undergone $20.7 million in renovations in 2016. 


The Four Seasons Scottsdale is designed to evoke an adobe pueblo-style village. (photo by Four Seasons Scottsdale)
A casita at the Four Seasons Scottsdale. (photo by Four Seasons Scottsdale)

The Aesthetic

The property is designed to blend harmoniously with the surrounding Sonoran Desert landscape, with a “desert chic” look that mirrors the area’s natural tones. Cozy casitas sprawl throughout the property evoking an adobe pueblo-style village, with low-density buildings, authentic design, and the tones of the desert. The standout feature of the rooms is the spaciousness, the connection to place (all rooms feature a terrace or balcony), and the gas-burning fireplaces. The suites feature expansive patios, a wood-burning outdoor fireplace, private plunge pools, and outdoor garden showers.

Even though it was warm during the day, I had the fireplace running each night inside the casita. It played harmoniously with the crisp night air and star-soaked sky. 


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The hotel first introduced Desert Bathing in 2022 and has visitors traveling for the experience. (photo by Four Seasons Scottsdale)

Desert Bathing and Wellness Focus

Wellness is a major pillar of the Four Seasons Scottsdale. In 2022, the property introduced Desert Bathing, which is similar to Forest Bathing in its focus on engaging the five senses in a natural setting. This “Desert Bath” underneath the Arizona sun was exactly what I needed. Walking in a natural environment and consciously connecting with nature was the ultimate reset I needed to start the year. 

Before my day at the spa, I took a yoga class that was the perfect start to my wellness-focused day. In a state of pure relaxation, I was transported to more moments of bliss at the hotel’s full-service spa, offering treatments that utilize desert botanicals (including the Nopal Massage, using real cactus paddles). One of my favorite and simple wellness moments was soaking up the January sunshine at the saltwater pool. 


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Paella is a popular dish at the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, Talavera. (photo by Four Seasons Scottsdale)

Dining at Four Seasons Scottsdale

Although I wanted wellness to be the driving force of this getaway, I was ready to splurge when it came to culinary delights. Luckily the food and beverage program encouraged my desires. One recurring ingredient on the menu included a Scottsdale delicacy: prickly pear. I’m still thinking about that prickly pear margarita that reminded me of pink Starbursts. 

The two restaurants on Four Seasons Scottsdale property include Proof (a more casual gathering spot) and Talavera (a fancy, yet unpretentious evening dining scene). Proof was laidback with approachable menu items like pretzel knots and signature items from the smoker. Talavera is known for its signature Spanish dishes, including paella, which they’ll also whip up for vegans. The churros at Talavera were my absolute favorite. Speaking of sweets, the Scottsdale team just welcomed Executive Pastry Chef Yudith Bustos, who recently moved from the Dallas property. 


All of the hotel’s dining is accompanied by desert landscape views. (photo by Four Seasons Scottsdale)

Exploring Scottsdale

Although there was an abundance of activities to do on-property and never leave, there are equally that many off-site adventures in the desert. Four Seasons Scottsdale partners with the local REI office to offer a series of custom adventures including an aerial tour of Sedona’s red rocks landscape, complete with Arizona wine tasting. There are also custom adventures that include stand-up paddleboarding, hiking, and pedaling peaks. And when in season, hot air balloon flights are one of the most iconic offerings. This is still on my bucket list. And I spied many golfers heading over to Troon North Golf Club, when I was hiking up Pinnacle Peak. 

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