Showing posts with label Four Seasons Scottsdale. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Four Seasons Scottsdale. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

In Scottsdale ~ ‘Tis the Season. . .almost!

I’ve written in recent weeks about the concept of not being home for Christmas which also means not doing the traditional decorating of our house.  In response, a friend or two have exclaimed, “But you love Christmas!”

And that I do. But it doesn’t mean I need to be the one doing the decorating to enjoy the season.  To illustrate that point, I thought I’d take you on a tour of Scottsdale and Phoenix where we've been for the last three weeks and where ‘Tis the Season. . .


Christmas trees stand taller than palm trees in some displays around town. 
And how about that blue-sky backdrop?


And speaking of palm trees. . .
how about this duo decked out in their sparkling holiday jewels?

PicMonkey Collage

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Hotel gets into the celebration with a garden of lights 
and an ice skating rink – all open to the public as well as guests.

PicMonkey Collage

They also have a tree that changes its holiday gowns as Christmas carols fill the air.

 FourSeasons2012 012

But let’s not forget we are in the desert and those stately Saguaro cacti and Palo Verde trees (these at the Four Seasons Troon Resort) like to get dressed up as well for the holidays.


Nothing compares with the gingerbread displays at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Phoenix.  
This display from a couple of years ago was the Wizard of Oz theme – 
see the brave foursome at the Emerald City?

PicMonkey Collage

So I am not decorating this year. 
Our setting is not the usual one and our traditions are left behind, 
but there is no doubt ‘Tis the Season!
And we plan to enjoy it where ever we are! 
Hope you will too!


As the busy holiday season is upon us, we appreciate even more the time you spent with us today!  Photos in this post were from our trip here two years ago – but I can assure you Arizona is as decked out this year as it was then! The decorators have seen out in full force for the last two weeks!

Linking up with:

Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox 
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route 
Travel Photo Monday – Travel Photo Discovery 
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Taste of the World

A certain number of people have only one question when we announce an upcoming far-distant destination:

 “But, what will you eat there?”

Following any trip, the question is usually, “But, was the food . . .good?”

Today, with 2013 only days from being history, I am serving up a helping of some of the mouth-watering foods that have given us a taste of the world in which we’ve traveled during its run.

Some of our happiest travel memories are those that involve food, like that time in:

Honolulu, Hawaii. . .

. . .where their traditional and inexpensive ‘plate lunch’ (total cost for the meal below about $20 US). This meal, served in a Styrofoam box is one of our favorite local eats.  Using our laps for a table we dined on Katsu chicken sitting on a bed of steamed rice and veggies (that's a bit of pork to the left), as we sat on our Waikiki Beach facing hotel room balcony last January.

OahuKolina2013 032

The View with our Hawaiian plate lunch:

OahuKolina2013 011

Chora Sfakia, southern coast of Crete, Greece:

Sfakian pie”  is one of the specialty menu items at Delfini’s Restaurant.  It is made at the time of ordering so that anticipation builds during that 20 minute wait for the fragrant pie stuffed with lamb and four Cretan cheeses to arrive at the table.  We ordered it with a side of “Horta” – those wild greens that grow on the rough and tumble hillsides surrounding the town and look much like spinach – but taste better! 

This may well be one of our favorite meals on earth! Confession: my mouth waters each time I look at these photos. (Cost: our three-course meal, including the pie,was about $22US total including wine.)

PicMonkey Collage

The View of Chora Sfakia’s waterfront that we had while we ate Sfakian Pie:

Sfakia2Amster2013 007

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Stamppot, a Dutch favorite (and one of ours as well)  is made of mashed potatoes, mixed with vegetable (carrots in the photo below) and served with rookworst, a smoked sausage and a 'pond' of gravy tops the potato mound. We could have eaten ourselves silly at every meal during our three-night stay en route from Greece to Seattle. (It’s a good thing we walked ourselves silly each day to counter those calories!)

Amsterdam2013 063

The setting:  While we didn’t have a 'view table' at this little pub across from our hotel, what made this meal memorable was that table full of people in this photo because it turned out they were a touring musical group and they broke into song and entertained us all!

Amsterdam2013 065

Russell township, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

The steaming hot Seafood Chowder with local fresh fish, bacon and shellfish came flowing over the sides of its compact cob loaf at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel – a place that began in 1827 as a grog shop – on the waterfront in picture-perfect Russell.

While we both exclaimed there was ‘too much to eat’ we barely managed to leave a polite tidbit of bread in our bowls. And, we used the occasion to taste two different Sauvignon Blanc wines, the white for which New Zealand is famous. (Cost: $56AUS, about $45US)


The setting: was the amazing patio in front of this historic hotel that overlooked the harbor and fronted the small main street that catered to pedestrians and an occasional car or two. (Russell will soon be featured in a post on TravelnWrite.)


A Sample of Southwestern United States: Las Vegas and Scottsdale
Gluttony – pure and simple!  I am almost ashamed to show you some of the food we ate while traveling in Nevada and Arizona this year. Let’s just say, I understand why my cholesterol count was off the chart a few weeks ago and why my doctor suggested 'continued attention to exercise and low fat foods'. . . (ahem, I hope she misses this post!)

Okay, so it was my July birthday. . .remember, 60, the Big One? I believed that a little self-indulgence was in order at Mon Ami Gaby Restaurant on Las Vegas Blvd. ~ and who can say 'no' to a birthday treat from the restaurant, right?

Vegas60Seattle 066

The View: was equally as delightful. . .we sat on the patio under ‘the Eiffel Tower’.

Vegas60Seattle 069

I’ll conclude this food fest retrospective with our November visit to Scottsdale, where we ate twice at the Four Season’s Proof American Canteen. We finally gave in on our last visit and each ordered – and ate – their  Best Burger - Vermont Cheddar, Smoked Ketchup Mayo, Bourbon Molasses Onions, Deep Fried Bacon.  Okay, it tasted as good and was as unhealthy as it looks BUT we didn’t order the optional fried egg on top and ate Cole slaw instead of French Fries. . .that must count for something. . .

ScottsdaleNov2013 009

The Setting at the foot of Pinnacle Peak (pictured below) couldn’t be beat!

We found plenty of good eats in 2013scottsdalenov2013 014 and the meals flavored our travels with great memories.

Today we raise our glasses to each of you in a toast of “Thanks!” as our travels in 2013 come to an end:

Thanks for the time you’ve spent sharing our close-to-home and far-distant adventures.  Hopefully our tips were useful and tales entertaining. The Scout and The Scribe recognize that time is a valuable commodity these days and we can't thank you enough for sharing a bit of yours with us.

We look forward to having you join us again in 2014 because there’s a lot of world out there to savor and we hope to have a big helping of it. . .maybe even seconds and some desert as well!

Our thanks and best wishes for a Happy New Year and Happy Travels  ~  Jackie and Joel

We are linking up at:
Noel Morata’s Monday Travel Photo Discovery
Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Scottsdale: Living in (Affordable) Luxury

This isn’t a timeshare solicitation – no 90 minute presentation required to visit our home in Scottsdale, Arizona.

scottsdalenov2013 013
Sunset - Pinnacle Peak, Scottsdale
However,  this  is a tale about timeshare life in Arizona’s Valley of the Sun. . .in the northeast corner of Scottsdale . . .in the shadow of Pinnacle Peak.
FourSeasons2012 024
Hiking Pinnacle Peak

Our place – the Residence Club at Four Seasons Troon North --is an easy walk to Pinnacle Peak park, the starting point for hiking the path that leads along its rocky face.

It is a short drive to recently opened trails at Tom’s Thumb and Brown’s Ranch.

Since our purchase three years ago, we’ve had a home here  for two weeks each year – we choose the dates in our season (late spring,  fall or early winter). This year we opted for November, a time when temperatures are ranging from 70F – 90F for daytime highs while back in Kirkland they are hovering at 40F – 50’s.

DCVegasSeville2011 142
View of the Four Seasons Residence Club - Scottsdale
We now own timeshare homes in Arizona (Four Seasons) and Hawaii (Marriott). Both locations provide, quite literally, ‘million dollar views’ – we’ve checked nearby home prices at both places.

Hawaii and Arizona have been favorite  ‘getaway’ destinations for years, but we aren’t quite ready to put down permanent roots in either location. The timeshare is ‘semi-permanent’ but with the option to trade what we own and head to some new location.  A perfect lifestyle for these two nomads.

Sadly, “timeshare” or “fractional ownership” still has a ring of distain to it. The horror stories abound from those who fell victim of some high pressure 90 minute sales pitch and found themselves owning something they don’t want.

scottsdalenov2013 004
Four Seasons Hotel Pool with Pinnacle Peak in background
What you don’t hear often enough are the stories from people like us (and there are thousands of us out there) who are making the most of timeshare life – and loving it.

We’ve been asked so often about this timeshare world of ours that today I thought we’d answer some of the questions we’ve been asked:

PicMonkey Collage
Our home in Scottsdale - living area, master bedroom, guest suite
Do you really own anything?

We own deeded Arizona property, a week at a two bedroom, two and a half bath luxuriously furnished condo that has a full kitchen, two adobe-style gas fireplaces, dining for six, huge bathrooms with soaking tubs and showers, and walk-in closet. One of the bedrooms can be used as a stand-alone studio-like suite (with kitchenette) so we ‘lock it off’ and use the small side then move to the large side which results in us getting two weeks use out of one week’s purchase.

Arizona Spring 2012 143
Library at the Four Seasons Residence Club
So, how do you buy a timeshare?  

We purchased our Four Seasons property on the re-sale market as this small development's 44 units sold out quickly after being built. The only way to buy here  is on that secondary market.  The purchase price was half the price of the two of us taking a 7-day Oceania cruise.

(Tip: buying on the secondary market will likely result in saving the buyer money as they are usually priced less than the original purchase price. The flip side is, that as an owner, you are not likely to make money either when you decide to sell.) You don’t buy timeshares to make a return on your real estate investment as with a conventional home.

RdTripAZ2WA2012 019Is that all it costs?

Once a year we write a check to pay for the maintenance, staffing and services. Unlike owning a second home, we don’t need to fret about the pool maintenance, yard care, fumigation (for the southwestern critters), maintenance. . .the Four Seasons takes care of that.

Why own when you could rent? 

Well, if we divide 14 nights into our annual maintenance fee, we are paying $157 a night for a luxury condo, with daily maid service, plush robes, a pool, exercise room exclusively for the Residence Club as well as, access to the hotel’ pools and exercise area  and discounts at the hotel restaurants, bars and spa.  We checked yesterday for discount hotel prices in the area and the best we found for here was $369 per night. 

Arizona Spring 2012 178
One of the sitting areas in Four Seasons Residence Club grounds
Five things to keep in mind when considering a timeshare purchase:

1. Costs beyond the purchase price?  Will you be able to swing  the maintenance fee each year? And if the fees increase, can you continue to pay them? (Ask for a history of maintenance fee increases). Also, as with any deeded property real estate purchase there are closing fees to be paid.

2. What are you purchasing? Deeded property or are you buying into a points system? (Some prefer the flexibility of a points system, we prefer having a title to real property in hand.) Know what you are purchasing and how you can use it.

3. Trade value of the property.  We went with high-end luxury resort properties and as a result have had no problem trading our weeks with other high end properties around the world. (You might get a real deal with a lesser priced property but then find yourself unable to trade it to anywhere else). Do some research and weigh the advantages/disadvantages of the ‘deal’.

Arizona Spring 2012 201
Lobby - Four Seasons Hotel Troon North - Scottsdale

4. Who is managing the property? Is is some company like Marriott or Four Seasons that you’ve heard of before or some unknown company?  Do some research into the company’s performance and reputation before signing on the dotted line.

5. Spend some time at the property. We’ve actually met people who own timeshare property that they’ve never stayed at it – in fact, they’ve never seen it!  Spend a vacation at the property (sometimes prospective buyers can get a deal in exchange for sitting through that 90 minute sales presentation).  Talk to other owners on site. We did that here and the endorsements were so strong, that we couldn’t wait to sign that offer of purchase.

That’s it for today. Thanks for visiting our home in Arizona!
Sign up to receive our posts regularly at: TravelnWrite
Follow us on Facebook: Travelnwrite
Or on Twitter: @TravelnWrite
Hope to see you back here on Tuesday for some pie and coffee, Sydney style!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

On The Road to Arizona’s Summer Deals

Arizona Spring 2012 131Pssstt. . .did you know that when Arizona’s Valley of the Sun (Phoenix and Scottsdale) starts heating up in the summer you can nab some of its coolest hotel deals? 

Think 5-star luxury . . . pools . . . spas . . . fine dining. . . at prices so low you could stay three or four nights for the cost of one night in the same room during the winter.

Places like at the Four Seasons Troon North in Scottsdale. That’s their pool area pictured below.  Can’t you imagine yourself sunning there while sipping a cool one?

DSCF0107 (1)

I wrote about the drop in prices in an article that appears in today’s Seattle Times.  You will have to click this link however, to see what kind of deals I am talking about (believe me, it is worth your time to do so).

Arizona Spring 2012 035

And if you are contemplating a road trip to Arizona, I have another article in the Seattle Times  today in which I point out  some ‘not-to-miss’ stops and things to do in the North Central part of this Grand Canyon State (beyond the Grand Canyon, you might say).  To see those, you’ll need to click this link.

Arizona Spring 2012 059And for those of you who do click the links to the Seattle Times, you might recognize the guy in my photos with the orange shirt. . .

Hope to see you back here again this week because we are introducing a Travel Classics series featuring some charming historic hotels we’ve happened upon and we will also be taking you to Amsterdam for a night on the town!  
Until then, ‘Happy Travels!’

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Aboard The Southbound Polar Express

When the High Plains Drifters set out on our Winter Road Trip early Thanksgiving morning, I’d silently decided we were taking a holiday from the holidays (like that John Grisham book/movie a few years ago about a vacation from Christmas).

As the Pacific Northwest forests gave way to the barren Southwest high plains, I ticked off the list the things I wouldn’t be doing: seasonal decorating, shopping and cooking, cards and gifts, ahh, yes. . .no holidays for us this year!

What I didn’t realize at the time was that we weren’t escaping from the holidays; we were hurtling toward them aboard our own  Polar Express, (it’s the other book/movie that convinces the Scrooge in all of us that the magic of Christmas is alive and well).

082We were headed to Arizona - Christmas Central -  the best place in the world to experience this season, …well,. . . with perhaps the exception of the North Pole.

The Sugar Plum Stations along our route left holiday visions dancing in our heads . . . visions like those in. . .


AZroadtrip2012 114

Christmas Spirit enveloped us within hours of our arrival in Prescott, “Arizona’s Christmas City”.  This is its Courthouse, a centerpiece in the downtown, which by now is lit up each night just like the Christmas Tree next to it.


AZroadtrip2012 125

We had a week-long stay in Marriott’s Desert Canyon Villas, five-minutes from the J.W. Marriott Hotel where Christmas decorations began appearing the same weekend we arrived.


With each day the decorations seemed to expand throughout the hotel’s massive lobby. Poinsettias lined the stairways, festive green and red decorations seemed to sprout – as if magically – during the night.


I didn’t think the Land of Oz could be made any more wonderful than the Emerald City that welcomed Dorothy and her friends. But thanks to the Marriott’s culinary team this land of Oz was a Confectionery Convention Center where gingerbread pavers lined the Yellow Brick Road.

108We spent three nights – thanks to a Cyber Monday deal – at the Fairmont Princess Hotel in Phoenix –a place that in December could be mistaken for the North Pole.

Scrooge would have had a difficult time here but not those who are still kids-at-heart. 

080Much time was spent watching their four-story tall Christmas Tree change colors; the changes synchronized to the Christmas Carole’s that ring out over the hotel’s plaza, located just outside its elaborately decorated lobby. 

113Then, down a path to the skating rink. . .yes, real ice, six-inches deep, in the heart of the desert. A large truck/generator  hidden behind one of the buildings brings this frozen wonderland scene to life.  (The rink is open to the entire community, not just hotel guests.)
They rent skates at the hotel.



After a bit of time at the rink it was time to follow a luminaria-lit path through a fairy land of lights and scenes that appear each evening. Any other time of year, the same pathway leads through a beautiful – but not particularly magical – lagoon area.

And if the kid within you allows you to do it, you can hop aboard a miniature train to tour this enchanted land.

In Arizona where everything seems big – even the Christmas decorations are enormous.  The tree below at  the Desert Ridge Shopping Center towered over the palm trees around it.



At Scottsdale’s iconic Pinnacle Peak Patio restaurant we found Santa’s sleigh being hauled by cattle.

FourSeasons2012 050

And just down the road this big ol’ bronze mountain lion was decked out for the season as well.


Each evening at the Troon North Four Seasons the pathway between the Hotel and Residence Club wound through a daytime-desert that each evening gave way to a seasonal showcase.
FourSeasons2012 012

By the time we reached the Four Seasons I was much like the kids on the Polar Express – I was a believer again.  We may have left the holiday hustle behind, but we’d re-discovered the Magic of Christmas!
Have you visited any magical places this year? What made them magical?

Where ever your travels take you this holiday season we hope you’ll also find some Christmas Magic ~ it’s Travel Photo Thursday – don’t forget to visit Budget Travelers Sandbox for more armchair travel.  I’ll resume the High Plains Drifters tales this weekend with a stop in Ely, Nevada . . .

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Four Seasons: Crescent Moon Luxury and Legacy

Arizona Spring 2012 149Scottsdale, that oasis in the midst of the Arizona desert, is synonymous with ‘luxury living’. Gorgeous homes the color of the leather-tanned landscape are scattered throughout the surrounding hillsides. 

It's a Panoramas-and-Pools lifestyle. The good life.  A dry, warm, sunny good life; a second-home locale for many web-footed Washingtonians like us who are seeking a respite from wet and gray. 

Arizona Spring 2012 143Last year when Joel found the deal -- an interval ownership at the Four Seasons Residence Club Scottsdale for a price too good to pass up -- we joined those desert destined sun seekers. Well, at least for two weeks every year – that’s the way it is with interval ownership. . .and that’s just the way we like it.

Earlier this month we spent our first week at our ‘vacation home’  basking in the luxury lifestyle for which Four Seasons is known.  We were addressed by name each time we approached the front desk. Pool attendants hurried to spread our beach towels over the cushioned lounge chairs, then bring  pitchers of ice-water and regularly check on our comfort level. One lazy morning when we altered our routine and our room attendant tapped on our door to see ‘if everything was okay’.  Another took Joel’s dusty sandals, had them polished and returned them looking like new within an hour. 

Arizona Spring 2012 256The Residence Club is a small development built around a pool area that features a small restaurant, Ocotillo Grill, an enormous hot tub, quiet pool, kiddies pool and regular pool.  It’s a quick walk to the adjacent to the Four Seasons Hotel, where we had access to its pool, gym and spa facilities (even though we had our own pool and exercise room).

Note:  You need not be an owner to stay at the Residence Club – units here can be rented just like the nearby hotel.

East Crescent Moon Drive at Pinnacle Peak – A Legacy of Hospitality

Arizona Spring 2012 253What attracted us to this resort, aside from its reputation for luxury, was its location. Sitting at the base of the 600-foot tall Pinnacle Peak, there are territorial views over Phoenix and Scottsdale and Troon Mountain is just across the street.

The resort’s address is Crescent Moon Drive. One of its restaurants is named Crescent Moon. Both give a nod of tribute to a legacy of hospitality that existed at this location long before the Four Seasons. 

Arizona Spring 2012 255In 1948 George Ellis, a Scottsdale resident who was to become known for his architectural contributions to the area, designed and built Crescent Moon Ranch where the Four Seasons Resort is located.

Crescent Moon Ranch*, a 127-acre property, was owned by cereal heiress Lois Kellogg Maury and her husband. Maury used the  adobe and redwood main house (with a lily pool in the living room), two guest houses and a bunk house as a finishing school for wealthy Eastern debutantes, in addition to renting out guest cottage to seasonal visitors.  

In 1967 it was sold to Gordon Ingebritson, an insurance executive, developer, rancher and philanthropist.

In 1997 the ranch was demolished. In December 1999 the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North opened its doors. 

And are we ever glad they did!
*Historical information used in this post is from Four Seasons Resort and a documents filed with the National Register of Historic Places.

Photos: (in order) Pathway between Residence Club and Hotel; Residence Club library off the lobby; view over pool of Residence Club from our deck; Pinnacle Peak from outside our door, and view from Residence Club.

Four Seasons Resort, 10650 E. Crescent Moon Drive, Scottsdale, 480-515-5700,


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...