Showing posts with label Four Seasons residence club. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Four Seasons residence club. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Scottsdale. . .Walkin' in Sunshine

I hate to admit it, but I wasn’t taken with Arizona the first couple of times we visited here decades ago.  But with each return visit over the years I found some new ‘wonder’ which I kept adding to our ‘reasons to return’ list.

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Sunset - Scottsdale

Now, several years later, we actually own here – admittedly, a small bit of deeded property that affords us an annual visit of at least two weeks in our timeshare home.  And as reports of the Arctic Blast that is sweeping the Pacific Northwest keep arriving in our inbox today we are even more grateful for this warm-weather respite.

Four Seasons Residence Club - Troon Mountain to the right
Last week I wrote from our “Marriott” home in Phoenix and by this week we’ve moved to our “Four Seasons” home in Scottsdale.

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Four Seasons Hotel Scottsdale, Arizona
One of the benefits of timeshare life at this Four Season’s Residence Club is that we are footsteps from the hotel. And as residents, we have access to the hotel’s pool, spa, exercise facility and grounds as do hotel guests.  (We have our own pool and exercise facility as well.)

The Terrace at Onyx Bar - the Four Seasons overlooks the garden above
I’ve invited you in to see our condo on previous posts, so today I  thought we’d stroll around the property for a bit of a tour:

PicMonkey Collage

We’ll start in the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel where vibrant southwest colors bring the stucco Adobe-style walls to life.

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We follow a path through the natural landscape to get to and from the Residence Club and the hotel.  The stately Saguaro cactus stand like sentries and wild bunnies skitter among the bushes along the route.

PicMonkey Collage

Then it is back to the Residence Club and its own lobby where easy chairs face fireplaces and southwest colors figure prominently in the décor.  The library (far right in photo above) is a quiet place to peruse the books available on the lending shelf or relax in front of yet another fireplace.  (It does get chilly this time of year, so fireplaces aren’t just for decoration!)

PicMonkey Collage

Fireplaces and chimineas (like the one pictured above) are lit each night and fill the air with the scent of the southwest – the pungent smoke from the Mesquite wood – making it difficult to resist their magnetic pull to just ‘sit a spell’.

Arizona Spring 2012 154But we pass up the fireplace and head back to our place.

There, we bundle up in coats and sip a glass of wine on our deck while listening to the call of the desert animals that break the still of the night.

That’s it from Arizona for this week.  Hope to see you back again soon and until then, thanks for your time and Happy Travels!

Linking up this week with fellow bloggers at:

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

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

On the Road Again. . .off to “Play House”

Hail, rain, gray skies and gusty winds – the combination made a perfect send-off from the Pacific Northwest last week as we kicked off the first of our ‘travel season’ adventures.

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Pinnacle Peak - Scottsdale, Arizona
 The High Plains Drifters, our nom de blog, when we head to the Southwest set forth on our journey last week. Our destination: our Phoenix/Scottsdale Arizona timeshare homes where we have taken up residence for the better part of this month.

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Snoqualmie Pass - Washington State
Our route took us over the Cascade Mountain range then through Yakima and Walla Walla Valleys and past the Tri Cities, in all a nice long stretch of Washington State’s Wine Country.  No time to sample any though as we were headed across the Columbia River and into Oregon before stopping for the night in Baker City, Oregon. A town so charming that it is deserving of an entire blog post - one that will be forthcoming in future weeks.

Statue of Meriwether Lewis seeking directions from local Chief - Capitol grounds Boise
Our second night was spent in Boise, known as the City of Trees -- a most appropriate name for this city, the capital of the state of Idaho. We sliced through the southern tip of the state and headed for Utah.

We took a route through Utah and were blown-away (literally and figuratively) by both its vast beauty and emptiness AND its strong winds! Our third night was spent in southern Utah - Cedar City - where we were awakened by a storm in the middle of the night. The winds howled and shrieked from 2 a.m. on and as we left town we saw signs and dumpsters toppled by the strong winds. Luckily we missed the snow forecast to fall later in the day.

Arizona Spring 2012 131We undertook our journey at a leisurely pace, so we didn’t arrive in Arizona until the fourth day.

Saturday night was spent in Camp Verde, in northeast Arizona so that we could time our arrival in Phoenix to coincide with the early afternoon check-in at the Marriott Canyon Villas, our home for our first week.

Regulars here know that we’ve become sold on the timeshare-vacation-home approach to life.  It allows us to ‘live’ in Arizona in the fall and to move our Hawaiian ‘residence’ in the winter.

PicMonkey Collage
Our home - Marriott Vacation Club Canyon Villas - Phoenix, Arizona
Because we traded a studio week that we own at the Marriott KoOlina in Hawaii, we are spending our first week in a spacious one-bedroom condo at its sister Vacation Club here. Next week we will move to our Four Seasons timeshare home.

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An Arizona Afternoon
I call our timeshare time, ‘playing house’ because we do spend our days much as we do back in the Pacific Northwest:  time at the gym, time writing, time reading, doing grocery shopping, cooking, doing laundry . . .plain old every day retirement living.

What we don’t do are chores and cleaning, repairs and upgrades – those things are handled by staff. Isn’t that a nice concept? All that in exchange for an annual maintenance fee which we gladly pay!

Arizona Spring 2012 127 In fact this ‘playhouse’ allows us the time to do nothing – a luxury even in retired life. We can hop in the car and take excursions on a whim (the kind we put off in the Northwest because we have chores to do.)

Sometimes we do nothing more than laze at poolside or watch the wild bunnies that scamper through the grounds. . .

. . .and that is far more fun than watching rain and hail fall up north!

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On the Road in Nevada

Have you taken any road trips lately? If so where did you go? Let us know in the comments below or shoot us an email.

Happy and safe Travels to you and thanks so much for the time you spent with us today! Hope to see you back again next week! Bear with the looks of the blog until I get the hang of using our new Surface - that we purchased just before the trip. I've not yet downloaded Windows Live Writer so you are seeing a mishmash of blog layout. . .I had another mosaic that I managed to kill out or lose somewhere. . .oh, the joys of technology~

We are linking up with these fun blogs – drop by for some great armchair getaways:

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

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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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’.

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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!
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Hope to see you back here on Tuesday for some pie and coffee, Sydney style!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Setting out on a Winter Road Trip that would take the High Plains Drifters away from our Pacific Northwest home between Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed pretty peculiar to a number of our acquaintances there.

AZroadtrip2012 003We’d be missing those weeks of rushing around to replace Thanksgiving decorations with Christmas-appropriate décor, writing the annual Christmas letter, shopping for, and delivering, presents and of course,cooking.

We’d also be missing winter weather (the likes of which we left behind on Thanksgiving morning – this scene on Snoqualmie Pass, WA).

And, worse, friends exclaimed, we wouldn’t be ‘home’ for the holidays’.  But, oh, contraire!


We are home.  We are settled quite comfortably into our ‘interval world’  home, this one an adobe casita which is part of our Four Seasons Resident Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. Here we own a fractional piece of deeded property which can be used or traded for another locale.  The best kind of second home for our nomadic lifestyle.

I should note these photos were taken before we cluttered it with ‘our stuff’ which certainly does make it feel – and look -- like home.

We’ve been hooked on this type of second-home lifestyle for several years now; having first taken the plunge with Hawaiian ownership.


It really is like home:  we cook (there’s a full kitchen) , do laundry and go grocery shopping – just like at the other home back in Washington. However, here we can walk to the gym a few yards from our casita and later sun at poolside, with attendants setting up the lounges and bringing us beverages while back in the room, the maid is bringing new towels and making the bed (you get the idea).

Oh, but what about Christmas and all the decorations and celebrations? 

Well, let me show you:
I chose to feature  the Residence Club and the nearby Four Season’s Hotel lobby – in later posts I’ll show you more from Phoenix and Scottsdale.175

Last night we strolled the paved walkway that links the residences to the hotel for a Happy Hour Margarita and were greeted at the hotel’s entrance by these young musicians who played Christmas caroles – their music setting a seasonal tone throughout the development.


Here it seems everything is decorated for the season; even our cacti and the best part is that we didn’t have to raise a finger getting them so:


Arizona’s weather, we are told, is unseasonably warm this year. It’s been in the mid- to high-70’s but a colder spell is on the way.  Supposed to drop to 61-degrees on Friday. With that kind of weather on the way, the High Plains Drifters will be heading back to the Pacific Northwest.
Oh, but what a holiday at home we have had!

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,


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