Essential Scottsdale

When the temperatures start to fall, this Arizona town heats up. From a classic resort to new adventures, here’s where to stay and what to do

STAY: Quiet and understated—unlike so many of Scottsdale’s mega resorts—the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North is easy to miss. And that’s exactly why you’ll love it.

Removed from the hustle and bustle of town, it’s situated in the high Sonoran desert in the foothills of Pinnacle Peak, where the temperatures are a bit cooler and the pace is a bit slower.

Meandering pathways are lined with Territorial-style casitas and a wildly beautiful array of flowering cactus, ocotillos, giant agaves and palo verde trees. Just beyond, in stark contrast, rocky mountains and cliffs rise up in the landscape.

The play of colors and textures continues inside the resort’s 210 guest rooms and suites, all decked out with gas fireplaces, flat-screen televisions, deep soaking tubs and terraces with views of desert blooms, mountains and distant city lights. Suites take luxury to the next level with private patios complete with plunge pools, outdoor showers, fireplaces and telescopes for stargazing.

At the spa, treatments inspired by Native American traditions and indigenous ingredients—think Sonoran honey and Sedona red clay—come with special little touches, like the chocolate-covered strawberry that awaits when you melt off the massage table.

Local ingredients are also on the menu at the resort’s signature restaurant, Talavera, where Oaxaca-born chef Mel Mecinas incorporates local ranch-raised meats, produce and even olive oils into his modern-steakhouse menu (don’t miss the “Foie Gras PB&J”). The best tables line the patio’s glass railing, where there’s nothing between you and views of Pinnacle Peak and the valley below.

While you're there…

EAT: Chef Charleen Badman’s knack for turning seemingly mundane ingredients—radishes, butter, pork tongue—into revelatory experiences has made FnB a favorite among foodies. Grab a seat around the tiny open kitchen and watch each locally sourced dish come to life.

SEE: It’s easy to spend an entire day exploring the Musical Instrument Museum’s collection of more than 10,000 instruments from around the globe. State-of-the-art audio and visual technology lets you see and hear them being played, too.

DO: Arizona Outback Adventures’ Grand Canyon Fly & Hike experience lets you explore the canyon and be back at the hotel for dinner. You’ll board a Cessna aircraft for a scenic flight to the South Rim Park, then take a three-mile hike into the canyon on private trails. $525;

Categories: Mountain Travel