Entries in ‘Resorts’ Journal

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale Troon North: Cowboy Up

Wednesday November 26, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 0 Comments

Cowboys and luxury don’t always go hand in hand, or should I say from cowboy boots to leather gloves? Fortunately, cowboys and cowgirls fit right in at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale Troon North. Located away from downtown Scottsdale, Scottsdale Troon North takes its name from its relationship with well-heeled neighbor, Troon North Golf Club. That’s right, guests can wear cowboy boots, golf shoes, spa sandals, hiking boots or high heels in the lobby and no one will bat an eye. But you will be greeted with a warm Sonoran desert welcome.
 

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, Arizona, hotel

Hotel review: Four Seasons Scottsdale. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

Southwest suites

I had the opportunity to stay in one of 22 recently remodeled suites at the high desert luxury resort. The $750,000 enhancements included updated rugs, new upholstery, lamps and the all important “Signature Sleep” bed that is oh so necessary after a day in the saddle. Interchangeable bed toppers – firm to plush – may not be important to you, but anyone with sleep issues will appreciate this Four Seasons option.
 
 

 
 

Four Seasons Resort Socttsdale at Troon North, Arizona, hotel lobby

Warm Sonoran desert welcome. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
Extraordinary Experiences

New to many Four Seasons Resort properties is a collection of Extraordinary Experiences offered only at one particular resort. The Scottsdale at Troon North kicks off Cowboy for a Day in partnership with Arizona Cowboy College. This working ranch experience offers a home on the range, day long adventure steeped in cowboy history with plenty of hands on opportunities for city slickers to get their cowboy boots dusty.
 

Adobe casitas at base of Pinnacle Peak. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

Adobe casitas at base of Pinnacle Peak. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
Similar to conjuring up a genie in a bottle, guests are able to direct and star in their own Scottsdale spaghetti western reality show. You choose the hat and boots (additional fee), while wranglers at Arizona Cowboy College will match you with a horse based on your riding ability. You will learn to groom, bridle and saddle your horse, as well as ride next to giant Saguaro cactus in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest. The Cowboy for a Day pricing starts at $450, check the website for current prices.
 
casita, Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, Arizona

Southwest king casita. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
The day before my Cowboy College experience, I tried a “Yoga for Horseback Riders” class (additional fee). Yoga Instructor and LPGA Expert Dodie Mazzuca geared my morning toward gentle yoga. “For horseback riding, we want to make sure the hips are healthy and the core is strong,” noted Mazzuca.
 
Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, pool, Arizona

One of three pools. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
After a full day of hanging with horses, I opted to return to the resort for an 80 minute “Back in the Saddle” massage. Relaxed in one of 14 treatment rooms, I selected the Turquoise Sage Mountain Arnica Body Oil, good for soothing sore muscles. I could have floated around in one of three swimming pools – children’s, family or adult-only pool with hot tub and 24 hour access, after my massage. Instead, I moseyed on over to Talavera restaurant to take in the Sonoran sunset by the foothills of Pinnacle Peak and sampled lobster and corn bisque, followed with diver scallops, butternut squash, agnolotti and merquez sausage. Good thing this culinary feast was after my horseback ride!
 
frittata, Proof restaurant, Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North

Egg white frittata at Proof. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
Insider Tips

While valet parking is expected at this luxury resort ($29), guests have the option for complimentary self parking. A golf cart will follow you upon parking and whisk you to your private casita. There is a $30 daily resort fee that covers high speed internet, breakfast items such as croissants, muffins and coffee, bottled water at the front desk, 24 hour health and fitness center, a 4.7 mile hiking trail that starts on the property and a Kids For All Seasons program open 365 days of the year.

The resort is pet-friendly (30 pound weight limit.)

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown and follow @FSScottsdale on Twitter.

Check-In Time: 4:00pm

Check-Out Time: 12:00pm
 

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, patio, Arizona

Take in a Sonoran sunset. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
If You Go:

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North (480) 515-5700
10600 East Crescent Moon Drive
Scottsdale, Arizona 85262
 

Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. Thanks to Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North for creating this experience. All opinions are my own.

Hotel Review: Skamania Lodge, Washington

Friday August 29, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 2 Comments

Our daughter recently accepted a job in Washington state and is living in the hip city of Portland, Oregon. As my husband and I are graduates of the University of Oregon, we are more than happy to explore our daughter’s new recreational playground. With that in mind, we put together a Pacific Northwest roadtrip beginning in central Oregon and ending in Washington’s Columbia Gorge. Our home base for Washington was Skamania Lodge.
 

"Columbia Gorge"

Sailboats float along Columbia Gorge


 
What we liked about Skamania Lodge; this 22 year old playpen – offering 254 rooms for outdoor lovers – caters to both young and old. Golfers walked by me as I exercised my dog, while a group of excited teenagers shrieked and did their best Tarzan calls from zipline platforms strung between towering trees above.
 


 

I met a coffee roaster from Seattle while I was soaking in the outdoor hot tub. Hyped up on caffeine, he was singing the praises of Skamania and the hiking trails around the area. Splashing in the pool were two millennials from Gresham, Oregon by way of Romania. They had learned that this was the place to stay when you visit Multnomah Falls.
 

"Skamania Lodge" hot tub

Soak in the hot tub


 
"Skamania Lodge" pool

Splash in the indoor pool


 
And then there were the friendly employees – the gift shop lady who steered me to a cup of gourmet instant oatmeal for my early morning departure, my server in the Cascade Dining Room who wanted to make sure that I enjoyed my diver scallops and the Waterleaf Spa Manager who took the time to explain to me why organic skin care products really are better for your body – and the earth.
 
"Cascade Dining Room" scallops

Diver scallops, Cascade Dining Room

 
Pet-friendly resort

Like many of our readers, we travel with our pet. This can be a problem at upscale resorts. Fortunately for us, Skamania Lodge is pet-friendly. $75 one time charge for pets, check the website for current rates. Room #194 welcomed dogs and had a back door that opened to plenty of dog walking trails. The golf course pro shop even had a water bowl waiting outside their front door!
 

"Skamania Lodge" pet-friendly hotel room

Pet-friendly hotel room


 
Sit back and relax
After a full day of outward bounding, pull up a rocking chair in the great room and admire the beauty that surrounds this place. There’s plenty of room to roam or sit back and relax and drink in the view of the spectacular Columbia Gorge – with a glass or two of local wine.
 
"Skamania Lodge" rockers

Sit back and relax


 
"Skamania Lodge" exterior

Take in the Columbia Gorge view


 
Insider Tip
As I live in California, I am very aware of our water shortage. I am always shocked when hotels don’t provide hotel guests the choice to opt out of daily linen and towel changes. Skamania Lodge goes one step further with their Green Choice Program. Hang a bamboo card on your door to opt out of housekeeping services. In return the lodge will deliver a $5 voucher for use on the property for each following day.
 
"Skamania Lodge" "Green Choice Program"

Green Choice Program

The lodge charges a reasonable $19 one time resort fee. My room rented for $179. Check the website for current rates and package deals. Skamania Lodge is a member of Destination Hotels & Resorts. For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown and follow @SkamaniaLodge on Twitter.

Check-In Time: 4:00pm

Check-Out Time: 12:00pm
 

If You Go:

Skamania Lodge (800) 221-7117
1131 SW Skamania Lodge Way,
Stevenson, Washington 98648

Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Destination Hotels & Resorts. All opinions are my own.

Sunriver: All Season Resort in Central Oregon

Friday August 22, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 3 Comments

For those of you old enough to remember the 1978 movie Same Time, Next Year starring Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn, you’ll recall that the romantic comedy is about two lovers – married to others – who meet each year at a charming bed and breakfast located on the Northern California coast.  My husband and I share the same story in a different state – sort of. Both of us fell in love with Sunriver Resort and central Oregon in our youth. We fell in love with each other in Sunriver during our college days. Over time, we got married, had kids and eventually became empty nesters – one thing remained the same – our Sunriver vacation – same time, next year.
 

"Sunriver Marina" canoes

Float Deschutes River from Sunriver Marina


Sunriver all season resort

We have traveled to Sunriver, Oregon in winter, spring, summer and fall. However, our annual family vacation always returns us to central Oregon in late summer. This is the best time to experience high desert living, in my opinion. While Sunriver and nearby Mt. Bachelor offer plenty of winter activities, my skiing days are over due to my hip replacement.

I love Sunriver for summer sports like horseback riding, golf, biking, tennis and floating the Deschutes River in a kayak or canoe. After a full day of outdoor activities I can often be found in Sage Springs Spa. – we’re on vacation, afterall! The official name of the facility is actually Sage Springs Club Spa because there is a full fitness center above the spa, as well as an indoor pool.
 

"Sage Springs Spa"

Relax at Sage Springs Spa


 
Lodge Village rooms & suites
We’ve slept in places all around Sunriver – from private homes in Caldera Springs to lodge suites and rustic cluster cabins. Our most recent trip found us at the pet-friendly Lodge Village suites. Our two adult children stayed with the dog in the two-story suite while we enjoyed a romantic king room next door. We liked this travel arrangement because the rooms opened directly to a grassy lawn area from the wood deck. Families with young children might opt for these accommodations with two beds upstairs and a queen sleeper sofa downstairs. The kids liked that they could eat breakfast in the room as it offered a kitchen with fridge, microwave and dishwasher – wifi, too!

Sunriver Resort is a four diamond AAA award winner, carries the Green Key Eco-rating and is a member of Destination Hotels & Resorts. Our village suite rented for $316 and $221 for the king guestroom. Check the website for lodging specials and package deals.
 

"Sunriver Resort"

Pet-friendly & family-friendly lodging


 
"Sunriver Resort" room

Recently remodeled king room


 
"Sunriver Lodge" suite

Two-story suite from above


 
Insider Tip
Opened in 2012, Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic & Recreation Center (SHARC) offers 22 acres of indoor and outdoor pools, water slides, a lazy river, hot tubs, picnic and tot areas, in addition to a tubing hill. The center has a daily fee, but guests of the Lodge Village have complimentary access to the nearby outdoor swimming pool and hot tubs.
 
"Sunriver Lodge Village" pool

Lodge Village outdoor pool


 
For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown and follow @SunriverResort on Twitter.

Check-In Time: 4:00pm

Check-Out Time: 11:00am

If You Go:

Sunriver Resort (800) 801-8765
17600 Center Drive
Sunriver, OR 97707

Article written by and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Sunriver Resort. All opinions are my own.