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Beijing Is Better Late Than Never at the 11th Annual Music Festival
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Splurging in Scottsdale
September 30, 2008 at 11:28AM by Adam H. Graham |  comments

Four Seasons Troon North ScottsdaleWall Street may be in turmoil, but stylish Scottsdale -- never short on lux -- is spending money on itself like nobody’s business. The upgrade? A new $3.5 billion development project that’s given the city a royal flush of new eateries, bars, hotels and boutiques and spiffed up the surrounding area (not that it was ever unkempt) in ways the founding townsfolk of this former sheep-herding town would never have imagined.

Additions include a new W Hotel (with Sushi Roko and Bliss Spa), an extensive $325 million Spanish-themed Intercontinental Montelucia Hotel (still under construction), a new full moon holistic program at Boulders Resort’s Golden Door Spa and 13 new multi-million dollar private rentable villas run by Bella Palazzo. Big budgeted rehabs are in season too. An exhaustive $17.5 million rehab of the Four Seasons Troon North, a bright new bar/lounge (Edge) at the Sanctuary Camelback, a $50 million overhaul of Camelback Inn (including a new BLT Steak to come in recent months), and fancy new renovated suites at the Phoenician and Royal Palms have been added to the fray.

But the upgrades aren’t limited to places requiring checking in and out. Development has finally moved beyond the tourist path with the Southbridge and Scottsdale Waterfront development projects, two big budgeted concepts of note that have made the resort-stuffed town a bit more resident friendly. The latter project, costing $250 million, has brought women’s boutiques like Estilo, and a handful of higher-end chains stores (think Sur Le Table) to a formerly derelict stretch along the ancient Arizona irrigation canal. The $41 million Southbridge project, headed by developer Fred Unger, is located along the south bank of the canal, and marked by a slew of new chic casual eateries like Foodbar, Estate House, and Digestif (run by Peter Kasperski of Cowboy Ciao and Kazimierz World Wine Bar fame). Another newcomer, Canal, has added fashion shows to their weekend brunches, making them a guaranteed hit among the golfers’ daughters and wives.

I personally recommend dropping your bags off at the Four Seasons Troon North (like I did on a recent visit), on the outskirts of town in a pristine 4,000-acre desert preserve. Unlike some of the area’s theme-y resorts, the 210 refurbished casitas -- led by Dallas-based Paul Duesing Partners -- blend seamlessly into the desert.

Have the concierge arrange a guided hike with local guide partner Arizona Outback Adventures, run by Seth Heald, a dashing but soft-spoken herpetologist, and his equally charming team of guides, all eager to show you the beauty of the desert on a customized hike. Look for desert hares, sororo cacti and vermillion palo verde trees along your trek. The tranquil property has also recently added a lovely open-air restaurant, Talavara, where guests are offered spectacular views of the city while dining on Chef Mel Mecina’s soft pumpkin soufflés, juicy buffalo tenderloins and fresh heirloom tomatoes topped with Burrata cheese, all under a circling swirl of mysterious ghost-white nighthawks who nest in the cliffs nearby. And not to worry if the recent economic woes have hit you hard. Troon is one of the chain’s most affordable Four Seasons properties, at $349/night, plus a “third night free special” running through the autumn, which is cheap enough to put a smile on even the most forlorn Wall Street trader’s face.

Adam H. Graham is a contributing writer for this blog; his work also frequently appears in Town & Country Travel, both in the magazine and online.
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Beijing Is Better Late Than Never at the 11th Annual Music Festival
Beijing Is Better Late Than Never at the 11th Annual Music Festival
Town & Country Travels Home
Luxury Train Travel: Ten Trips That Prove It's the Journey, Not the Destination
Luxury Train Travel: Ten Trips That Prove It's the Journey, Not the Destination
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