Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Spring Break in Scottsdale!

After a cold and wet winter, we planned this year's family spring break to somewhere warm and sunny- Arizona! Scottsdale has been our choice for a few breaks as it's just under two hours by plane from San Jose Airport. This year the boy's school breaks coincided with Max's 50th birthday, so it worked out perfectly as a little treat for him too.

The highlight of our Scottsdale trips have always been the hikes as we love the beauty of blooming cactus and desert flowers. This time we chose to stay at The Four Seasons at Troon North as it's right at the base of the mountains and close to one of our favorite hikes, McDowell Preserve.  Nestled between beautiful hills with the the most amazing plants and flowers, the resort feels like a sanctuary and the hummingbirds and wild baby bunnies add to the feeling.

Something about being in the Sonoran desert was peaceful and super relaxing and what we all needed- the kids time away from school, to just chill and for all of us to be together a bit. 

I could not take enough pictures each morning and evening of the flowers and views.

The adobe style architecture was cool too.

As with any Four Seasons, details and service are their strong points and everything at this resort was lovely. 

Our Casita room was spacious enough for the four of us with a fireplace, a deck with pretty views of the mountains and a spacious bathroom. What I especially dig at The Four Seasons are the huge closets where you can pile in everyone's luggage and unpack on the open shelves. So nice not to trip over your things (and giant teenage boy shoes.)

Loved our deck for morning coffee and bird-watching.

The Desert Bloom toiletries were custom made for the hotel by Lather. I was crazy about the all-natural lotion and shampoo. They smelled divine and my hair was not a frizzy mess as it sometimes gets traveling.

Breakfast through dinner is offered at the Proof American Cantina which is quite cute. Kids are even welcome in the bar area which has a shuffleboard. I loved the Superfood Salad and Seared Salmon though my boys liked the pretzel knots with spicy cheese, the burgers and the chicken and waffles. The breakfast menu is large and offers smoothies, huevos rancheros, masa cakes, acai bowls and more traditional choices, so you can be healthy or you can indulge!
 Alfresco all the time in Arizona!

Mornings there is a small complimentary coffee bar and cappuccino machine set up in the Onyx Bar. It's a cozy spot to get coffee and small muffin if you are waiting for your kids to wake up like we were. You can grab the morning news on the tv or do a little work on a laptop. There is a fireplace in the main lobby here too which has comfy seating areas and a view of the surrounding mountains.

 Sundowners at the Onyx Bar are a must here, which has the best sunset in Scottsdale...

Talevera is their fancier steakhouse and has alfresco dining and more views. The Saguaro Blossom is a casual poolside cafe with drinks, and light bites and super fresh lunch stuff. The quesadillas and bento box with hummus and veggies were our favorites. There is a kid's menu too. The food at the resort was seriously excellent.

We dedicated day one to relaxing by the pool and reading our books, another to a big hike and our last day checking out Old Town Scottsdale and the rest of the city. 

Our hike at McDowell Preserve was was a trail around a mountain and took about two hours. We did the 4.5 mile Gateway Loop on the coolest day of our trip.  Plan to go very early to beat the heat, bring loads of water, sunscreen and good shoes.

The views are incredible. There are many different trail options at McDowell! Some for the non-hikers that are paved too.

At The Four Seasons there's a daily guided hike for hotel guests through the trails of Pinnacle Peak, another beautiful nature area, adjacent to the hotel. For those who want a bigger challenge, Camelback Mountain is also nearby in Phoenix. We did Camelback last visit and it involves strenuous climbing -some bouldering and what they call rock scrambling, but fantastic views if you get to the summit. This little blog is a good description of what to expect at Camelback if you decide to try it.

Scottsdale is filled with restaurants. So many options! After exploring Old Town we went to an open -air shopping/dining destination called Kierland Commons. It was hard to choose where to dine, all looked pretty and all with outdoor seating. They had a few shops we don't have near us like Sundance and Arhaus, so I checked those out after dinner. Fun evening spot to people watch and wander around.

My kids requested dinner at Tommy Bahamas which was very good and also really fun!

Not milkshakes- Pina Coladas!

Old Town Scottsdale is charming with an Old West vibe. There's turquoise, cactus and cowboy hats to be had and other uniquely Southwest souvenirs to take back home. You can even bring back a cactus!! Stores will pack it for the flight or ship to you. The Mexican Imports shop and Old Town Gypsy, are places I always make a visit to.  Old Town Gypsy stocks super cute caftans, cover-ups, boho-inspired blouses and lounging clothes along with pretty scarves, jewelry, flip-flops, and totes.

Another fun stop is the Sugar Bowl, which harkens back to soda-fountains of yesteryear with it's pink decor and menu. This is the place to get your tuna melt, BLTs, root beer float, sherbets and sundaes. Just across from Sugar Bowl is a very good coal-fired pizza spot, Grimaldis.

Scottsdale is also home to Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's desert home and design lab. Built in a hill with a fantastic view, tours are given all day and some evenings. This is something I would love to do on our next trip. 

I hope your enjoyed this little overview of Scottsdale. Spring, fall and winter are gorgeous times to go, but you can also go inexpensively in the summer months if you like warmer temperatures!


 I'd love if you'd share your Arizona travel tips in the comments below!

Thanks for coming along!


Links for this trip - The Four Seasons at Troon North

All Photos NorthernCal Style.
This was not a sponsored stay or post and all opinions are my own as always.


  1. I love PHoenix - dont' know if i could live there but Camelback was one of my top 10 holiday memories. I climbed that thing too and it was so much harder that it looked from the pool! You are so lucky to be able to fly a few hours without jetlag to visit xx

    1. Naomi, Too funny...Yes from the pool, much nicer! It's like crazy hard I think that climb. It's nice to be close to AZ though I'd like to be closer to Paris as you are! xo

  2. I find it FUNNY that COULDA SHOULDA WOULDA knows about PHOENIX...........than again she does get around!I have neighbors that just moved there so hopefully I can POP down from time to their BOYS are YOUNG and I have been TAGGED their FairyGodmother!XX

    1. I know right? She's a world traveler. You'll be a great fairy godmother! They are so lucky. xo

  3. This is my dream spring break spot! I wonder how long the flight is from Toronto, I'll have to check. We've had two vacations this year and they've both been chilly, it was cold in South Carolina, and it was chilly in Italy. I was saved by advice from you and Contessa in Italy, you suggested a raincoat and Contessa suggested two pairs of pants, you were both completely right!
    I just love a Four Seasons Hotel (or Quatre Saisons as I call it) the service is amazing and every detail is looked after. You can always count on their restaurants for terrific food too.
    My gosh your boys are getting grown-up! And Happy Birthday to your husband, he looks very happy in these photos! XX

    1. Dani, I was loving your photos of Italy. I am sorry Italy was chilly. Glad you had your raincoats. I will pack mine too for July. Who knows with this crazy weather.I cannot wait until you blog about it. I hope you do.

      We haven't has good vacation luck this year either. Tahoe was too snowy to ski-avalanche warnings. Arizona was also cool, only warm on one day which is not normal! It was good for hiking though.

      I love quatre saisons!! I have to use that. The boys have grown tons this year. I live among giants!! This was a good chance for Max to relax which was nice. xo

  4. Gorgeous photos and sunsets! Also agree Camelback was harder than it looked... next time going for Pinnacle. Did you bring back a cactus?? ; )

    1. Thanks so much. I agree Pinnacle seems beautiful too! We bought cool cactus bowls last time for the boys and they lasted a year or so! :)

  5. Fun post, Kim! Now I want to make a reservation for Scottsdale asap! I really enjoy going down there anytime of the year and I love the warm evenings! l love the heat and beauty of the desert and the Fours Seasons in Troon North is gorgeous! You really feel like you are getting away from it all staying out there! April xo

    1. April, you inspired me with your post last time. I should link to it! I know you had the Onyx bar on your blog! Yes, I agree the desert can be so relaxing and just good for the soul, especially when not extreme temps! I always want to go back! xx

  6. Looks like the fam had a fun trip! Beautiful photos Kim!

  7. It looks gorgeous, I can just feel the desert light in your photos. How in to go away as a family and celebrate your husband's birthday!

  8. I have not been there in years. You have me thinking!!

  9. Love this post Kim and I hadn't been to AZ in over 10 years and forgot how beautiful it is there. Especially Scottsdale, eventhough I was only there a few hours, the scenery and sunshine is so relaxing. Next time we will have to do more hiking and great tips about where to stay at that the rooms were so big there. Love that bright yellow purse and it's so funny you mention your hair not being frizzy there. I feel like I had the best hair in AZ. I barely had to style it and it stayed the way I wanted all day and never got frizzy, greasy or anything. I feel like the air is natural dry shampoo haha. Have a great weekend!