Replicating an oasis amid the foothills of Pinnacle Peak set among the verges of Scottsdale proper, Four Seasons Scottsdale deftly succeeds in fusing with nature, even honoring its location by letting the desert set the tone. Wrapped around a pool, which happily is not a mirage, the resort invokes the solace of its surroundings. Guests can partake of various nature trails, which wind through its 40 acres, enjoy outdoor yoga beneath the endless sky, and play tennis on some sequestered, desert flora-ensconced courts. But by far the most profound place to spend time in is the Spa.
The Gifts of Nature
The Spa is an unpretentious sanctum, recently re-envisioned by spa veteran Jaana Roth who serves as Spa Manager. Wishing to draw from the surroundings but less predictably than most, Roth has researched and instituted novel house-made treatments, such as the Nopal Massage. While its name may conjure images of being spanked by prickly pear paddles, in fact, the soothing ritual plies the aloe-like innards (rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals) to hydrate and rebalance the skin via a rejuvenating, rhythmic massage. Highly recommended, this massage finishes with nopal water, or, if you prefer, a prickly pear margarita.
Curious to learn more about where Roth draws her inspiration, I sat down with her to find out. Here, a few words from Roth on where she finds inspiration.
The new Desert Bathing program includes a meditative hike among the cacti.
What inspires you the most about the terrain in Scottsdale?
I just recently moved to Arizona, and one of the aspects that drew me to this location are the giant saguaro cacti. I am in awe of them. Their stately, majestic arms, towering height, and ability to survive—and thrive—in a desert climate make them remarkable indicator plants of the Sonoran Desert. While I wouldn’t encourage hugging a cactus, we do want to continue to offer our guests immersive experiences to connect to the desert. With that in mind, our new Desert Bathing program includes a meditative hike among the cacti, drawing inspiration from the multitude of healthy benefits shown through forest bathing.
Can you tell more about your new menu?
In addition to Desert Bathing, which includes a Zen hike and aromatherapy blending bar experience, we’re adding a crystal healing massage, using locally sourced amethyst and quartzite. We’re also offering a special series of Yoga Nidra, Candlelight Yoga, and a Winter Solstice celebration.
How does the spa embody the Scottsdale experience?
Many of the treatments include desert botanicals, such as cactus paddles, desert sage, and prickly pear extract. The Spa building itself is just one part of the experience. We like to describe our Spa as “without walls,” as the health and healing go beyond the facility itself. Holistic wellness includes our outdoor yoga and fitness classes, where guests can breathe in the fresh desert air and be inspired by the flora and fauna of our natural setting in the high Sonoran Desert. Prior to Covid, we were also able to offer mini treatments poolside, and in the comfort of a guest’s spacious casita patio. We hope to return to these offerings, truly embracing the al fresco living and healing for which Scottsdale is known.
Becca Hensley is Editor at Large for Insider's Guide to Spas. Based in Austin, she writes regularly about travel and spas. She believes a good story draws you in like laughter in a crowded room, and challenges you to do it justice. Her work appears regularly in Austin Monthly, Travel Channel, Toronto Star and National Geographic Traveler.