One last look into Spring Training luxury, Four Seasons style
Yet, I found it difficult to get used to. I like to think of myself as pretty self sufficient, and am slightly uncomfortable being waited on. I would cringe a little on the inside watching the valets RUN to get cars or car keys from patrons. I wanted to say, " Bro, slow down, I'm on vacation, there's no hurry."
But that is my own issue.
Tipping became another great mystery to both Paul and me. We have both bartended for many years and know the importance of tips in a gratuity-based industry. We were both out of our element in this regard. It seems that it is self evident that valets and bellhops get tipped, but do you tip the woman that comes in to offer turn down service, what about the cabana boy? The man who brings you a bottle of water while you are contemplating the vast desert floor from above? Eventually, I thought to myself, "What would Tom Cruise do?" and remembered that line from Risky Business. You know the one, "Sometimes you just gotta say what the f**k" and we just started tipping everybody.
After that, it was easy sailing. As Paul wryly observed, there was great irony in patronizing an establishment that would never hire either of us in any capacity.
Our stay fell during a time of amazing weather, too. The Arizona climate was cooperative with its omnipresent canopy of brilliant cerulean skies which gave way to an amazingly bright and full moon. In the distance the Scottsdale lights glimmered orange and red and blue across the desert floor as far as the eye could see, set in between the mountain peaks which stood guard glowing in the moonlight above them.
The piece of land that this hotel was built on was formerly a barren piece of mountainous wasteland, but someone in the Four Seasons Empire had the foresight to imagine how truly fantastical this area could become and made this vision a reality. The smell of desert blossoms and the night mesquite fires wafted through the dry and cool air, making the entire grounds heady and extremely romantic. It made me miss my girlfriend Kate terribly.
Our early tee times caught up with me and I fell asleep watching the NCAA tournament and was still too groggy to take part in one of the many hotel events of the day, which was an astronomy walk and talk. That became my biggest regret of the stay. But Paul and I both regrouped later in the evening at the Onyx bar. Not much action on Easter weekend but we hung out with the bartender, Peter, an émigré from Prague and let him educate us about Scottsdale nightlife over a savory selection of nuts and snacks.
The bar, as with everything else at the Four Seasons, was tasteful and impressive. The back and front of the bar frame were pieces of cut and polished onyx which when backlit, shone through in amber, gold and caramel bands of color. The bar, itself, was a single plank of highly-polished and varnished mesquite wood. The Onyx opened up into a larger room with plush chairs surrounding tables opposed to banquettes which led around a corner to their amazing patio restaurant, Saguaro Blossom.
As to be expected in such an environment, drinks were not cheap, but the pours were strong. In my case, as I was drinking bubbly, they were also plentiful, and Peter offered me "top-offs." That's an offer I can never refuse.
After a kingly night's sleep, we decided to find our legs, so to speak. The consensus between us was that it would be foolish to neglect exploring all of the amenities that were offered and to dive headfirst into the pleasure. If you aren't a golf aficionado, you may find this hard to believe, but 72 holes of golf in three days after a four month layoff can leave you with aching hands, feet, skin and back, and we were no exception to this rule. I headed for the spa area, which was located beneath the main building set back from a grass courtyard and reflecting pool. Paul headed poolside and camped out at the adults-only pool, separated from the family friendly pool by half a level. Each pool was ringed by chaise lounges covered with plush beach towels and these were in turn surrounded by taupe cabanas.
As far as I'm concerned, pampering in my spartan life consists of the occasional back scratch I can con Kate into giving me and the sub $10 hot towel treatment I get after my haircuts at Jose's barbershop here in town -- so I was paralyzed by the seemingly endless menu of spa treatments available. There was "signature service" with hot rocks and nectar facials and golfers massage and reflexology, aromatherapy and mud masks.
There offered Swedish and shiatsu and Thai massages and a variety of Indian based treatments and wraps that I couldn't pronounce properly. In short, as with everything at the Four Seasons, there were more options available to a guest than anyone could possibly have the time for.
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