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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014

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In Travel & Visitors Guide Reviews

Looking out from the veranda next to the lobby.

In Travel & Visitors Guide Reviews

The resort is literally carved into the mountain.

In Travel & Visitors Guide Reviews

The view from our enclosed porch.

One last look into Spring Training luxury, Four Seasons style


Editor's note: Bill Rouleau and Paul Jonas joined OnMilwaukee.com publisher Andy Tarnoff in Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training this year. They arrived a few days before Andy, taking that time to golf some of the area's best courses (that will be featured during OnMilwaukee.com Travel Week in May) and stay in one of Arizona's finest hotels. Here's Bill's story of his experience at the Acacia Restaurant Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale, the most stunning property this Milwaukeean has ever visited ...

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. -- When we sheepishly pulled up to the Four Seasons entrance in our rented Nissan, we were immediately greeted by the doorman. He quickly dispatched a bellhop from the phalanx of employees outside the lobby, who grabbed our bags and a valet to park our car. As I walked through the lobby, feeling rather out of my element, I realized that it was going to be difficult for me to do a review of such an amazing place without touching on issues of class.

The guest receptionist greeted me warmly in lightly accented English, and after we took care of all the pertinent details asked for the proper pronunciation of my name, which was then presumably phonetically entered into their database.

Our room was on a second story walk-up. Paul and I just started giggling when we opened the door. I later learned that this was their standard Casita room, but what stood before us was the greatest hotel room either of us had stepped foot in. Cool stone floors greeted our golf weary feet and led to a large common room.

Immediately to the right were double doors leading to a full bathroom. And by full, I mean you could sleep a family of four in it. A wall length vanity perched above double sinks flanked a large bath and a glass enclosed walk-in shower. Monogrammed terrycloth robes hung on the wall adjacent to the waterworks. Behind a single door in this room was the toilet, and on the wall of the toilet was a telephone (which always creeps me out a little, but I'm guessing that Elvis would've really appreciated this feature).

Beyond the bathroom, just down the hall was a bar, fully stocked with goodies of both alcoholic and snack nature as well as plentiful soft drinks and clean water, highball and Tom Collins glasses. Real glass glasses! Next to the bar was a full size walk in closet containing an extra table, iron / ironing board, valuables safe and loose wooden hangars. The trust felt so nice, staying in an actual establishment that didn't nail every single thing down.

All of this led to the great room, a king-size bed was offset by a large chest of drawers capped with a 32" flat screen television. They also provided an I-Home, one of my current favorite gadgets. I recently picked one up for my own home use because it allows you to wake up to the song of your choosing while charging your iPod overnight. Very cool, and here it was just like home. The corner of the room was dominated by a fireplace that was beautiful, but quite excessive in the 80 degree weather. Much to our homophobic relief, a pull out couch sat across from a couple of well-stuffed chairs and a desk/media center.

For me though, the real treat was the enclosed porch, which overlooked our own private vista. Scrub brush and multihued fauna interspersed with the scree and flanked the Saguaro cactus and massive boulders the color of rust. Two of the most comfortable chaise lounge style chairs were aligned next to a weathered wooden table. Patio furniture or not, this stuff was more comfortable than most of my own furniture at home, and that of my less bohemian and more well to do friends' sofas, as well.

That sums up the physical reality of the Four Seasons, but the rest of the weekend was a journey into a place I do not enter very often -- the world of the extremely well heeled. Both Paul and I have spent most of our professional careers in the service and retail industry, and Paul plays in a very well-traveled local band (the 5 Card Studs) that is no stranger to Milwaukee's higher-end hotels. So it was with a sympathetic eye that we noted how the Four Seasons corporate philosophy leaves no stone unturned when it comes to customer service.

To put it mildly, they go the extra yard. If you are a dedicated hedonist, this is your home. As Paul observed, there is no "NO" in the vocabulary of the Four Seasons staff.

It seemed that every employee we encountered was at least bilingual and worldly. Every member of their staff looked us in the eye, and many greeted us by name, which is a little unnerving at first, if like me, you are more used to staying at the Econolodge. When I called the front desk , I heard, "Good afternoon, Mr Rouleau." When the valet pulled our car around, "Do you need directions Mr. Rouleau?"

Lost in thought, walking along the breathtakingly beautiful pathways, viewing more species of cacti than I have ever seen -- even at the Domes -- my reverie was interrupted by the well meaning employee asking if I needed an ice water or anything else. Not sycophantic, but professional and attentive to the nth degree.

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