by Michelle McDermott

When I made initial plans to stay at the Four Seasons Resort in Scottsdale, I never for a moment would have
thought that the surrounding Sonoran Desert and the
craggy precipices of Pinnacle Peak would envelop me in
a warm blanket of restoration and rejuvenation.

Let me elaborate. Earlier that day, I reluctantly and
petulantly kept my appointment at the dermatologist
for a biopsy on my face. Within 5 minutes of sitting
in his office, I knew that things were not about to go
my way. Skin cancer removal procedures were discussed
and through the flowing tears, I knew that this
appointment was just a formality.

On arrival back home, I decided to escape the world
and life’s harsh realities and retire to my bed. Disappearing into the darkness of my new situation, I
could hear my mother and long suffering husband
padding about in silence, not knowing what to say or
do. Just as soon as the darkness had descended on me,
I remembered I had a rather luxurious appointment to
keep as a guest of the Four Seasons Resort!

With a new strength of spirit, I got up, re-applied my
make-up around the rather large plaster on my face and
summoned my Mum to pack her case! I was not about to
miss out on a December night in the Desert!

Driving along Happy Valley Road and admiring the
multi-million dollar homes set into the base of the
mountains, the sky turned tricks with a magical mix of
pinks blended with the frosty hue of a winter’s sky.

It really did feel like ‘December in the Desert.’ As
we turned into the well hidden entrance to the resort, soft, twinkling lights enveloped the rows of mature
saguaro cacti, and we were soon ushered into the
warmth of the reception area with a cup of steaming
hot apple cider. I knew things could only get better.

Situated on 127 acres of land formerly owned by cereal
heiress Lois Kellogg Maury, the Four Seasons has been
exceptional at blending the resort with the
surrounding desert. The 210 rooms and suites melt into
the foothills of Pinnacle Peak, and designed with
typical Southwestern flair, the rooms are warm,
spacious and comfortable.

As the winter nighttime
sky turned dark, the city of Phoenix below switched on
its city lights and we breathed in the wood smoke air
from the privacy of our balcony.

Dinner had been arranged for us at Acacia, and as we
nestled down at our table in front of the fireplace,
the Epicurean show began, as serving after serving of
the finest food was laid out in front of us: chilled
jumbo tiger prawns and Lobster Louis, roasted Colorado
rack of lamb, 8 oz. Alaskan King Salmon with the most
delicious cauliflower gratinee, champagne and caviar
beurre blanc, all accompanied of course with lashings
and lashings of Californian Chardonnay.

Sitting there, enjoying the feast, I contemplated how
life, in the space of only one day, can be so shocking
in its ability to put us on a roller coaster of
emotions. As I pulled the sheets of finest cotton
over my head for the second time that day, I knew that
the combination of Four Seasons’ expertise and the
desert landscape had helped to restore and rejuvenate
my fragile soul.

Next morning, as the rising sun chipped off the jagged
rocks of Pinnacle Peak, I crept out quietly to keep
yet another appointment, my Refreshing Break at the
Spa. Sinking into the gigantic balneotherapy bath, I
was left to soak, relax and contemplate for a full 30

Reflecting on the day before, I realised
that our spirit is an important part of recovery, and
that care of the body and mind go hand in hand in
order to ensure optimal health. As my therapist
skillfully worked on my body, releasing the stress
points and allowing the lymphatic system to do its
work, I emerged from the treatment room feeling fuzzy,
warm and sleepy.

Rested, relaxed and restored, I was ready, once again,
to face the challenges of my new situation.

Author Health Update!

Recent research, particularly from Australia, is
blaming the chemicals in the sunscreen for causing the
rising incidences of skin cancer. We have all been
told to cover up and protect ourselves from the
dangers of the sun, but the more I find out on the
subject, the more astonished I become.

After receiving Mohs surgery to eradicate the cancer on my
face, I was left wondering what should I do? Then I
made the discovery of the benefits of extra virgin
coconut oil. In the tropics, it is used as a natural
sunscreen, so now, this is what I put on my skin,
accompanied by ‘Aubrey Organics’ Natural Sun SPF 25.

I am also in the care of a Naturopathic MD and am having
a series of colonic hydrpotherapies. A Rolfer is also
working on my body and we are having some great
success with that!

Another important discovery, which
took me some time to get my head around, was ‘taking
the sun.’ This feels a bit strange at first, as your
natural instinct is to avoid the so-called harmful
rays, so each morning I sit outside, covered in
coconut oil and I gradually increase my sun exposure
at the safest time of the morning.

This helps to
build up the supply of vitamin D in the body.

Growing up in Scotland, I was never considered to be a
sun worshiper. I went to a tanning salon once and
hated it!

It’s all a bit of a mystery to me! The
most important thing I have learned from this
experience is that I am 100% responsible for my
healthcare and the decisions I make.

The information is out there!

From the food we eat to the way we cook it, from the
toxins we are exposed to, it’s up to us to make
intelligent choices. The microwave is now banned in
my house, the kitchen is stocked with organically
grown food, and there is not a chemical in sight—only a huge container of vinegar to clean with!

A positive attitude, a loving family and continuing on
with my travel writing keeps the fear away!

For More Information

Four Seasons Resort

Scottsdale at Troon North

10600 E. Crescent Moon Drive

Scottsdale, Arizona 85262 U.S.A.

Tel: 480.515.5700


Rated among “Top 50 Reorts in the United States” by
2005/2006 Zagat Survey

Recipient of AAA Five Diamond Award for 2006, 2005,
2004, 2003,2002

Named among Travel + Leisure’s “T+L 500: The Best
Hotels in the World” for 2006

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