The Millennium Resort has golf, lake, mountains and prickly pear margaritas

By Tim McDonald, Contributor

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - If you're looking to play Western-style golf, eat some ribs at a "cowboy cookout" or just lay around the pool drinking prickly pear margaritas while staring at water and mountains, you might want to check out -- and check into -- the Millennium Resort Scottsdale McCormick Ranch.

The resort advertises itself as Scottsdale's "only lakeside boutique resort." The lake is manmade but a higher power fashioned the mountains that loom over the resort -- both the McDowell and Camelback Mountains.

"Our claim to fame is the view of the lake and mountains," Tom Wait, the resort's director of sales and marketing, said.

The resort has been around for about a quarter century, ancient by the standards of this booming Arizona town, and caters to small groups of hard-core golfers.

"We're a smaller resort," Wait said. "We aren't equipped to feed 800 people, but than can work to your advantage. We do a great job with smaller groups."

The resort has 176 units: 125 rooms and 51 two- and three-bedroom villas. The two-bedroom villas are 1,400 square feet, while the three bedrooms are 2,200 square feet.

"That's a lot bigger than anything anybody else selling around here has to offer," Wait said. "You could have six guys here and a couple more in the hotel, and you're not going to be stepping all over each other."

The villas, some of which are lakeside, are all individually owned and mostly decorated in a Southwestern motif -- all with personal touches, like fireplaces in the master bedrooms.

The Millennium's other claim to fame is its location: close to the heart of Scottsdale, it offers golfers quick and easy access to the Phoenix area's multitude of golf courses.

"There are 50 to 60 golf courses close by," Wait said. "With groups of four to 24 golfers, we can offer a product that, on a per-person basis, is very economical. The price is dependent on the quality of golf - from $50 on a municipal course to $275 at the TPC. Four years ago, the golf courses were in the driver's seat. Now, there is substantial value. Our real goal is to be the best in the market for a golf package."

There are two courses just across the lake from the resort, with which the resort has an affiliation. You might want to play these two courses, the Palm and Pine courses at the McCormick Ranch Golf Club, after you've had your fill of rough-and-tumble desert golf.

The two courses are polar opposites of desert golf: oases in the desert, you might say, with lush fairways, trees and an abundance of water. The Palm has water on 10 holes and a plethora of palm trees. The Pine is a bit more narrow and, as the name suggests, has more pines and thus is more open.

Designed by Desmond Muirhead and opened in 1972, both courses underwent renovation recently, with new greens, sand traps and bridges.

Stay and play

The advantage to smaller, boutique hotels such as the Millennium over other lodging, like condos, is that for an equivalent amount of space, visitors also have the advantage of a front desk, room service and bars and restaurants on the grounds. There is also the Lakeside Pavilion overlooking Camelback Lake.

The Millennium is 20 minutes from Sky Harbor Airport and five minutes from Scottsdale City Center.

The villas also come equipped with gas fireplaces, cable TV, and private patios with barbecue grills. There are fully equipped kitchens, laundry facilities and housekeeping, and villa guests have room service, concierge services and access to the nearby Mist Spa. Rooms are equipped with high-speed Internet access.

The resort plans to renovate its guest rooms in the next 12 to 18 months.

Dining in

The Millennium has two restaurants, the Pinion Grill, which serves Southwestern cuisine, and Diamondbacks, which offers more casual fare and drinks such as the Kokopelli Kolada and peach coladas.

Off course

The Millennium staff can arrange horseback riding, desert jeep tours, or "cowboy cookouts."

For non-golfers, there are pedal boats, kayaks, canoes and sailboats on the lake, as well as a pool-side bar and hot tub.

Area attractions include: Taliesin West, the home of world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright; the Desert Botanical Garden, with more than 15,000 plants; the Heard Museum, one of the country's most comprehensive collections of Native American art and anthropology; Old Town Scottsdale and the Phoenix Zoo.

The resort also offers three lighted tennis courts, with a $7 daily resort fee, including rackets and balls, a volleyball court, bicycles and a small fitness room.


From Sky
Harbor Airport: exit the airport onto 202 east bound, take 202 to 101 North. Take 101 North to the Indian Bend exit, turn left off exit and proceed to Scottsdale Road. Turn right on Scottsdale road - the resort is on the right, just past stop light on Cheney Road.

Tim McDonaldTim McDonald, Contributor

Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

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