By Mikal McLendon, Travel Correspondent
Sonoran Escape with Southwestern Charm and Mountain Views
Like the ducks and swans swimming in nearby Camelback Lake, some sunbathers have decided to seek relief in the Millennium Scottsdale Resort & Villas' swimming pool. Some wade underneath the pool's refreshing waterfall, located at the end of a 20-foot stream. Others huddle under the shade of cabanas, occasionally retrieving umbrellaed drinks from the Coyote Cabana Bar. From the pool deck, the nearby McDowell Mountains' jagged edges and earthy red hues provide an imposing backdrop, contrasting with the laid-back scene here at the Millennium Scottsdale Resort & Villas.
With rustic wall art and adobe accents, the resort's interior gives off a southwestern aesthetic. In superior rooms, a private balcony or patio provides views of either the pool area or the nearby lake and its pine-studded fairways. Within the spacious, 400-square-foot rooms, crimson bedding makes for a comfy spot to watching movies on the big-screen LCD TV.
After volleying on the tennis courts or climbing aboard complimentary paddleboats to test the pH of Camelback Lake, vacationers can grab a burger at the Millennium's Diamondbacks Bar & Grill. At Piñon Grill, couples gather on the lakeside patio with glasses of wine and plates of peanut-crusted halibut to savor the pink hues of the Sonoran sunset.
Scottsdale, Arizona: Challenging Fairways and Wild West Shops
Connected in the west to Phoenix, Scottsdale has crafted an identity separate from its neighbor, officially dubbing itself "The West's Most Western Town" in 1940s for its acres of cattle ranches and nearby desert. Visitors can still catch a glimpse of that Scottsdale at its Old Town, a historical district in downtown Scottsdale located about 3 miles from the resort. There, Wild West saloons and western-wear shops intermingle with jewelry stores and delis. At the Rusty Spur Saloon, the lively strumming of a rodeo band complements southwestern fare and the license plates, barrels, and assorted oddities that decorate the dining room.
Though the city has kept its western moniker, it's undeniable that Scottsdale has since evolved into a more sophisticated metropolis. Over in Old Town's art district, multiple galleries encircle tree-lined courtyards, where artists display everything from contemporary mixed-media pieces to Pueblo Indian pottery. On Thursday nights, the area's fountains and statues light up for the Art Walk.
Across Camelback Lake from Millennium Scottsdale Resort & Villas, McCormick Ranch Golf Club sits in a quiet residential area. The club's two courses were designed by architect Desmond Muirhead, with the tropically themed Palm course requiring careful shot placement thanks to water hazards and Godzilla sightings on more than half of its 18 holes.