I recently got the opportunity to spend the evening at a property I admittedly wasn’t very familiar with. I had driven past the Scottsdale Resort & Conference Center (edit: now The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch) countless times on McCormick Parkway, but had never explored the grounds. But from the moment we drove up the palm tree-lined lane to welcoming lobby where we’d be greeted by a smiling staff, it was easy to see why term “hidden gem” is used to describe the resort.

Every staff member we came across couldn’t have been more friendly and accommodating. From the reception desk to room service to the servers at Sangria’s Lounge and Palm Court, everyone greeted us with a welcoming smile. The property is a short drive off the busy Scottsdale Road and right on McCormick Parkway, yet the resort maintains a sense of seclusion, with vine-covered walls, bubbling fountains and quiet walkways.
Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center entrance

Our room was cozy with warm, tasteful Southwestern decor. We stayed in a room on the west side of the property which offered a view of the setting sun casting a glow over nearby mountains and McCormick Ranch Golf Club, which borders the resort.

Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center view from room

The morning view from our room, overlooking the 18th hole at McCormick Ranch Golf Club’s Pine Course

Before heading to our dinner reservation at Palm Court, we stopped downstairs at Sangria’s Lounge for a quick game of pool and a drink. The ladies working were attentive and happy to help, and it made for a nice stop to unwind before dinner.

The highlight of the evening was the exquisite dinner at Palm Court. I had not dined there before, or heard much about it, but it’s now near the top of my list of favorite places in town. Every bit of food that came to the table was full of flavor and cooked to perfection. The seared duck breast and farm-raised chicken entrees were nicely complemented with sides of Brussels sprouts and parmesan risotta. The apple crisp with butter pecan gelato was a perfectly sweet ending to the meal. Our server, Sasha, was a delight to chat with and helpful in guiding us through the menu.

Palm Court Scottsdale

Duck and dessert at Palm Court

As mentioned, the term “hidden gem” came to mind shortly after arriving at the resort. A search of reviews of the resort results in no less than two mentions of the same descriptor. I started to tell a friend of mine this past weekend, “I went to this great restaurant at the Scottsdale Resort & Conference Center…,” but he interrupted me with – I kid you not – “Oh, Palm Court? Love it. It’s a hidden gem.”

The resort is conveniently located to a number of local attractions. The dining and shopping of Old Town Scottsdale, the hiking trails of Camelback Mountain, and McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park are all nearby. Resort guests also receive preferred pricing and tee times at the adjacent McCormick Ranch Golf Club‘s two courses.
Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center pool

The resort is also just an eight-minute drive from Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the Cactus League home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies, and a 10-minute drive to Scottsdale Stadium and the San Francisco Giants. Check out the resort’s Spring Training package here.

Disclosure: Dinner and accommodations were complimentary, courtesy of the resort, but the opinions are my own.