Mystic Lake Casino Hotel – A Golf And So Much More Resort
By E. Nolan
When the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community purchased a course called Lone Pine in 2002, they didn’t do so just to own a golf course. They did it because they wanted to redesign that design into one of the best golf courses, not only in the Twin Cities, but in all of Minnesota.
That course, Lone Pine, was located in the southeast corner of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metroplex, between Prior Lake and Shakopee. At the time that area was best known for being home to Valleyfair. Valleyfair – Minnesota’s biggest and best amusement park – was the entertainment capital of the state. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community had some lofty ambitions there too. “What if,” they wondered, “we turned this facility into a golf, gaming and getaway oasis. Valleyfair would still be THE great escape for kids, and Mystic Lake Casino could be the great escape for adults.” (I imagine a room full of people high-fiving each other.)
The plan worked on a number of different levels. As it stands today, Mystic Lake Casino Hotel has a gorgeous golf course called “The Meadows” designed by Garrett Gill and Paul Miller. The course has won numerous awards over the years and became a perennial mainstay on every “Best in State” golf list from the nation’s preeminent publications. Architect Paul Miller called it, “The most exciting golf project I’ve ever been involved in,” and (in his opinion at least) they succeeded at building Minnesota’s greatest golf experience.
They paired that top tier course up with the entertainment palace that is Mystic Lake Casino Hotel – a lively hub of gaming, dining and celebrity act-ion (Jonas Brothers – September 11th) that is either the place to be most weekend nights. Sitting only 25 miles from the Mall of America, Target Center, Target Field, downtown Minneapolis, downtown St. Paul and the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, 15 miles from the Minnesota Zoo AND… only 5 miles from Valleyfair, it’s where you can go to have it all, and when you’re there it’s worth investigating what all they have to offer you onsite.
By description, Mystic Lake Casino Hotel would qualify as THE ONLY golf resort in the Twin Cities. Luxurious accommodations with modern amenities, the hotel offers 766 rooms and suites for a spectacular stay and play pairing. The Promenade Tower gives the overnight guest panoramic golf course views with sun bay seating areas and expansive layouts. The Lobby Towers also offer large rooms and suites, many of them with floor-to-ceiling windows. They have views worth flaunting at Mystic Lake Hotel and trust me… they flaunt them.
Mystic Lake’s Casino is always running promotions – a rotating calendar loaded with events (too many to list and describe individually). From blackjack to bingo to contests and prize drawings, participation is easy and open to anyone. In terms of the gaming floors, they are constantly rotating in new slot games, they’ve transformed standard Bingo into Bin-glow (wild and fun), and the pull tabs and blackjack action are always hot. You don’t have to be good at gaming or even know anything about most of the games to win and win you will… even if it’s just at relaxing and having fun.
I mentioned the Jonas Brothers are scheduled to visit in early September. Mystic Lake draws in the biggest of names from both the music and entertainment scenes. The post-COVID surge is coming and bands like 3 Doors Down, Old Dominion, Dwight Yoakam and REO Speedwagon are making appearances alongside comedic acts like Jeff Dunham, Chelsea Handler and Bill Burr, plus magical performers like Penn & Teller and Michael Carbonaro. Those acts and many more are already scheduled and selling out, and there is always seemingly someone performing for free, so just come and hang out whenever!
COVID provided a blessing within the curse for Mystic Lake, as they took the limited operational times as opportunities to test and retool their culinary fares. New menu items alongside long-time favorites now greet the hungry guest at Mystic Steakhouse (with top-tier cuts of USDA Prime beef, seafood and a stellar wine list) and Minnehaha Café (burgers and all-day breakfast, plus a great hot turkey sandwich) a collection of Promenade restaurants and bars, The Lobby Lounge, Sweet Temptations (ice cream, cookies and homemade treats) and (reopening soon) The Meadows Bar and Grille with their great views and American Grille classics.
You’re ready for more on the golf and I’m nearly ready to give it to you, but there’s one more treat at Mystic Lake you’ll be ready to explore when it reopens. Though temporarily closed (for obvious reasons) the Spa at Mystic Lake is a heavenly oasis within the general oasis. The serene setting combined with treatments like massages, exfoliation, facials and other body care packages soothes away stress and rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit. It’s a great and complementary activity to the golf, a welcomed decompression pre-or-post round or (for those who don’t golf) a much less stressful substitute for the (often) grueling game.
And speaking of that game… Golf can be grueling – that’s true. But, at a place like Mystic Lake, golf can also be so rewarding. The Meadows provides the player with a lovely walk in a park full of trees, streams, waterfalls and ponds. The scenery on both nines is so enjoyable you scarcely care if you lose count of lost balls. Every level of player can find a comfortable game here with five sets of tee boxes allowing golfers to choose a distance from 5,293 yards at the Gold Tees to 7,144 yards at the Black Tees.
The Meadows has state-of-the-art GPS systems on all golf carts, facilitating with yardages and hazard avoidance. Those hazards include a 2,500-foot stream, five waterfalls, 20 fountains, 80 bunkers and 13 holes in all that incorporate some form of water. As I alluded to earlier, regardless of how you score, you’re bound to enjoy the experience of playing here.
They get so many things right at The Meadows, from course maintenance (spectacular) to management. Newcomer PGA Golf Professional Mike Luckraft is one of my favorite people in the entire Minnesota Golf scene, and he knows how to operate a premier facility. “This area has been my home for a long time,” Mike states. “Mystic Lake Casino is a phenomenal home base for both the local and traveling golfer, not just because of our great course, but because of all the great golf surrounding us. Short of your own house, there is no better stay and play arrangement in the Twin Cities than The Meadows AND Mystic Lake Casino.”