Fine Design I recently vacationed at the property with my two young children and was duly impressed with the urbane villa accommodations — 497 on the property in all with a whopping 984 in total planned upon build-out.
A veritable home away from home, Marriott's Shadow Ridge villas have it all. Far surpassing even a high-end hotel room, the property boasts generous one-, two-, and three-bedroom floor plans ranging from 1,110 to 1,330 square feet. The two-bedroom, two-bath villas like the one I stayed in measures approximately 1,250 square feet and sleeps up to eight people. Some units have an additional guest suite available to increase the square footage and bed choices. A flexible "lock off" design allows the space to be turned into two separate units, each with its own living room, balcony or terrace, full kitchen in main villa, and kitchenette in lock-off. This considerate floor plan gives larger families, or teenagers who like their own space, added privacy.
Families vacationing in these villas will appreciate the decidedly well-appointed kitchens that feature granite countertops, custom cabinetry, tile flooring, and stainless-steel appliances. Kitchens are fully loaded with a dishwasher, microwave, pots and pans, serving dishes, cutlery, a refrigerator with ice maker, stove, table, and toaster. The roomy living and dining areas beckon you to come relax and unwind amid a contemporary style and high-end décor with natural materials and a color palate that complements the desertscape outside. The handsome master suites feature a king-size bed with sumptuous bedding, including a plush duvet and chenille bed scarf. Bathrooms have large soaking tubs, glass surround showers with dual heads, and creature comforts like hairdryers and magnification mirrors that extend from the wall.
Throughout the villa there are entertainment features, including multiple flat-panel TVs, Wi-Fi Internet accessibility, and DVD players. Other features include a washer and dryer and, in some units, gas fireplaces. Almost every villa offers a view of the mountains, fairways, or swimming pools amongst lush landscaping and tropical palm trees.
Kid-Friendly Features Outside of the sleek accommodations, Marriott's Shadow Ridge also offers an array of exciting amenities, including multiple whirlpool spas and heated swimming pools (with towel service and raft rental) dispersed throughout the expansive property, including one "quiet" pool that's unofficially for adults only. In addition to an abundance of lounge chairs surrounding each pool, cabanas are also available to shade you from the desert sun and generally enhance your poolside experience. At two of the pools children delight in "splash zones" with water sprayers and dumping buckets of various sorts. One of the pools has a beach entry play area great for smaller children, and another pool has a very large water slide feature.
But, the kid-centric fun does not stop there. Marriott's Shadow Ridge also boasts an Activity Center like none I've ever seen, complete with full video game arcade, ping pong table, two Wii stations, a movie theater, giant chess/checkers, billiards, shuffleboard, playground, and oversized board games. Kids also have a number of daily classes and endeavors to choose from at "Marriott's Activity Zone Experience," including Wii challenges, arts and crafts projects, scavenger hunts, and organized games (bingo anyone?). Library-style board game check-out and free book exchanges are also available. Outside, the action continues with multiple available basketball courts, tennis, sand volleyball and a mini putting green.
A nightly "Movie in the Park," one of my favorite experiences at the resort, offers relaxed family togetherness and a communal experience with other guests amid the fresh evening air. I was impressed to see the movies were relatively recent releases. Kids Night In/Parent's Night Out offers three-and-a half hours of supervised fun for $35 per child ages 4-12, including pizza and games, so that parents can enjoy some adult time together. All told, the breadth of amusement available at this resort is truly incredible. With such a wide range of options designed with both kids and parents in mind, it's no wonder that the Marriott Vacation Club was named one of the "top resort chains for family togetherness" by the Family Travel Forum.
Fitness-minded adults can partake in a complimentary yoga or other exercise class, water aerobics or power walking sessions. The more ambitious can try the vacation boot camp for full-body workouts. Tennis courts are available for reservation. A partner list is also available for anyone looking for a tennis game, or you can opt for a tennis workout session that includes drills and coaching. A 24-hour accessible fitness center offers an impressive assortment of cardio equipment, weights, a steam room, and sauna. A secondary fitness center on the other end of the property provides yet more cardio equipment (treadmills and elliptical), lower pound free weights, and a few nautilus machines. While there are no day spa facilities located on site, there are numerous upscale spas located nearby.
Other guest services at Marriott's Shadow Ridge include a concierge desk, newspaper delivery, safe deposit boxes at the front desk, valet dry cleaning, and an on-site ATM. There are also two banquet rooms available for events.
As if all of the on-property excitement were not enough, Marriott's Shadow Ridge is also located near a number of family-oriented Palm Desert attractions, including bowling, hiking, horseback riding, miniature golf, skiing, water parks, the Children's Discovery Museum, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the Palm Springs Air Museum, and fun centers with arcades and go karts.