We live only an hour away from the Palm Springs area, so over the years we have been out to the Shadow Ridge resort many times, either on our own vacations or to visit family and friends vacationing there. Most recently, my parents spent a week at the Villages in May while my husband, my teenage son and I spent a weekend at the Enclaves in August. This review is for those readers who might be curious about the differences between the two sections of the Shadow Ridge resort.
Shadow Ridge reminds me of a large, backwards boot. At the top of the property is the check-in lobby which has a Marketplace, and the clubhouse which has a golf shop, a restaurant and a fitness center. The Villages is comprised of twenty-one buildings which run down the shaft of the boot and over to the heel. The Enclaves is comprised of three buildings all by themselves at the toe of the boot. Although shuttles run regularly throughout the resort, it is a very long walk from the Enclaves to the Marketplace if you want Starbucks coffee in the morning. Once, a housekeeping shuttle was kind enough to take us up to the lobby, but we ended up walking the entire way back to our room in the August heat.
Architecture and Landscaping
The buildings of the Villages have the ever popular California Spanish-style architecture with lots of arches and red tile roofs. The Enclaves section has a much more southwest feel with flat roof, pueblo-style buildings.
Man-made lakes and fairways surround the Villages, so even in the middle of the Palm Springs desert, the views from the condos are lush and pastoral with ducks waddling up to the patios and rabbits nibbling on the evening grass. The buildings of the Enclaves surround a very large pool complex, so most of the rooms view the swimming area. In the front of the Enclaves there is desert landscaping, with drought tolerant plants and several fountains, which adds to this section's southwestern feel.
The Chuckwalla pool is located half-way down the boot, where the main street splits into two; thus, the pool complex is centrally located in the Villages although none of the buildings directly overlook the pool. This area includes a large family pool with water slide, a baby pool, a water play area with squirters and fountains, a bar and grill which serves great fries and smoothies, a smaller lounge pool, jacuzzis, and first come-first served cabanas with misters. Next to the pool complex is the Mirage activity center with a small movie theater showing kids movies throughout the day. At the activity center you can make a reservation to use the ping-pong table, buy snowcones, or paint ceramics (for a fee). Needless to say, the Chuckwalla pool complex is a very popular spot, even on a hot August afternoon. On Saturday we arrived around noon and most prime spots were taken, but we were still able to find a few lounge chairs available.
The Snake Bites Pool is surrounded by the Enclaves buildings, and is a smaller complex than the Chuckwalla. The main pool has a graduated "beach entry," a white sandy play area, a covered water-play area with fountains and squirters, a snack bar, a smaller lounge pool, two jacuzzis, and first come-first served cabanas with overhead fans (that did not work) but no misters. There is also a very large, enclosed fire pit which is great in the winter months but not very useful when it's 100 degrees at night. When we stayed at the Enclaves, the Snake Bites pool was not as busy as the Chuckwalla pool which had more activities.
Finally, at the heel of the boot is a "Quiet Pool" which I have never had the opportunity to visit.
The condos in the Villages have the typical Marriott layout: when you enter the unit, first there is the kitchen area, followed by a dining room table, and finally the living room area next to the patio or balcony. The master bedroom is on one side of the main living area while the guest bedroom (which can be locked off) is on the other side. These units have fireplaces which would be nice in the cooler months.
The condos in the Enclaves have a different set-up, almost like a hollow square. You enter the front door to a long hallway, the guest bedroom lock-off is to one side and the master bath is on the other side. At the end of the hallway is the main area with a kitchen, a dining table, and small living room running the length of the condo with large windows overlooking the pool area. The master bedroom is directly next to the living room area and also faces the outside walk way, while the master bathroom connects the bedroom back to the hallway. The patio/balcony has wicker lounge chairs which are nicer than the usual table/chair combo found at most Marriott resorts.
Words of Warning
1. The Enclaves guest bedroom lock-off is very, very small. The Marriott website says that it will sleep 4, but that is only if you have two adults and two tiny children. Even then you might feel claustrophobic. There is no patio/balcony available with these units, only a window at the end of the narrow room. If you plan to spend all of your time outside of the room, golfing or swimming or sightseeing, then a guest bedroom might be tolerable.
2. In the one-bedroom condos of the Enclaves, the master bedroom is separated from the living room by a sliding door. This slider has a bolt to give you physical privacy; however, the noise is very permeable. If a child were trying to sleep in the living room on the sleeper sofa, you would need to keep the sound of the master bedroom TV very low. Also,while the master bedroom stays dark in the morning (at least in Building 4400) the blackout shades in the living room are very transparent. It was hard for my teenage son to sleep in.
3. In either the Villages or the Enclaves, the condos are not very well insulated in terms of sound. If noise bothers you, then try to get a room on the top floor so there will be no one walking around above you. If you don't mind a little potential noise, though, the first floor Enclaves units are very convenient--just steps from your patio to the pool.
4. In the summer in the desert you are going to encounter lots and lots of bugs. I found a dead silverfish in the bathroom. There were beetles on the sidewalks. There was something crawling on the curtains. It's just to be expected.
One of the nice things about Marriott resorts is the free self-parking since a daily parking fee can really add to your vacation bill. At the Villages, there is plenty of parking the length of each building. Of course, the covered slots are the most desirable, especially in the summer months. But it seems as if you can always find a parking place fairly close to your unit when you stay in the Villages.
The Enclaves has a large parking lot with lots of covered parking next to Building 4300, a small lot the length of Building 4400, and virtually no parking next to Building 4500. If you are assigned to Building 4500, it would be best to drop off your luggage at the turn around, then try to find parking next to Building 4400.
Cleanliness and Upkeep
Before I booked our latest trip in August, I read several reviews here on Tripadvisor which complained about the lack of cleanliness at the Enclaves. I usually take negative reviews with a grain of salt, but this time those reviewers were absolutely correct. I'm not sure if our unit had been vacant for a while, collecting dust, but it definitely wasn't up to the usual Marriott standards. The floor especially was problematic with sticky spots by the entry and dust balls in the corners. The wall of windows overlooking the pool complex was smudged. Dust had collected on the black marble surfaces. I tidied things up and we had a good weekend, but I must admit I was a bit surprised.
The other complaint I read about was that the units are not being well maintained--things are broken or don't work properly or fall apart easily. I didn't notice anything in our Enclaves unit, but when I visited my parents' unit in the Villages last May, I was surprised to notice scuffs on the furniture and cuts in the upholstery. Again, things just didn't seem up to the usual Marriott standards, and I'm not sure why.
Even with the less-than-clean unit, the hot summer weather, and crowded resort conditions, I would definitely return to Shadow Ridge. The resort has a lot to offer itself, and nearby there are the Rivers dining and shopping area, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, and the Living Desert. My parents enjoyed the Palm Springs Airplane Museum, and when our kids were younger we enjoyed visiting the Children's Museum, too.
The units in the Villages are a good choice if you want to be closer to the main Chuckwalla pool complex and enjoy views of the lush fairways. The bedrooms, separated from the living room by actual doors, provide a bit more privacy and quiet.
I loved the unit in the Enclaves because of the modern decor and the wall of windows. From the third floor I could see both the mountains in the distance and the entire pool complex below. I usually won't pay extra for a "pool view," so it is nice that you get one from almost every room at the Enclaves.
Summer months seem a bit more affordable for families, even with the heat. There are lots of children and lots of activities to keep them busy. When we came before in March, it was much more expensive to stay but the resort seemed much quieter. If you are ever heading out to the Palm Springs area and are looking for a little more space than a standard hotel room, perhaps a unit at either the Villages or the Enclaves will be suitable for your vacation.
The rooms in Building 4400 have a direct view of the pool area. Try the top floor if you don't...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.