Disclosure: My lodging and some of my meals were hosted by Mountain Shadows Resort. As ALWAYS all opinions in this story are my own.
It’s no surprise that’s it’s pretty miserable around here in the summer. (You only have to look at the answers to “what is your least favorite thing about the Phoenix area in my A to Z blogger series to notice a trend!) Yes, there are still things to do (and ice cream to eat) and inventive ways to get your exercise in, but for the most part, we spend a lot of time inside or in a pool. However, there is a secret that not too many people talk about (unless you are actually living in Arizona and then everyone talks about it) and that is one of the best things to do in the summer is to enjoy the outrageously discounted rooms at many of the exceptional resorts in the area.
But how to choose?
Easy. You let someone you know who has excellent taste in picking fabulous luxury hotels to do the picking for you!
In this case, that would be J.Mak!
As I mentioned in my story about the Relais Christine in Paris, I met Jon several years ago in San Francisco at an event for French companies and media. I immediately fell in love with his vibrant personality and a keen eye for design. I’ve stayed in or visited a few of the properties he has in his portfolio and his selections never disappoint. He represents luxury hotels and resorts all over the world, but not in Arizona.
Right when I was about to leave for my fishing trip to Alaska, J.Mak announced that he had added Mountain Shadows to his collection and I could not be more thrilled! When Mr. Misadventures and I returned from Alaska we drove over to Paradise Valley to check out the resort and were blown away. I haven’t shared a lot of pictures of our home (I’m working on that) but we are big fans of mid-century modern design. If you appreciate that style then you will absolutely love Mountain Shadows!
I ran home, okay drove, and immediately reached out to Jon to ask about the Misadventures family doing a staycation at the resort. Luckily he and the wonderful team at Mountain Shadows said, “come on down!”
And that’s how we found ourselves spending a lovely 36-hours in mid-century modern heaven. First, we wandered around the grounds inside and out going gaga over all the design touches, the textures, the shapes. Every little detail is styled and thought through. It was 107 degrees outside while we were there so I can only imagine how more awesome it would be to sit outside on the rooftop deck, the outdoor sitting areas, or on the terrace of our room in the fall and winter when the weather is a bit cooler. The heat didn’t prevent us from enjoying these spots (plus the pool!) in the early morning and we did a couple of sunrise shoots.
Like this one.
Me in the Mountain Shadows Resort pool at sunrise. And in the Presidential Suite. Summertime is the best time to get deals on suites. The price for a night is what you would pay for a standard room in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, but you don’t get your own private terrace like this:
But let me back up a bit. We arrived in the evening (after work) and took some photos of our room before heading to the bar and then to Hearth 61 for dinner. We almost didn’t make it as we were enjoying ogling our room! We wanted to capture it before we threw our clothing, laptops and camera equipment everywhere. Don’t get me wrong, we are very neat hotel room guests, we keep our room tidy, but not the pristine tidy you have when you first walk in!
We visited the bar where I felt it was imperative to have a martini. Something about that Mad Men vibe dictated my drink order! The bar has quite a nice cocktail selection and throughout our visit there, we found people at the bar enjoying the beautiful seating areas and the good-looking drinks.
Mountain Shadows has 2 spots to eat (along with room service and a juice bar) Hearth 61 and Rusty’s on the golf course (which looked like it would be a heck of a lot of fun in cooler weather). When you are a restaurant inside such a beautifully designed hotel, you have to “compete.” And when it comes to plating, Hearth 61 nails it. I mean, look at this gorgeous ahi tartare dish!
The expression, “it’s too pretty to eat” exists for a reason. I also really loved the dining area. There are a few different sections with different colors and textures and I loved the pops of teal.
We actually sat at a different table by the window where we could see the pool, but I loved the benches, glass, and lighting in this part of the restaurant. I made Mr. Misadventures take a photo!
After dinner, we wandered around the hotel checking out the art, historical images and making decisions on what spots we wanted to photograph. We were given access to the Presidential Suite and as Mr. Misadventures was planning his sunrise shoot, I was checking out the vintage editions of Arizona Highways, the one in this photo is from January 1970, the month I was born. If you are not familiar with Arizona Highways, it’s one of the best state publications on regional travel and photography that I have ever seen.
Once we had our morning plan, we headed back to our room to enjoy its appointments. I loved all the interior design details along with the shower which I absolutely want to replicate at our house. The room was comfortable and relaxing. As I age the quality of a hotel’s bed has become more important and I can tell you I slept like a baby the 2 nights we were there!
The next morning we woke at 5 am (yeah, I know, it was supposed to be a staycation…) to photograph the sunrise on the roof of the Presidential Suite. Mr. Misadventures took some very nice shots while I sat around drinking coffee and then we headed for breakfast.
A little bit of history of Mountain Shadows which sits in the shadows of Camelback Mountain. It opened in 1957 and quickly became the place to be when it appeared as the backdrop for a weekly detective series as well as an episode of the Monkees! In 1961 Del Webb became the sole owner and oversaw the property as Del Webb’s Mountain Shadows until 1981. The resort closed in 2004 and some hotel hot potato was played for a few years until 2014 when some bright peeps with a great eye and business acumen put their noggins together and created the current Mountain Shadows which re-opened in 2017.
Why should you care? Well, the place has “great bones” because a sturdy framework was created by 20 years of being in the Del Webb portfolio. I live in a Del Webb community so I’m a bit of a fan.
We love Del Webb’s concept of a planned retirement community. We were first introduced to Del Webb properties when we went to a family dinner for a friend in the Sacramento area. My friend’s parents lived in a Del Webb community and we loved their home. My friend’s father had his office in the kitchen and Mr. Misadventures was instantly smitten. We looked at Del Webb properties in Boston thinking we might buy it as an investment property, eventually, we decided not to. Nearly 10 years ago my own parents moved into a Del Webb, the very one that I now live in.
The West Valley where I live is Del Webb central. It all began here. I live in Sun City West and the original Del Webb community is in Sun City. It’s in the town next door and the original vintage homes and condos he created are so fun to drive by, I rode an airport shuttle with an original inhabitant and got a real kick out of it.
When Del Webb started his first community, everyone thought he was crazy and that nobody was going to buy a part-time or full-time home in the middle of nowhere, let alone the desert! But when he opened the doors, cars were stacked 2 to 3 deep to get in! Here’s a little bit of history.
I think the idea of private residences attached to the resort must have been what appealed to Del Webb. And I’m guessing the new owners thought it was pretty smart as well. Because when Mountain Shadows reopened in March of 2017 the idea of purchasing condos was revitalized and you can now purchase a place and even add it into the rental pool to lease out when you aren’t there.
We had seen the sales office for The Residences when we did our initial visit so we asked if we could visit one of the models. After breakfast, we were led to The Residence to check out a property and lo and behold it was the Penthouse! The cream of the crop and it was beautiful! The PR team graciously let us have some time to take photos. I waited in the home theatre room dreaming of the day I might have my own home entertainment room on this scale, and I also browsed the beautiful bookshelves full of vintage design books. The one I’m holding in this photo is about luxury hotels which I thought was apropos.
We spent the rest of our day photographing various spots in the hotel, it has so much to offer. Truly an Instagrammers dream!
We enjoyed our room, we enjoyed the sunset on the lawn and relaxed.
Our last morning it was up again at 5 to shoot sunrise at the pool. I don’t actively seek out a pool when I am looking for a hotel but in Phoenix, it’s an imperative and also a commodity. They have to be cool, they have to be hip, they have to have cabanas and pool service. All of which the Mountain Shadows pool has. If you look at old photographs of the resort, it’s all about the golf and the pool. It’s what attracted the celebrities and the jet-setters. And while Lucille Ball and Bob Hope aren’t hanging out at the pool these days, they certainly could. And with prices being what they are, so could you!
We really enjoyed our time, the 36 hours flew by! This resort has great architecture, an eye for design, beautiful rooms and comfortable beds, for me, Mountain Shadows was the perfect spot for our Misadventures staycation. I highly recommend it and I look forward to future stays!
Before I leave you, there are a few other amenities I’d like to note:
Bike rentals – you can rent bikes right out front of the Hearth 61 doors.
Yoga Thursday – they do yoga Thursday evenings on the Mountain Shadows lawn!
Fitness Center – aerial pilates anyone?
Meeting & Event space – a great spot for a small conference.
Golf – par-3, 18-hole course.
How about you? Would you consider staying at Mountain Shadows Resort? What appeals to you about it? Do tell!