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36 Hours at Mountain Shadows Resort

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 it's pretty miserable around here in the summer. 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.

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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.

Mountain Shadows-Resort Andi in the Lobby
The lobby of Mountain Shadows Resort featuring a gorgeous view of Camelback Mountain. Hat by Tenth Street Hats, bag by Delsey.

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.

Until now!

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!”

Looking into the lobby from the Mountain Shadows lawn.

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.

Mountain Shadows-Resort Andi in Pool at Sunrise
Me in the pool at sunrise!

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:

Mountain Shadows-Resort Andi on the Presidential Suite Deck at Sunrise with Delsey Bag and Tenth Street Dunewood Hat
Me on the Mountain Shadows Resort Presidential Suite deck at sunrise.

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!

Mountain Shadows-Resort Garden Room
Standard Garden Room at Mountain Shadows Resort.

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.

Andi having a martini at the Mountain Shadows Resort Bar
Having a martini in the Mountain Shadows bar. Photo credit: Liz of Cactus Fox Photography

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!

Mountain Shadows-Resort Hearth 61 Ahi Tartare
Ahi tartare at Hearth 61

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.

Mountain Shadows-Resort Hearth 61

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.

Andi reading Arizona Highway in the Presidential Suite of Mountain Shadows Resort
Reading Arizona Highway in the Presidential Suite. Hat from Tenth Street Hats.

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 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.

Mountain Shadows-Resort Andi on the Presidential Suite Deck at Sunrise with Delsey Bag and Tenth Street Dunewood Hat
Me on the Mountain Shadows Resort Presidential Suite deck at sunrise.

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.

Mountain Shadows Lawn from the rooftop deck at Sunset.

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.

Mountain Shadows Resort Lawn at sunset with part of the golf course and Camelback Mountain in the background.

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 to 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.

Mountain Shadows-Resort Andi in the Residences
Me in Penthouse of the Residences at Mountain Shadows Resort.

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.

Enjoying our Mountain Shadows Resort garden room
Enjoying our garden room.

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, and 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 celebrities and 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!

Mountain Shadows-Resort Pool at Sunrise
Mountain Shadows Resort Pool at sunrise.

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:

Andi on Rental Bike at Mountain Shadows Resort green
There are rental bikes at Mountain Shadows Resort!

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!

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  1. Ann Snook-Moreau says:

    I need to go here pronto! Yoga on the lawn would be amazing. I don’t know which part of this resort I like best: the views, the grounds, the architecture, or the amazing spacious rooms. I’ve never been to the Southwest so this might be the push I needed.

  2. You had me at Mid-Century Modern! Our house mid-century house was built in 1957. For years we tried to hide that fact with furnishings and decor that just didn’t fit. We’re now actively embracing mid-century modern! I know both Spencer and I would love this hotel for the cool vibe and architecture. Hard to beat those Phoenix hills for a great backdrop! Our 30th anniversary is next month…I’m bookmarking this as we can’t really go for more than 2 days since I teach.

  3. Marcie W. says:

    What a stunning place to spend some time away. It seems modern yet wholesome, and as a lifelong Nevadan, the desert backdrop will always have a special place in my heart.

  4. Ann F. Snook-Moreau says:

    I love the sleek and modern design of the rooms and the exterior of the hotel. It’s a fun contrast against the mountains!

  5. I could go for a solid week of relaxation there! The view is just amazing. It looks like an amazing place.

  6. What a gorgeous resort! I would love to spend some quiet time away from the kids, relaxing and soaking in that stunning scenery!

  7. Rose Ann Sales says:

    Wow, that place is really beautiful. It looks so relaxing and I think there’s a lot of activity that you can do in this place. I will definitely add this to my bucket list.

  8. This resort is absolutely breathtaking. I love all of the photos you captured and I wouldn’t mind hanging at the pool at sunrise!

  9. Everything looks so perfect there! The view is amazing and the hotel is gorgeous. I bet you had a great time there.

  10. I love this place. It is so relaxing. And the view is so perfect! I want my vacation back! 🙂

  11. Oh my goodness, that looks AMAZING. I’d love to stay there-so beautiful. Also, your photographs are great, as usual. 🙂 Loving the new look here on the blog.

  12. WOW, what an incredible view! I need to add this place to my travel list for sure!! 🙂

  13. Wow, what a calming view of the mountain. This place seriously looks refreshing.

  14. Wow, this is just breathtaking. I would seriously melt in a place like this.

  15. I absolutely need to get someone to schedule some sort of retreat or training here. It looks amazing.

  16. I thoroughly enjoyed living in Arizona, albeit briefly. I moved there on July 17 and it was 117 degrees when I arrived, but it didn’t feel like it. I was so thankful it wasn’t humid like it is in Alabama where I’m from. Camelback Mountain is one of my favorite things about Phoenix. So cool that your husband reps luxury hotels all over the world! The photos of the pool at sunrise are beautiful-all that color!! And the food-yum. You have me with martinis and ahi tartare! Definitely a place I’d like to spend 36 hours and more!

  17. Looks like you had the place to yourself! I am terrible about visiting places closest to home and that includes Arizona! I love everything about Arizona, but have not been in so very long. The only thing is, I’d want more than 36 hours at this resort! What a beautiful location!

  18. Lady I love all your photos! You look fab in each and every one of these – I need you or your photog to travel with me next time, haha! I also love AZ and hope to visit this area soon, Camelback Mountain and all its surrounding beauty seems wonderful.

  19. Love your sense and appreciation of style. The picture of you reading the 1970’s Arizona magazine is prize-worthy. Now I know about Del Webb, I’ll be looking for that style. Mid-century modern is wonderful when it’s so beautifully restored.

  20. What an amazing place to stay!! It just shows you the value of networking and knowing people in the design and hospitality business. After seeing this I am going to look up his other properties! Sounds like a wonderful getaway for your family, and something I am going to have to check out for a trip to Arizona. Oh – and your sunrise photo of the pool is just stunning!

  21. You’re lucky to live so close! If your house looks anything like this resort, I’m dying to see it. The pool looks so inviting, but the idea of aerial pilates REALLY intrigued me. I’d have to check that out!

  22. Janiel Green says:

    There is nothing I love more than a shower that has a view of the outside…..I think I died a little inside when I saw this. That and the Lemon martini (it looked like a lemon martini anyway). I am working on getting more photos of my home too, I feel I have taken for granted what Utah offers. Thanks for the nudge to get out more and also to come and visit that shower 😉

  23. This is such a beautiful property with the mountain backdrop! We are always looking out for luxury places to stay at and this one definitely makes the list. I love their outdoor pool and contemporary design. That ahi tuna tartare looks delicious!

  24. This resort is absolutely gorgeous. I mean, Arizona as a whole is a photogenic place, but I do enjoy the care and creativity put into this design. I love the open shower in the middle of the room, I guess I am a sucker for a shower wth a view. The landscaping and pool look perfectly Arizona and the view from the penthouse looks just unreal. A gorgeous looking hotel.

  25. What a stunning property! It’s true that I never would have considered visiting Arizona in the summer due to the heat — in the past, we’ve visited in December — but man oh man does that gorgeous pool look tempting. Love the shot of you with the martini in the Mountain Shadows bar! 🙂 And you’re right — the room and contemporary design are sleek and beautiful. Definitely makes me want to stay there!