Shadow Ridge is a Marriot resort that offers a great deal in Palm Desert California. One of the most impressive offerings in the area is golf. It is an understandable a Golf Mecca.
Video by Roamaroo
Day One Travel and Arrival
I would normally have flown in from a cross coastal flight. However, I was coming from Newport Beach and my last resort to this resort today. It was a close drive of only about 133 miles or so, door to door. If you manage to avoid LA traffic, the drive was just a little over 2 hours. I am used to rushing hour traffic issues because I live near the tunnels in Hampton Roads, Virginia and for several hours most days it too is stop and go traffic. While only 3 lanes of traffic at home in each direction not 6 or more, it can still be frustrating.
LA traffic is all of that just on a larger scale. Instead of needing to fight across 2 lanes to reach an exit here, you must plan and cross 3 or more.
Luckily, I timed my journey well and avoided the heavy traffic hours of the day. The outer appearance of the resorts was similar. It was just that Shadow Ridge felt much more desert focused and more adobe like coloring. So much of the southwest feel to the design, and the buildings of the resort seemed to fit perfectly into this other landscape as well. Here you also had lush environments around the pools, but instead of looking out over the ocean, you looked out towards the mountains and hills in the area.
At the resort, they had 1–2-bedroom villas as well as a limited number of studios. I often book a 1-bedroom even if it is just me because I like the room size. Once I checked-in I found my 1-bedroom villa spacious and the porch or patio outside had a great view as well. I always try to hide the fact that I am a writer from the staff. I do not want to be treated differently. Sometimes the word gets out, or the staff figure it out. Maybe it is odd for someone to travel to these amazing resorts single. I like to take friends on these trips, but I often travel at odd times when others just can not pick up and jump on a plane for a week with me. We all have work, family, lives, and our responsibilities, after all.
- Wi-Fi Internet Access
- Cable TV
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- Beauty shop
- Bar-B-Q and/or picnic area
- Fitness Room
- Concierge desk
- Internet Access
This trip someone has figured out that I write for TZort and they had actually read a few of our blogs from the site. It was a young manager for the resort that was particularly on the ball. This meant that they themselves took me to my room to show me around, and they even offered to show me the 2-bedroom villa version if I wanted to upgrade. I took them up on the tour, but not the upgrade. I just did not need the space and the room I was booked for had a great view.
The young manager was very professional and kind and really knew her stuff about the resort and surrounding area. It was nice to have someone with so much local knowledge to talk to for a few moments. The resort also offers a concierge desk, so you do not need to be a travel writer to get amazing service here.
She offered her card and asked if I was going to play golf while in the area; I confessed I would if I could find a group that needed a clumsy extra golfer. I think she thought I was being humble because she had to have known that I planned by shipping my new set of clubs via the service ship sticks. They were likely going to be brought to the room shortly. I was just learning really to play golf now, having ignored it most of my life. The only reason I purchased my own clubs was that I was 6’4” and with long legs and arms, the rental clubs available were not a good fit.
The idea of the ship sticks service made sense to me because if you were flying, you could get your clubs and golf bag shipped for far less than the cost of taking them on the plane these days. They also would be sent to your resort or to the course for you. Which meant no lugging them in and out of the airport. Turns out this is a clever and low-cost service.
Well, the manager said she would look into who needed a 4th or a partner to play tomorrow around my tee time, and get back to me tonight to confirm. I thought her extra effort here was very kind and professional.
Day Two Time for Golf
I had heard back from the manager last night and she had arranged something for the round of golf for me today. Tee time was 10 AM, so I could get in a great breakfast at the resort first and take my time getting moving in the morning.
I arrived for Tee time and saw the manager. Simple me, I thought at first, she was just being nice and saying hello since she knew where I was going to be this AM. Instead, she was going to be the one I played with for my round of golf. Looking back as I write this now, I think I thought she was just taking sympathy on the single guy traveling more than being concerned that I was any kind of travel writer. Let’s face it while I write a lot. It is not for a major, magazine just an amazing website. But at any rate, after trying to allow her to bow out, she refused, and we went on to have a great morning playing a round of golf together. I asked her a few questions about the resort along the way and why she had chosen hospitality as a career. She shared she had been a military child (her word was brat) and moved around a lot with her mother and father. She just felt better moving every few years. So, she chose hospitality to be able to grow fast in a career that would include a good deal of moving and travel. I had never thought of that connection before, but it was a clever one.
She also explained that she could earn free stays through work, and or deeply discounted stays with her brand at other resorts. This meant her own vacations were almost free.
It was a very fun round of golf with a kind host.
Afterwards, we parted ways, and I headed out for some lunch. I felt inviting her when she was (I felt) acting in part of her professional capacity would be improper and I wanted my host to be able to get back to her day.
I went to the nearby Grill-A-Burger for just that a great burger. Just imagine giant burgers and dogs in a fun Tiki kind of place, and you get the idea. These are a bit pricy as burgers go, but worth it. I had a double for around $16, but it was huge and had me crawling away from the table. I was so full.
Day Three Seeing the Sites
You might wonder what there is to do in Palm Desert because of the name. But the better-known name that the area is a part of his Palm Springs. A place must have heard about throughout their lives on TV or in movies.
To say the living desert is just a zoo is likely offensive to some and I do not mean to offend. This is a wonderful experience for families, or people that enjoy zoos as I do. General admission here is higher than some Zoos, but you really have to consider your tickets as supporting the animals. They are, however, still less than $30 per person with less than $20 for children 3-12 and free under 3.
The living desert has protected and nurtured local animals since 1970. So even before I was born, people here were making a difference in the lives of animals and educating the public. That is special and worth protecting.
After the Zoo (living desert) I had booked a Red Jeep Tour to see the real desert around the area and get a feeling for the historic area. I went on the San Andres Fault and Bones of the Earth Tour. Which was fun and very informative. It was 3 hours in a jeep with a driver and guide. Costly at $150 a person or $50hr, but worth it if that is your thing.
This finished out my day since I had spent so much time enjoying my visit with the animals.
If you too want to see the Palm Desert area and play some amazing golf, do consider this resort and make sure you book with TZort.