Hotel Review: Marriott's Shadow Ridge I-The Villages

Hotel Review: Marriott's Shadow Ridge I-The Villages

This is an unusual review for me as it’s not a hotel but rather a vacation rental that I stayed at. Vacation rentals can be a great option for the avid traveler if you’re traveling in a large group or staying for an extended period of time. These rooms usually come with full kitchens, large spacious rooms, and amenities not usually found in hotels.


I acquired this week rental at the Marriott through family who happens to own a timeshare that they traded for a reservation. Booking was rather unique as it incorporated going through the timeshare company, Interval International, and scouting out rooms. Their interface isn’t the very best out there. It makes it tough to compare availability and you have to struggle with complicated diagrams to figure out room features. On top of that there are a lot of hidden fees you have to look out for. The original timeshare that was banked then used to trade for a week rental here was hit with fees for banking the time rather than using it, and was hit with more fees for choosing a destination on top of any other costs if the place we traded was more expensive. This timeshare property that my family owns has been with the family for decades and it’s only kept around because of its prime trading power for bigger and better locations, like the Marriott Shadow Ridge.


Upon arriving to the property you realize just how big this place is, it’s almost its own city. There’s an internal shuttle service and it sits on a massive piece of land in Palm Springs. The check-in building is centrally located right when you enter the property, the building is massive and hosts not only check-in but the concierge and a small market where you can buy everything from trinkets to bathroom supplies. Staff was very friendly and welcoming as we arrived.

Normal check-in time for the Marriott is 4PM daily, upon reservation we had asked for early check-in due to our flights arriving at 10AM and were assured by management that our rooms would be ready. When we talked with the check-in assistant we were told that the room was not ready yet and that the occupants in the room haven’t even checked out yet, this was the first disappointment of our trip. However, we were allowed full use of the pools while we were waiting for our rooms to be ready, they gave us a nice goody bag with pool towels, waters, fans, and snacks to keep up contained for the long wait for our rooms to be ready.

Finally around 3:30PM we were called and told that our rooms were finally ready. From there check-in was very easy, we got our keys and a map to the property and sent on our way. Arriving at the room housekeeping was just finishing up with cleaning the unit when we stepped in. At least it had that lemon fresh smell.


The Room

The trade power of our timeshare unit allowed us to get a 2 bedroom villa for a week without paying any extra money. It was a very spacious unit that was a joining of two separate rooms. The main room had a full kitchen with appliances, a dining table, lounge area with a sofa bed and two arm chairs. The attached bedroom had a king sized bed, bathtub, shower, and two separate sinks. Attached to this large spacious room was a shared double door that had a king sized bed, sofa bed, mini kitchen with mini-fridge, coffee maker, and sink with cutlery. This room is a standard single king room but the shared double door allows them to open and become of the next unit.

For being Palm Springs at the end of summer when everyday was over 100-degrees the air conditioning kept up very well and with some playing around with the thermostat you could set it and forget it allowing for optimal comfort. My only gripe about the air conditioning was that it was a bit too cold at night and I found myself getting up in the middle of the night and turning it up to keep from freezing.

We had a beautiful deck that overlooked the club’s 10th hole of their private golf course. It was an eastern facing deck and caught a nice view of the morning sun but dipped into the shade when the blazing hot afternoon sun rolled around.



There were many dining options available at the club including one fine dining restaurant, a bar that served food at every pool, and a centrally located licensed Starbucks shop inside of the market. The pools offered some OK food, it was a bit pricey and the menu didn’t take into account the very hot weather. I think we could all agree that when it’s over 100-degrees outside you don’t want to eat hot food, but rather something nice cool and refreshing. Out of their decently sized menu they offered some salads and a chicken wrap that was all more in-line with hot weather food. The rest of the menu was hot meal options such as chicken strips, nachos, pulled pork, and burgers.

Their fine dining restaurant offered a limited choice of menu options and had weird hours. They had a generous selection of burgers, pizzas, and slabs of meat however all were quite expensive. Their hours were also upsetting, they were closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays and 11AM-7PM on most other days. It defiantly seemed as if they were winding down their busy season and reducing hours.


Shadow Ridge has their own on site 18-hole professional golf course, which I had the chance to play on. I got paired up with some locals who mentioned that early in the season around July the course had large dead patches of grass but at the time that we played it was all very up kept and green. I’m by no means a golf expert but for an average player like me the course was challenging but nothing that would make you throw your clubs in anger. Most holes were wide open and forgiving if you made it into the rough.

There’s also an assortment of pools to pick from depending on which sub-community of the Marriott you were in. We stayed on the Villas side which offered a pool area with three pools, a more adult pool, large central pool, and kiddie pool. It also featured a water slide and assortment of hot tubs. The two main pools aren’t very deep, only going to about four-and-a-half feet deep which makes it great for wading in and cooling off from the hot sun. The pool areas have a generous amount of covered/shaded and sunshade areas which I found very pleasing for those families who wanted to keep out of the sun. Most hotels and resorts that I visit don’t seem to have a lot of shaded options and result in people fighting over it.

For it being so hot outside the pools were very refreshing and I found myself hanging out in them for the most of the day to keep out of the sun. There are large palm trees around some areas of the pools which work out perfect where the afternoon sun hits it just right and creates nice shaded areas.

There was also a weekly published activity guide that included wine and beer tastings, kids activities, and a large pool area where they stream movies throughout the day. Most of these activities are free to participate in but some do cost a small fee.

Final Thoughts

Overall Shadow Ridge offered a well-rounded experience of large spacious rooms, comfortable beds, activities, and relaxation. I enjoyed the fact that if I wanted to do something there was most likely something for adults to do, or if I just wanted to relax I could do that in a nice quite shaded area of the pool. The internal shuttle service was perfect moving around to different pools, the on site market, or fine dining restaurant. I enjoyed golfing on their course and overall I had a very enjoyable time.  Don’t expect to check-in early and make proper arrangements to arrive as close to your check-in time as you can to avoid undue delay.