PARADISE VALLEY, Arizona – Flashback to January 1959, when the original Mountain Shadows opened. Nestled in the shadows of Camelback and Mummy Mountains, the iconic mountain silhouettes gave birth to its name. During its heyday decades of the 1960s through the 1980s, the hotel, complete with golf course, became the historic heart of Paradise Valley, Arizona— a desert playground for locals as well as international globetrotters and Hollywood celebrities including Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Elizabeth Taylor and Sammy Davis Jr.
After many successful decades the property closed and was demolished in 2014. Westroc Hospitality and Woodbine Development spearheaded the rebirth of Mountain Shadows, which finalized completion in March 2018. Traces of the past are revealed throughout this upscale boutique resort, from the names of outlets and amenities, to pavers in the pool area, and use of those white design blocks so popular in the 1960s.
However, the most notable niche is the visionaries’ goal to become the hotel of the community, like its namesake, by inviting the community to their activities and events. Incorporating a balance of classic and contemporary design elements, the exterior design sports a retro look, unlike the more elaborate hotels in the valley.
Step inside and you’ll be surprised by the contrasting ultra-modern interior. The first encounter will blow you away with the bigger-than-life floor-ceiling view of Camelback Mountain. The feeling of openness abounds you with its open floor plans, multiple sitting areas, floor-to-ceiling views of surrounding mountains and desert flora merging the outdoors within.
The 183 ultra-modern guest rooms with geometric lighting, plush bedding, open floor plan, with floor-to-ceiling glass doors which lead you to your private patio or balcony to enjoy the multi-hued desert scenery. The guest room’s centerpiece is the striking glass-surround shower enveloping a teak bench covered with luxurious toiletries.
Request an ‘Immerse’ room if you’re bold enough to bathe in its freestanding bathtub adjacent to the window wall that looks out at Camelback Mountain. Indulge in the perfect bubble with the Bath Butler Experience and the resort will supply you with chocolate covered strawberries, tea lite candles, and a bottle of wine to soak in the views!
Planning a longer stay to escape the cold winters up north? The resort features a three-story wing of 42 luxurious resort residences and suites. One of the distinctive touches is the resort’s signature restaurant, Hearth ’61, named to exemplify the centerpiece open kitchen hearth and pays tribute to 1961, the year the Town of Paradise Valley was incorporated.
Besides Chef Wiley’s sumptuous dishes boasting a seasonal menu, the ambiance is next to none, exemplified by the restaurant’s central water feature that highlights the mid-century modern butterfly roof, and floor-to-ceiling glass walls showcasing the pools, Camelback Mountain on one side and Mummy Mountain on the other. The resort’s main niche is to become the heart of the community, a neighborhood gathering place for locals and guests alike, just like Mountain Shadows was in the past.
Their goal is to foster a sense of community by inviting locals into their activities and events. Offerings include an inventive cocktail program, scheduled ‘Spirited Sipping Seminars’, ‘Astro-Tourism’—astrology-themed cocktails and stargazing on their Camelback Overlook rooftop deck, and live music (Thurs.-Sat.).
If you’re more of the ‘artsy type’ then immerse yourself in the sensuous delight of The Gallery Art Exhibit which showcases artwork by local artists as well as a ‘walk down memory lane’ with historic photos of Mountain Shadows’ iconic past. Hotel guests and the public are encouraged to experience the splendors of golf on The Short Course and participate in their scheduled tournaments.
Mountain Shadows’ pool complex was recognized by Vogue Magazine among “The Hottest Hotel Pools”. Two 75-foot long swimming pools are connected by a waterfall, an over-water walkway, flanked by private cabanas, an organic juice bar with Camelback and Mummy Mountains as the backdrop.
The Citizens Club, named after the group of residents who founded Paradise Valley, honors their legacy as a place to gather, socialize and improve one’s health. Open to the public and hotel guests, the resort offers amenities that include use of their fitness center and resort exercise events that promote the “Sun, Moon and Stars Wellness Series”, which features sunrise, sunset and moonlight yoga, and “Pilates and Prosecco” for a spirited lift after that strenuous workout!
For the golf enthusiast, Mountain Shadows boasts Arizona’s only 18-hole, par 3 golf course, “The Short Course”. Conveniently located just steps away from the hotel’s back door, enjoy a quick breakfast before the round on the patio of Rusty’s Bar & Grille or enjoy a libation after the round while basking in the shadow of Camelback Mountain.
The course was originally designed in 1961 by Arthur Jack Snyder as an 18- hole par 56 layout. Re-envisioned by Forest Richardson, Snyder’s protege, The Short Course was reconfigured from 3,000 yards to a 2,310-yard par 54, featuring 18 diverse par-3 holes along with a bonus wager hole 17.5. Hole distances range from 50-193 yards. Since debuting in 2017, its been recognized by golf.com as one of the “13 Best Par-3 Courses in America”.
Hallmarks of the course are the superior greens surfaces and distinct holes each with an interesting personality, rollicking in the shadows of Camelback Mountain on the front 9 and cascading down the back 9 with views of Mummy Mountain. Described as ‘Short and Sweet’ — golfers can complete 18 holes in a few (2.5) hours, providing respite to golfers (public and hotel guests) to complete a round before a day of resort relaxation or desert exploration.
“Here you have 18 approach shots with opportunity to use a variety of clubs to a variety of tricky green complexes with lots of humps, bumps and slopes,” explains Tom McCahan, director of golf and club operations. “Where golf in Arizona usually cost anywhere between $150-250 a round, here golfers can play a quick game of golf on 18 very different holes for $65.”
True, there are few bunkers, plenty of mounded side areas to contain the ball in play (time saver) but the uniquely crafted green complexes will challenge the best golfer. Adding to the uniqueness of this tract, great minds aptly named the holes to describe each hole’s personality and pay homage to classics.
Such as hole #4 ‘Biarritz’—a twist of the original Biarritz hole which sat along the Atlantic coast of France above Bay of Biscay. The Biarritz at Mountain Shadows, the longest hole on The Short Course, sports a sizable hollow that bisects the green…often described as a par-3 that acts like a par-4. Hole #10 ‘Punchbowl’ — Mounding obscures the green from the tee box and surrounding berms funnel shots toward the hole like a punchbowl. If there is a signature hole that should grace a postcard, it may be picturesque hole # 7 ‘Jutty’ — the shortest hole, sporting a tiny peninsula green with water on three sides.
There are so many unusual holes on this course, but one more that must be mentioned is Hole #13 ‘Mummy’ —named for its likeness to Mummy Mountain with its mummy shaped left sided ridge of this immensely L-shaped double green serving the 13th and 14th holes.
Paradise Valley is only 4 miles from downtown Scottsdale which is always buzzing with activity both day and night. Mountain Shadows is a welcoming venue that boasts the community spirit. So, join in and experience the splendors that the resort has to offer, be it an award-winning meal and incredible ambiance at Hearth 61, their Spirited Sipping Seminars, Astro-Tourism events, or golf on their one-of-a-kind Short Course.