Here's our trip report on the Desert Shadows Inn 12-28-01 to 01-02-02. Write if you have questions.
Outbound flight was uneventful. Security was heavy, and very thorough searches were performed. Lot's of people had to remove their shoes, so I would recommend flying with shoes that slip on/off easily with absolutely no metal; this includes no buckles, lace eyelets, or arch supports made of metal. Knapsacks (which we had) were not allowed in the express security lines, but briefcases and computer bags are (without computer of course), so I recommend leaving the computer at home, and using its bag to carry essential items you don't want to pack. Though the flights are very full with hardly an unoccupied seat, there appears to be plenty of overhead storage (most people must be checking their luggage?), so if you do have a carryon, you probably won't have trouble stowing it. Remember, if it doesn't have blood flowing to it, it is going through the x-ray machine, so drop the cell phone, wallet, watch, etc into your carryon, and send it through the machine. Otherwise, if you put in the basket, and then get stopped for further screening, your watch, wallet, cell phone, etc are laying at the end of the x-ray machine waiting for you, or someone else, to walk off with it.
We arrived DSI around 2:00. Check in is 4:00. No problem, our room was ready. At the booking we had requested a Villa room, overlooking the pool, all were reserved, and so we were assigned one facing the garden with some sun exposure. No complaints with the room or resort. The room was clean, and contained the basic kitchen necessities; paper towels, pots, pans; plates, etc. However, no, salt nor pepper (shakers were empty), tinfoil, storage bags, etc. Oh, no blenders, so margaritas must be on the rocks - that's the extent of having to rough it. Being just past the Equinox, with the sun at its lowest point on the horizon, no sun reached the patio outside our room until after 9:00am, so the ground level patio wasn't very useful being in the shade. The patio outside the bedroom does receive some exposure, of course some villas face north, and therefore get no sun exposure on the patios. Consider that if you do have a pool facing villa, the after-hours hot tubers can be noisy.
Unwinding from work typically means arriving at our destination, then some volley of comments of approval or disapproval over the trip I've planned. My wife was a bit reluctant to do the DSI nude thing, but really loosened up quickly. The walk up the path to the room past the beautiful landscaping, and waterfalls, put her into an immediate mindset of being at a resort she was going to enjoy. The DSI looks very upscale and clean, so she was immediately at rest with the selection.
Families / Children
Two, maybe three, families were present with children of varying ages from infant to ten. In general, they were well behaved, and the parents kept them completely under control. As noted in pool use rules, there is one pool, designated as the quiet pool, where the presence of children is discouraged. We, being non-parents, prefer the absence of children all together, but really had no problems, again, due to their good behavior -- which of course is a direct reflection on the parents, so thank you for managing your children!
Smoking is allowed poolside. The best one can do to avoid other's smoke is to try to sit upwind from the smokers. In general, about 50% of the guests were smokers, so there was little escaping the smell we would rather not have to deal with.
There are two grills. One is located on the side of the tennis court nearest the Villa Suites. The other is located near the hot tub near the Villas. We used the later. The igniter does not work, so matches are required. A sign explains procedures to light, which requires turning on the gas supply line. If you are not familiar with these types of valves, turn the lever so that it points parallel with the gas line. When done, turn it perpendicular to turn the gas supply off. Of course the grill also has traditional left/right burner controls. The grill brush needs replacing, so plan to preheat the grill prior to cooking to burn off any residue.
Pools and Spas
The water was crystal clear in all. Pool water was a comfy 85 ish degrees. The spa closest to the quite pool is not as hot as the one near the villas. We liked the villa spa better as it seemed to be the happening place to hang out.
Everything was perfect.
Day three, around 6:00pm, the power went out. Each unit is equipped with a flashlight. We were in the hot tub, and within a few minutes, one of the owner's children came by with a battery lantern. He explained a power transformer blew. Within an hour, the power returned. We remained in the hot tub, along with several other guests. It was sort of like camping -- we had the lantern, a non circulating hot tub, and lots of fun conversation.
We've made lots of trips to California, but never felt an earthquake. We experienced our first earthquake 01-02-02 at 4:10am. The epicenter was about 30 miles away, and registered 4.2. It woke us up. I would describe it as a sudden jolt. Maybe best imagined, if you can, as if the bed you are sleeping in suddenly dropped six inches. Interesting, and not all that frightening. However, I would imagine that a constant shaking would be quite unnerving.
We should have known, given that no two sources of weather information showed that same forecast, that we were in for unpredictable weather. Our arrival was greeted by rain. Day two had sunshine in the morning, then clouds in the afternoon. Day three was perfect with sunshine and 70 degree temperatures. Day four was sunny until 10:00 am, then cloudy. Departure day, day five, was sunny, though rain was predicted for the evening. We reluctantly left at 11:30 am to make our 2:30 flight out of Ontario.
Uneventful. All passengers with boots were required to remove them and send them through the x-ray machine. My wife was wearing zip up boots that end just above the ankle, they were x-rayed. Save yourself a headache and wear clothes that avoid scrutiny.
This was our first experience staying at a CO resort. In general, we don't chat with people, and keep to ourselves. This would be hard to do at the DSI. Everyone is very chatty, and it is guaranteed that others in the hot tub will strike up a conversation with you. We really enjoyed this aspect and exchanged business cards and email addresses with several other couples we hope to keep in touch with and perhaps coordinate future vacation plans. One aspect of conversation we most enjoyed was hearing other's experiences from their CO vacations. We got lots of good ideas.
Outward appearances would imply that everyone was a heterosexual couple or family. This is a very nice aspect as it eliminates the feeling of lone males "on the prowl."
We did not observe any swinging, or preludes to swinging, such as odd number couples, or couples leaving with other couples. If it takes place, it occurs behind closed doors.
We applaud DSI for its cleanliness, and family environment.
Make the pool and spa areas non-smoking areas. Equip the units with rechargeable flashlights rather than the battery powered -- I suspect that some unfortunate guest will need it, and the batteries will be spent. Include a blender, or at least have a supply with housekeeping.
Great place, would absolutely go again!