The place always looks well kept. Grounds are well cared for, the pools are always clean, the decks around them immaculate. Maids and runners (who bring things to the maids) are friendly and efficient. Room service is called a "tidy" unless after a week you request a full change and cleaning. Maids spend less than ten minutes in the rooms on an average "tidy" day.
Renovations (the 10 year time for a change to everything inside) are being done in the first four buildings as you enter the gates. This is going well, with a huge renovation crew, so big that the gate is open all the time to accommodate really big trucks.
The new room look is not to my taste, being a mix of mid-century modern and something I can't quite figure out--perhaps it is fun house artsy? Many other buildings are scheduled for a soft goods update (drapes, rugs, etc.) later there may be some noises in the months ahead as the workers do their thing.
The complex where we stayed is called the Villages, and the newer part, the Enclaves. The Enclaves are a little smaller and more modern.
Problems: not many. Calls for missing items to AYS brought solutions in less than ten minutes and follow-up calls after the fact in every case. The incident with the do not disturb sign and phone call to tell us we were not disturbed still has us laughing. The free AT&T in room WiFi is balky and slow, and everyone had issues with it, even the folks at the reception desk. Nick Faldos's, the only restaurant on premises, is not open for many meals. The poolside places to eat are only open weekends .at this point.
The fitness center is adequate though unstaffed and some of the treadmills are inoperable. And the DirectTV satellite system on the machines is a challenge since some of the machines get channels that are not the same as the one next to them. At first I thought it was to block Cable shows on HBO, which can be adult, I recom, but they are there for all to enjoy (or not). In rooms, the LG HDTV's are good but they seem to show a darker picture (even at night) and there's no adjustment to rectify that (that I could find).
USA Today newspapers do not come to the room any more, and that's fine. If you want a special paper, like the Times or Journal or Desert Sun held for you, recommend that you reserve it when you arrive and pick it up daily.
Staff like Denise and Norma are wonderfully helpful in almost all cases. Daniel S, the GM, has been there many years and has a good rapport with the guests and his staff. Concierge staff, especially Bobby, Guy R., the new Front Desk Manager, is a great addition (and he makes sure that every Platinum Premier is given a royal welcome!)
Rooms are very adequate, even the lockouts. The ducks wake you at dawn if the slider is open, but that's OK. Golfers manage to send errant Titleists to a watery grave on occasion, and the sun shines almost every day.
As a place to stay, the Marriott Shadow Ridge (category 6) is hard to beat. Prices are highest this time of year for renters of course since it's high season.
There are some little annoyances, like the WiFi, but overall it gets my vote.