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07-27-22 | Feature

Shangri La Resort

A prime destination for families who want choices to do everything . . . Or do nothing at all.
by Geoff Evans, PDG

At the 115-acre Shangri-La Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma, landscape architecture firm Planning Design Group (PDG) designed all facets of a new 6-acre space called The Anchor except the actual building and a memorial site. Their work included a pond, fishing deck, pool area, play courts, sitting areas, and a Wiffle ball park.
An additional recreational area featuring cornhole is found on the north side of the building. This section is surfaced with synthetic turf and involves a drainage system that incorporates French drains and drain inlets throughout the area. Site furnishings were provided by Sitescapes.
Concrete paving connects the basketball court, Wiffle ball park, and the pond. The pathway connects to a 12' x 18' synthetic wood fishing dock that is steel framed. The pond was originally created for stormwater detention, but the team decided to turn it into an aesthetic feature.
The resort was designed to include an indoor pool, 6,800 sq. ft. outdoor pool with a spa and swim-up bar, and new landscape design. Part of the plan for the pool incorporated an expansive deck with chaise loungers, cabanas, fire bowls, and deck houses.
The resort was designed to include an indoor pool, 6,800 sq. ft. outdoor pool with a spa and swim-up bar, and new landscape design. Part of the plan for the pool incorporated an expansive deck with chaise loungers, cabanas, fire bowls, and deck houses.
7,000 sq. ft. of stamped and stained concrete covers the entrance to the golf clubhouse. At the center of the entrance is a 1,000-pound sculpture of an eagle, designed by Richard Ten Eyck. The sculpture represents freedom, strength, independence, and unparalleled commitment to dreams of greatness.
A series of three, nine-hole golf courses are located adjacent to the resort to the north and are within a half mile drive of the clubhouse. A new 18-hole, par three course is scheduled to open later this year.
A series of three, nine-hole golf courses are located adjacent to the resort to the north and are within a half mile drive of the clubhouse. A new 18-hole, par three course is scheduled to open later this year.
Found just south of the pool is the playground that features elements for both 5 to 12-year-olds and 2 to 5-year-old children. The colors and shapes of this were originally designed to represent land and water, but since the playground was added after the pool and splashpad were operational, the new goal was to tie these elements together in look, feel, and colors.
Next to the basketball court is a Wiffle ball park that was designed to appear as a miniature version of the Boston Red Sox's Fenway Park. The field extends 78' to right field, 70' to left, and 85' to center. The overall turf field is about 7,000 sq. ft. The field was created with a slope and a subsurface drainage system to provide surface drainage.
The plan included the addition of several recreational areas including a basketball court located on the north end of The Anchor. The court is enclosed with a black vinyl coated chain link fence.
Found south of The Anchor, the design incorporated six pickle ball courts, four full size tennis courts, and a half-sized practice court. The area is illuminated with a series of LED sports lighting fixtures.

Shangri-La Resort, nestled on Monkey Island on Northeastern Oklahoma's Grand Lake O' The Cherokees, is an ultimate getaway destination. Championship golf, an activity park, a racquet club, the resort swimming pool, boating, fishing, parasailing, indoor-outdoor dining options, a fitness center, and a medical spa make it a prime destination for families who want choices to do everything . . . Or do nothing at all.

The History of Shangri-La
According to legend . . . The history of Shangri-La dates back to Oklahoma City Contractor, Frank Richards who put together a group of local investors and opened the original Shangri-La Hotel in May 1964 on Grand Lake, in Afton, Oklahoma. Then, in the 1970s, Wichita manufacturer, Charles Davis redesigned Shangri-La Resort into the national destination that hosted hundreds of thousands of guests through two decades of his leadership and brought millions of dollars in real estate investment and tourism to Monkey Island on Grand Lake.

Sadly, a confluence of regional and national economic factors forced Shangri-La into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1986. At this time there were a series of multiple ownership changes. In 2005, the property was sold to Peter S. Boylan III. Boylan announced an ambitious hotel and condominium development project under a new name, "The Peninsula Resort & Club," but a plummeting economy, rising construction costs, and the worldwide financial crisis stalled the project. Five years later, only golf and some limited recreational opportunities remained. Deposits on the planned condominium project were returned, the recreation center and convention center were razed, one of the two golf courses was closed, and the remaining Championship course fell into disrepair. Then, in 2010, the property sold once again, and a new era began when ownership rights transferred to Tulsa manufacturing giant Eddy Gibbs.

Gibbs brought on Planning Design Group (PDG) of Tulsa, Oklahoma, to work with the design team to help create what would ultimately, when the construction of "The Battlefield" completes in 2023, result in a total investment of the resort facility of more than $115 million.

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Phase I of the lakeside luxury resort atmosphere at Shangri-La included a splash pad structure and landscape and irrigation design for the luxury hotel and spa. Phase II, working with Heckenkemper Golf Course Design at the same time as Phase I, was focused on improving the design of the Champions 9-hole golf course around multiple water features on the course. Phase III was the addition of The Anchor at Shangri-La.

The Anchor & Battlefield
In February 2020, groundbreaking ceremonies were held for "The Anchor," a $12 million indoor/outdoor activity park featuring outdoor tennis, pickleball, and basketball courts, as well as a unique mini-Fenway Wiffle ball park. The 11,000 square foot indoor facility includes a sports bar with huge video screens, an outdoor deck over a beautiful water feature, pool, darts, ping-pong, shuffleboard and a variety of arcade and virtual reality games.
The name of the facility was inspired by the USS Oklahoma battleship and features a replica of one of the original anchors from the ship, in a setting that proudly displays the names of the 429 personnel who perished on the vessel when it was attacked at Pearl Harbor in 1941.

The Anchor is now the backdrop for recreational and entertainment activities throughout the year and features a replica Mini-Fenway Wiffle ball field, outdoor game areas, pickleball courts, tennis courts, basketball, fishing, and a walking trail. An 'amenities' building contains simulators, an arcade, a bar/restaurant, a pro-shop for the tennis and pickleball facility, and many other activities.

Currently, the next addition to the property is under construction. "The Battlefield," is a picturesque 18-hole, executive golf course. It will have its own pro shop, turn house, practice facility, and cart facilities. PDG is providing design services for the pedestrian and cart circulation, landscape and irrigation design, and the design for water features within the golf course.

The Pool and Spa
The resort included an indoor pool, 6,800 sq. ft. outdoor pool with a spa and swim up bar, and an area specific plantscape. An expansive deck with chaise, cabanas, fire bowls, and deck houses for beverage services were all part of complex. Planning Design Group prepared initial concept renderings through construction documents. A water play feature, situated to achieve panoramic views of Grand Lake, was suggested and approved to provide yet another activity opportunity.
The splash pad structure, and ground sprays, were selected to allow for generous amounts of play value for all ages. The feature include two quick slides with runouts and a center elevated tower that houses the fan favorite extra-large dumping bucket with a powerful splash. Other elements for the tinier or less adventurous patrons include many rain curtains and ground geysers.

Design Team
The PGD team provided services to the owner that included research, planning, conceptual design, construction detailing, and construction administration. This was all done by working side by side with the design team to create a new modern and state of the art resort, while keeping in mind the history of Shangri-La. On this project, PDG collaborated with the owner and the design team, which included Architect's Collective, Snowden Engineering, Rose and McCrary, and V2 Engineering, and they were able to collaborate with the owner and general contractor, Timberlake Construction, to establish construction methods that would preserve the existing structures, maintain and improve accessibility, and provide the ability to expand the uses in the future. Ultimately, the design team was able to provide a design that met and exceeded the owner's expectations all while keeping in mind the health, safety, and welfare of the community.

PDG, as the lead consultant for all exterior items on this project, feels the perception of the public will help increase the awareness of the Landscape Architecture profession, as hundreds of thousands of people visit Shangri-La every year for vacation, weekend getaways, conferences, and just to enjoy the facilities . . . And who can argue with Shangri-La . . .

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