“Now, associations, conferences, family reunions, birthday parties, anniversaries can be right here at Oklahoma’s crown jewel, Grand Lake. We’ve needed a destination venue, a hotel. Now that we have that, families can stay, and as we’ve said multiple times, you can have conventions here. That’s a big deal. - Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb
That was the word used by Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb to describe the new Shangri-La Hotel and Resort, as he took part in formal dedication ceremonies on Friday, June 23, on Monkey Island.
“I had a humanities class in college where I learned that renaissance was a big, old, fancy French word for rebirth,” said Lamb. “Eddy, thank you for the rebirth of Shangri-La.”
Eddy Gibbs, the current owner of the Shangri-La Hotel and Resort, moved to the island 16 years ago/
The original hotel and golf course had fallen into ruin and shut down. Gibbs, an avid golfer, decided to buy the course and care for it himself.
“I know how to cut grass, I’ll just buy this golf course,” said Gibbs.
Gibbs soon discovered that there was much more to maintaining a golf course than just cutting the grass.
“I found out that in the golf resort business, the most important person is that golf superintendent,” said Gibbs.
In the short time that Gibbs has been in charge, the golf course, and anything associated with it, has flourished.
“Two years ago, if someone asked me when I was going to build a hotel, my answer would be ‘never’," Gibbs said. "I just sold my business of 40 years, I didn’t need another business."
But build one he did.
The new four-story hotel, which bears the name Shangri-La, is situated along a curve of Grand Lake. It boasts 119 rooms, with a variety of bed options. The original floor plan opted for 120 rooms, however one was removed to make room for a food and beverage area for the rooftop patio.
The amenities of the hotel include a medical spa and an outdoor pool.
The spa is set to open this week and features steam rooms and saunas. The pool has a children’s area and can hold up to 400 people. The pool is for members and hotel guests only, however the spa is open to the public.
Lamb mentioned that he hosted his family reunion on Grand Lake. Guests were forced to stay 20 minutes away from Shangri-La, due to the lack of accommodations.
“Now, associations, conferences, family reunions, birthday parties, anniversaries can be right here at Oklahoma’s crown jewel, Grand Lake,” said Lamb. “We’ve needed a destination venue, a hotel. Now that we have that, families can stay, and as we’ve said multiple times, you can have conventions here. That’s a big deal.
"So one, you can keep our folks in state, but also conventions from Kansas will come here, from Missouri will come here, from Arkansas will come here, from Texas will come here, now that there’s a place to do that. So the economic activity that Shangri-La will generate is just exponential.”
Monkey Islanders flocked to the ribbon cutting and celebrated the hotel and resort with Gibbs, his family and the employees.
Area officials in attendance included State Senators Michael Bergstrom and Wayne Shaw, State Representative Josh West, Delaware County Commissioner Doug Smith (District 1), County Clerk Barbara Barnes and Delaware County Special Judge Alicia Littlefield.
Eddy Gibbs touched on a few projects that could be popping up on Monkey Island and in Grove.
• A children’s playground, sand volleyball courts, horseshoe pits and more to be added to the resort.
• An 18-hole three par-golf course has been proposed for a plot north of the airport in Grove, which is already owned by Gibbs. The course would include nine PGA length holes. “There’s nothing for kids in town, unless they like to bowl,” said Gibbs.
• An indoor waterpark. A team has already been assembled and is working on a plan for the project.
• A marina expansion, which would include more slips to be rented out on a daily basis.
If You Go
Shangri-La Resort, located on Monkey Island, features 119 non-smoking rooms and suites, an outdoor resort pool, children's splash pad, a 27-hole golf course, and 8,000 feet of flexible meeting space - which includes a ballroom that can seat 300.
Multiple dining options, under the direction of Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverages Michael Bujold, exist including the new Eddy's Lakeside Bar, the Doc's Bar and Grill, the Summit Restaurant and Buffalo Bar.
At the latest count, the facility has 209 employees on the payroll - with more than 130 joining the staff in the past 90 days. Courtesy docks are available for guests who arrive by water.