Photo courtesy of the Prickly Pear Inn
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Prickly Pear Inn gets a Grand Opening this weekend in Cave Creek


Tara Alatorre
CAVE CREEK – Come explore the upscale rustic charm at Cave Creek’s newest and only boutique hotel The Prickly Pear Inn and the Grumpy Mule Mercantile during its grand opening and open house taking place on March 10, from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Prickly Pear Plaza located on Cave Creek and School House roads.

The Prickly Pear Inn will be open for viewing and locals can explore the 11 unique rooms located on the second-floor of the Prickly Pear Plaza, which is also home to the Grumpy Mule Mercantile, an on-site gourmet beer, wine, gift and grocery store that shares a space with the hotel’s lobby. The City Creamery ice cream shop and the jewelry store, Cimarron River Company also rent out spaces at the plaza, and both businesses will be offering deals at the grand opening.

Patrons can participate in the Passport program on March 10, for a chance to win several great prizes including a two-night stay at the Inn. Participants must simply visit each business at the Prickly Pear Plaza, get the passport stamped at each location and turn it in for the drawing held on site at 6 p.m.

Triple R Horse Rescue will be on site at 1 p.m. with its mini-donkey named Squid, and the band “Gedalife” will be playing in the plaza from 3 to 6 p.m.

Although the Prickly Pear Inn and Grumpy Mule Mercantile have only been open for a little over two months, owners, Paul and Cherie Morina, are not new to Cave Creek and have patiently waited 12 years to finally return to the place they call home, the Valley of the Sun.

Paul is originally from the Phoenix area, and soon after he married Cherie in 1991 they decided to take an opportunity to buy a liquor license and own their business in Sitka, Alaska leaving their jobs behind at American West Airlines. 

“The long-term plan was always to move to Alaska and use the opportunity we had, so we could buy a business and move back,” said Paul.

After spending over a decade in Alaska the Morinas had built up their liquor store businesses and were able to build a 10-room motel.  It was there in Alaska that the couple discovered their passion for the hotel and hospitality business. But their plan was always to move back home to Arizona, and as soon as they had the opportunity to come back to the Valley they did. Paul and Cherie sold their Alaska businesses, and started searching for property to purchase in 2015.

“This is home,” said Paul in an interview in his office at the Prickly Pear Inn.  “I love it up here, I always thought there was a possibility of having a small hotel in Cave Creek, and the town needed it.”

When they first saw the two-story property it was vacant, but they immediately saw its potential.  After the permitting and planning process it took the Morinas eight months to build the hotel and mercantile.

“We are really happy about the results of the hotel,” he said. 

Each of the 11-rooms at the Prickly Pear Inn offer stunning mountain views with sun decks, seven of which are private, and the panoramic vistas do not come with a sacrifice to convenience either.

“Hiking, shopping, galleries and restaurants are all within walking distance, and of course we have the trolley stop here on Saturdays and Sundays,” said Paul.

The Prickly Pear Inn has an upscale Western aesthetic, rustic while offering chic amenities; each room has a kitchenette with a full-sized refrigerator, sink, cooktop and is fully stocked with kitchenware, appliances and of course wine glasses. 

The Grumpy Mule, offers one of the biggest selections of Arizona craft beer in town as well as over 130 different varieties of wine.  Guests at the hotel can take beer and wine up to their rooms to enjoy and local patrons can pick up items to-go.

“We definitely want to make the Prickly Pear Inn a destination, so we are not done adding things yet,” Paul said. “But right now, we are just setting back a little bit.”
They recently purchased a bar liquor license and hope to be serving drinks at the plaza by next season, and also opened up a meeting room that is available for rent at the hotel for private events that can also facilitate weddings.

Currently the hotel is setup for nightly, weekly and monthly accommodations, if you want more information about the Prickly Pear Inn and the Grumpy Mule, or want to make room reservations visit,