Resort Review: Some destination spas can pamper or pep guests up, but only the best shift souls. Miraval a desert retreat near Tuscon, Arizona, is such a spa that has nurtured, soothed and delighted patrons for nearly a decade. As Miraval claims, "You won't find you anywhere else." Here are my favorite moments at Miraval during a four-day stay:
It was monsoon season during my stay at Miraval, which means a 100-degree day was cooled to a balmy 80 with a downpour of stunning rain. One evening, my girlfriend and I noshed on light appetizers in the outdoor dining area while the rain dipped dry from cacti and dessert trees immaculately maintained on Miraval's 400 acre property. As we finished a double chocolate sponge cake, we watched a double rainbow arch over jagged distance mountains.
Miraval's menus are inventive and satisfying, hardly the "spa cuisine" lot which leaves you wondering where the rest of your calories are coming from for the day. What's more, guests are free to order as desired without worry of extra charges or tips. I liked midday treats-veggie packed smoothies and thick lattes from the Palm Court.
Tension and Tent
With more than 100 "Chill Out" spa services, Miraval makes it mark to ensure there's an untried spa service even for the most sated of spa goers. Guests have their daily pick (a spa treatment a day is included amenity during your stay) of Miraval's exotic and spiritual offerings, such as the Cranio-sacral, an Asian inspired headache relief treatment, and a Japanese Reiki, a hand energy practice. My daily picks always included an "Outdoor Essential," a treatment hosted in a private, climate controlled tent which allowed the desert's sounds to surround around me. What a difference the outdoors make! One afternoon, I drifted away to the sound of light thunder in the distance and the smell of fresh rain.
A Little Dancing Miraval boasts such an array of mind and body experiences, it's hard not to feel a bit pressured to try several offerings a day. Actually, Miraval's essence isn't one that pushes a hustle bustle schedule. Rather, I was encouraged to do whatever I fancied, which included early morning runs by myself and chats with guests as I floated in the pool buoyed by foam noodles. Still, how could I not go to a number of intriguing and plain fun classes and lectures offered? I loved the Holographic Memory Resolution talk and the posture perfecting class, "On the Ball." My girlfriend and I giggled during sessions of Zumba, a Latin dance sensation that had the whole class shimming across one of Miraval's fitness rooms.
Veteran guests I chatted with insisted that my girlfriend and I try Miraval's "signature" experience, the Equine Experience. One may think the spiritual aspects of picking debris from horse's hooves or whirling a lasso around a corral with a horse would be limited, but we were both moved. It's difficult to explain. Our guide, the founder of the program, was a rugged man with a huge, tough heart and a no nonsense philosophy on life. As part of Miraval's team of experts, he was exceptional, refreshing, and like no one I've met before.
An Outdoor Shower
Miraval's latest addition of accommodations, the Catalina Suites, are not to be missed. The 900 square foot uber modern spaces integrate with the desert landscape. These suites feature an entire glass sliding wall, offering stunning desert views. We loved the novel enclosed "outdoor" shower, a spacious area with no ceiling but for the stars and sun.