My love for spa’s started after my second son was born. He cried for hours each night and I remember thinking that I needed to go somewhere very quiet! About a year later, I discovered the restorative and rejuvenating benefits of a spa vacation.
Miraval Arizona is one that consistently makes all of the “Top Destination Spas” list and my husband and I were lucky enough to be invited on a corporate trip to experience it first hand. My husband never been to a destination spa before and assumed they would be female-focused (true for many of them). We discovered, however, that Miraval has a fairly balanced ratio of men to women.
Nestled at the base of the Catalina Mountains in Tuscon, Arizona, Miraval offers striking views of the desert landscape and immediate access to gorgeous hiking and biking. Each morning we started the day with a hike at 6:30 am, just in time to catch the sun rising over the hills. There is no unguided walking at the resort as it’s too easy to get lost in the canyons.
Miraval has luxurious single-level casitas with a Southwest motif and a fireplace. The highlight of these charming rooms is the bed; Miraval is focused on providing a truly amazing bed, complete with fine linens, feather bed and many pillows. You sink in and never want to get out after a long day of activity. As you walk the grounds, there is wildlife all around, from birds, to lizards and the local javelinas (they look like wild pigs).
The spa and fitness center are beautifully done. I liked that it’s smaller than some of the other destination spas I’ve experienced. On most occasions I was the only one in the Jacuzzi and steam room.
Sports & Services
Miraval has a broad selection of sports, classes and services to choose from. The sports range in level and unlike other spas where the sports offered aren’t adventurous enough for us, here, we found plenty of challenge. We pushed ourselves out of our comfort zone while doing the zipline and mountain biking. The zipline reminded me how much I miss that little excitement that’s simply not not available in our our quiet Boston suburb.
The mountain biking is nerve-wracking, but really fun. My husband landed in a cactus on one outing — this is not the “pampered” version! I was terrified, but exhilarated to push myself and discover that I could do it.
There’s an unlimited amount of services. I love their Thai massage with a heavenly combination of stretching and bodywork. I also got buffed and polished with a facial and body scrub. All delightful!
Let’s be clear, the days of severe calorie restriction at destination spas are long gone. You have healthy food options presented, and you can eat as much or as little as you like. The point is to demonstrate healthy versions of meals that inspire better eating habits and portion sizes.
This was a big issue for my husband up front. He loves eating and typically has two dinners each night (he’s blessed with a crazy high metabolism). He’s not interested in being hungry and wasn’t … At meals he ordered a couple entrees and found that he enjoyed the food and was satisfied.There is also plenty of coffee and alcohol available.
Miraval is focused on Mindfulness, the practice of living in the moment. Throughout the stay you’ll find that there is a unique focus on bringing your awareness to the moment and just being.
During the activities, guiding questions help you identify emotions that you might not even be aware that you have in play. Additionally, Miraval offers specialized Native American experiences (Sweat lodge, spirit journeys, Native American yoga) and the Equine Experience (become one with the horse without even getting on).
Is Miraval for you?
Basically, this is a luxury destination spa that’s perfect for those that want to exercise and relax, but not go over-the-top on the “spa” experience — you can still have alcohol and excellent food, and there isn’t a constant stream of classes and information sessions. If you already fit, you’ll still find plenty of challenging activities here. Finally, the balance of men to woman here makes it much more comfortable for couples.
Note: Tucson is beautiful, but it takes a little longer to fly there with multiple connections. We prefer flying directly into Phoenix and then renting a car and driving to Tucson.
Amie’s top 5 babymoon destinations on Two and a Half Travelers