Miraval Arizona: Pioneers in Wellness
Experience a digital detox and the powers of mindfulness at this renowned resort
Felicity—a 20-something travel lover—has teamed up with her friends from around the world to provide readers with local, insider knowledge of today’s most awe-inspiring destinations. Through writing, photography, and video, they’ll share the best tricks and tips for experiencing a place authentically and getting off the beaten path.
While I’m hardly expressing a revolutionary thought here, life in the digital age can be EXHAUSTING. Even if I briefly lose my phone I feel untethered, as though my only connection to the world has been lost. Of course, the horrifying irony is that it works the other way around: our devices means we often forget to notice the living, breathing, real world that surrounds us. Noticing that means true connection to the world, and there's a place in Arizona that can help you achieve it.
And then some.
Image: ShutterstockMiraval Arizona is a renowned wellness resort with a mission to “inspire a life in balance through mindfulness,” a.k.a. “getting all of us off our darn phones and paying proper attention.”
Miraval seems to have read my mind when it comes to desires for a truly relaxing getaway. I want to be active; I want to relax; I want to learn about myself, others, and the world; I want to feel better after my trip than before I left (none of this “I need a vacation from my vacation!” business); I want to eat well; and ultimately, I want to temporarily step out of life’s general madness. Miraval offers all of this and more, plus plenty of things you don’t yet know you need.
While self-care and wellness are relatively new concepts to many people, Miraval Arizona has been sharing them with the world for years. Having opened in 1995, they’ve now been leading and innovating in the field for almost a quarter century. Here’s more about this groundbreaking resort and its many offerings:
The LocationAlthough mindfulness can be practised anytime, anywhere—a subway platform, for example—it’s understandably most enjoyable when the environment is expansive and extraordinary. Miraval Arizona’s 400 acres of wild rural land are just that; located north of Tucson in the foothills of the Santa Catalina range, there are palms, cacti, scrubby desert brush, and rocky land that rolls towards mountains that often glow pink at sunrise and sunset.
While temperatures at the height of summer might genuinely melt me (June is the hottest month, averaging around 100℉), the October to May temperatures range between 65℉ and 95℉, which seem perfectly reasonable.
Digital DetoxAt Miraval Arizona, you’ll first be treated to a digital detox. Mind you, it’s not voluntary; their digital device-free environment policy requires that you put your phone into—no joke—a sleeping bag they provide so you can “give it a rest.” I immediately pictured my phone being zipped into a tiny, down-filled Sierra Designs bag, and while the sleeping bag is not quite that fancy, the point here is that you get a break from the internet.
The resort has 146 casita-style rooms, suites, and villas that offer “consciously designed comfort in a healing environment.” Designed by the famed Clodagh firm, the colors of Miraval were inspired by the stunning, multi-tonal desert landscape surrounding it.
The SpaNot to be missed is the resort’s award-winning “Life in Balance Spa,” which is essentially 30,000-square-feet(!) of bliss. There are 23 indoor and 6 outdoor treatment rooms; saunas; hot tubs; steam rooms; an “Aqua Zen” pool; an outdoor sea salt pool; manicure and pedicure stations; a spa solarium with an outdoor patio; and much more. Think of any and all treatments you’d like to have done (seriously, any), and chances are they will do it.
Because no dream getaway is complete without really good food, there are multiple options for guests, including a private dining facility. The main dining room is the Cactus Flower Restaurant, which takes an artful approach to its healthy, seasonal, and locally-sourced dishes. There’s also a cafe, lounge, and poolside bar keep you satiated through the day. If you’re worried (with all this wellness) that it’ll be impossible to get a pastry and/or cocktail, worry not! They have plenty of those, too.
Classes and Services
Ok, now it’s time for the things that excite me the most: Miraval’s seemingly endless opportunities learning about and experiencing different forms of creativity, fitness, meditation, healing, and more. The resort offers more than 120 complimentary wellness activities, lectures, and fitness classes PER WEEK. Honestly, the diversity and density of their calendar astounds me.
Because I’d be writing (and you reading) for many days if I listed them all, here’s a highlight reel of what’s on offer. Over just a few days at Miraval Arizona, you could:
- Paint a horse (yes, a horse)
- Saddle up and go for a trail ride
- Receive an Ayurvedic treatment
- Get your hair done
- Take part in a gluten-free baking workshop
- Participate in a Himalayan Sound Bath
- Go mountainbiking
- Have a private session with a certified counselor
- Experience floating meditation
- Go on a photography hike with a professional photographer
- Be very, very happy in a workshop called “Appreciating Chocolate”
- Visit the Miraval hives with resident beekeeper Noel Patterson and learn all about bees
- Take a nutrition course aimed at curbing inflammation through food
- Take a cooking class like “The Secret Art of Sauces” or “Mindful Menu Planning”
- Hike with a guide both on and off Miraval’s property
- Try slacklining
- Climb up the climbing wall
- Practise aerial yoga
- Get your fitness on with a Bodyweight HIIT session
- Work with a personal trainer
AND SO MUCH MORE. Seriously, that’s just the tip of this wellness iceberg.
Miraval Arizona has mastered the art of bespoke wellness. Every last guest on their property has a unique experience, and (after being reunited with their phones) will take a whole new set of skills back to the ‘real world’ with them. Miraval is not just a retreat—it's an education, a sustaining force, and #1 on my Must-Visit list for 2020.
Hotels We Adore
Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa
5000 E. Via Estancia Miraval, Tucson, AZ, United States
- US$100 Resort credit per person, per stay and a Miraval Journal
- Complimentary Buffet breakfast for two daily
- Early check-in upon availability
- Basic Wi-Fi