2010 Press Clippings
"Resort Review: Miraval Arizona -A Desert Retreat" by Katherine Bond
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:
Rainbow Dining: 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.
"Miraval Resort: Executive Chef Chad Leuthje" by Alia Akkam
Growing up, Chad Leuthje regularly ate “food the other kids didn’t have.” Miso soup, sprouts, seaweed. “I thought bringing a rice cake with peanut butter and honey for lunch was a tragedy compared to a turkey sandwich,” he recalls. It turns out his parents’ predilection for nourishing cuisine was fate. The sun-kissed Luethje–light hair, light eyes, bright smile—looks right at home at Miraval, Tucson’s legendary feel-good resort, where he’s held court as Executive Chef at the Cactus Flower Restaurant for over two years, since his arrival from Red Mountain Spa in Utah. “I used to think spa food was bland, that it had no salt and no color. I was shocked by what healthy, good food could taste like,” Luethje reveals. At Miraval, the chef’s fresh, elegantly prepared dishes, savored each day on the coveted tranquil patio, may include chilled mint peach soup, Sonoran spice-rubbed fish with fire-roasted pineapple salsa, or blueberry torte. When guests learn how few calories are in each of Luethje’s recipes, they are shocked, yet his cooking only complements the resort’s balanced approach to wellness—discovering self-awareness in the Equine Experience, guided meditation, birds chirping as bodies are slicked with Arctic berry cream in one of the spa’s outdoor treatment rooms. Leuthje says Miraval’s magical setting offers constant inspiration in the kitchen: “We grow amazing peaches in the middle of the desert, and when you taste the agave nectar here, you instantly know its roots. Surrounded by cacti and mesquite makes it that much easier to create.”
"We Want to Live Here" by Travel Girl
When I found out my friend/J Public Relations teammate, Molly Leibowitz, was visiting Miraval, the ultimate destination spa in Tucson, Arizona, I was excited for her, and insanely jealous at the same time. I visited Miraval over five years ago, and, to this day, it is still one of the most profound trips of my life. One of Oprah’s favorite places, Miraval is a serene oasis, where a combination of sensational spa treatments and positive mindfulness can truly change your life. I could use a trip right about now.
XOXO Travel Girl
Miraval, or as I like to call it Miracle, is tucked away down a dirt road in the heart of Oro Valley, Tucson, Arizona. Miraval is an amazing all-inclusive retreat, with a an award-winning spa and stunning views of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The minute I drove through the gates and got out of my car, I started to breathe smoothly. My normal, short, quick, New York breathes, as I like to call them, became deep and slow.
On my walk to the spa, I passed no less than four streams and saw a little cotton-tailed bunny. The feeling that had come over me was one of calmness. If I had my father’s blood pressure machine handy, I’m sure it would have proven that my blood pressure had dropped a few notches. I received the nurture treatment, Miraval’s new and most complete body renewal ritual. The treatment is a six-part ritual featuring all organic products from Red Flower. The best way I can describe the treatment is as a facial for the body. My therapist informed me that the treatment is great for the lymphatic system and enhances skin elasticity and reduces toxins. The first part of the treatment is an exfoliation process, then you are escorted to your own private shower to rinse off. The shower might be my favorite part of the treatment, for the shear fact that you are in an outside shower made of wood. During the whole treatment, you are in your own little casita, so you feel extremely secluded in nature.
"Spring Forward" by Janet Thomas
Tell me again why I might want to ‘defy my comfort zone’ by climbing to the top of a 25-foot pole and jumping off,” I said to the encouraging staff member when I visited Miraval Arizona a few years ago. Whatever she said didn’t convince me, because I defied my comfort zone in other, more-sane-to-me ways, like trail running, hiking, and mountain biking, followed, no doubt, by a deep-tissue massage.
Part heart-pumping, take-it-to-the-next-level fitness and part intense pampering and relaxation, today’s multiday destination spas are a compelling way to kick off a new year and put some spring, well, in your spring. Resorts like Miraval in Tucson, Arizona; Rancho La Puerto in Baja California, Mexico; and Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, Texas, are all prime examples. I think the growing trend of health- and fitness-focused vacations and the infusion of more fitness options at spas and hotels in general is an excellent direction for the industry. Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa in Miami Beach, for example, has a 70,000-square-foot spa and wellness facility with 54 treatment rooms and services that integrate nutrition, fitness, and preventative care.
"Kudos: Resort Supports Clients and Travel Agents" by Janis Hough
Many posts on Consumer Traveler are about problems or airlines, hotels and car rental companies treating consumers and/or travel agents badly. But, this week I had a resort, Miraval Resort and Spa, make an exception that benefited both my clients and the agency. So figured I would share a good story for a change. The client in question is a very occasional traveler, but a relative of one of my best clients. She had emailed to ask about flights and a four-night spa vacation in Tuscon. I spoke to Miraval Resort, and found out that not only did they have rates that fit my client’s budget, they were offering a fifth night free.
In addition, as part of a consortium program our agency belongs too, the hotel was including a free gift and an upgrade if available on check-in. I did not mention the last two things to the client, figuring it would be a nice surprise. The client was very appreciative for the help, but emailed me to say, “Thank you so much, I called them and booked this morning.” (She didn’t want to put me to any extra trouble.)
But most hotels, the Miraval Resort included, pay travel agents. Besides the fact that with her direct booking she wouldn’t be eligible for the upgrade and the gift. So, not expecting much, I contacted the hotel and explained what had happened. And they immediately replied that if she called and approved it they would let our agency take over the booking. Which when I in turn explained the situation to the client, she was happy to do.