2011 Press Clippings
"Miraval Rakes in Awards" by Phil Villarreal
Miraval Resort and Spa has hauled in the most awards from readers of travel magazines and websites than at any time in its 16-year history. Its accolades include top-10 rankings in various categories in Trip Advisor, Travel + Leisure and SpaFinder, as well as a No. 21 ranking in Condé Nast Traveler. Miraval president and general manager Michael Tompkins credits the success to the resort's strategy of investing during tough times rather than slashing personnel and services. Although the company did lay off 13 employees in 2008, Tompkins says the move was more about restructuring than cutting back.
The formula for success: In addition to consistently excellent service and low staff turnover, Tompkins says a major reason Miraval has found more success with reader-voted awards is the work of marketing supervisor Lauren Bloch, who oversees social media activity. "People are using electronic media for just about everything when they travel," Tompkins says, crediting social media for helping Miraval receive recognition from competitions in which it never had much success, such as Trip Advisor. Using Twitter, Facebook and other sites, Miraval has been able to expand its marketing reach, pitching special deals and sales to travelers who follow the destination spa online. Tompkins also says new services like Taiz Sensorium, which lets guests feel the physical vibrations of live music as they lie on massage tables, are turning heads. A reporter from The Wall Street Journal recently visited the spa to write about the service, he says.
"At Arizona's Miraval Spa, Visitor's First Time is a Charm" by John Muncie
The setting for this lesson in horsemanship was a dusty paddock at Miraval, a luxurious adventure spa outside Tucson. Restoring your mind and soul as well as your body is Miraval's philosophy. So, along with the usual massages, facials and Zumba dance classes, you can book a shamanic healing (complete with drumming and acupuncture), practice Chi Gong, experience a Shuniya sound ceremony, learn the art of guided imagery and have a horse enhance your self-esteem. Miraval lies in the boulder- and saguaro-strewn foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, 25 miles north of the city. Along with treats such as smoothies and suspiciously caloric cookies, the spa's central Palm Court features sign-up sheets for power walking, yoga, bird watching, nature photography, drumming, mountain biking and other activities. In keeping with its self-discovery theme, the spa also offers climbing/jumping/high-wire activities designed to help you embrace your fears. Their titles give you the acrobatic flavor: "Desert Sky Zipline," "Desert Tightrope," "Quantum Leap," "Giant's Ladder" and "Swing and a Prayer."
"The Holiday Traveler" by Mae Manacap-Johnson
As for Miraval, the destination spa resort will introduce a new package this season called "Holiday Escape" which will include a new spa treatment and discounts to its Raindance Pass Boutique, just to name a few. "Our guests tend to gravitate towards treatments that help manage and relieve stress," Tompkins observes, "We've introduced many fusion treatments in the last year that combine complimentary modalities and are designed to relieve stress and recharge the mind and body". Trendsetting an innovation, according to him, are two factors that heavily shape their new treatments. "We continually compile feedback from guests and often develop our new products and treatments to reflect their needs," he adds.
To help draw in more travelers-at-heart, Miraval partnered with national Geographic Expeditions and Lindbald Expeditions last year to ongoing and one-of-a-kind offerings for its adventure loving guests. The experience includes in-depth explorations, a series of photography workshops wherein guests set out on a daily excursions to capture the grandeur of the Sonoran Desert on digital camera and a 17-day expedition aboard the National Geographic Explorer which departed last May and toured the Azores and Madiera islands along Portugal, the Canary Islands in Spain and Isles of Scilly in England. "We are always looking for partners who have like-minded communities and guests and consumers. Nation Geographic Expedition is an ideal partner for us because, like Miraval, they are committed to giving their guests life-changing experiences," Tompkins says. Part of this life-changing experience is the Skill@Sea program wherein, guests, along with a Miraval Specialist and a team of expedition leaders, learn Breathwork, Yoga, Meditation and Mindful Stress Mastery while sailing the high seas.
"A Tale of Two Spas" by Sue Giles
If you don’t know where you’re headed, you might head right past the entrance to Miraval Resort & Spa. It’s unobtrusive, a bit off the road. Once you gain admittance at the gate, however, the scene becomes dramatic: flowing waterfalls, swaying palms, imposing mountains and green everywhere. It’s enough to prompt a wow, albeit a serene one. The key word at Miraval is mindfulness and this permeates everything — from fitness classes to the feeling that envelops you as you walk around the grounds. No glitz, rococo or velvet here. Instead, the understated elegance in décor and architecture allows the surroundings to immerse you in nature’s beauty.
On a recent visit, I was placed in one of 16 new “green” suites — huge and luxurious, with an outdoor shower that’s a kick to experience. All the rooms at the resort are typically larger than what you’ll find at many Five-Star accommodations and the amenities are top-notch: linens with an astonishing thread count, feathery duvets, cozy robe, refrigerator, plasma TV, computer hook-up. So, what do you do during a day at Miraval? If you’re adventurous, you’ll head to one of the offerings such as Desert Tightrope (you traverse a cable 35 feet high in the air, using only a series of hanging ropes for balance); Face-to-Face (move in pairs across cables suspended 30 feet off the ground); Swing and a Prayer (swing from a 35-foot pole); or Quantum Leap (leap from a 35-foot pole). If, however, you decide to pass on leaping here or climbing there, you’re bound to hear all about it from someone seated next to you at lunch.
But don’t think you have to be very young or über fit to make every moment count. You might choose to while away the hours in a horizontal position, sampling some of the 160 spa offerings such as Nurture Body Renewal Ritual — touted as Miraval’s most complete body renewal ritual. This 100 minutes of sheer indulgence is divided into six parts: first the therapist brushes your skin with a loofah, then exfoliates with bioactive white peat enzymes, sea minerals and antioxidant berries. Don’t ask me who dreamed up that concoction, but it feels — and smells — great. Next, the therapist stimulates your lymphatic system with a masque of mushrooms and phytonutrients (again, who knew?) And a shower follows. Then, some sort of berry-oil serum is applied, followed by the trump card: a full body massage with Arctic berry milk cream. You might think you’d get hungry during a scented extravaganza such as Nurture, but the sheer amount of food you’ve sampled in the dining room or snack bars will help you soldier on. And speaking of food, breakfast is scrumptious: a printed menu of selections plus a smorgasbord of everything from fruit to muffins to oatmeal to granola to eggs. More decisions await at lunch, and before you know it, the tempting ingredients on the dinner menu are calling to you. Ah, but wait…before you dine, there’s a cocktail hour with munchies and booze. Highlighted cocktails rotate and might be, for instance, the Prickly Pear Lemon Drop Martini, described thusly: “Because prickly pear is sweeter than table sugar, a little goes a long way, making it a great mixer for a low-calorie cocktail. And prickly pear has been used for centuries in the Southwest to treat digestive problems.”
"Billionaires gather in Arizona" by Donna Gordon
What do dozens of American billionaires talk about when they get together? Their topic this week was of course money; not how to make it, but how to give it away. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said Friday that a private gathering was a great chance for the billionaires who have pledged to give away at least half their wealth to meet each other, compare notes, eat and laugh. The media was banned from Thursday's first meeting of the group that has accepted the giving challenge by Buffett and his friend Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Since last June, 69 individuals or couples have made the giving pledge. Buffett knew only about 12 of the 61 people at the dinner at the Miraval Resort in Tucson before the famously gregarious Berkshire Hathaway CEO worked the room and made 40 new friends. "They all more than fulfilled my expectations," Buffett told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said she was delighted by the openness of the virtual strangers. At one point, conversation at her table drifted toward the biggest mistakes people had ever made as philanthropists.
"The Giving Pledge's First Annual Retreat" by Luisa Kroll
Nearly half of the 69 who have taken the Giving Pledge met up at the Miraval resort in Tucson, Arizona on Thursday and Friday for the group’s first annual gathering, according to its organizers.
UPDATE: The attendants, all of whom are quite wealthy, were guests of AOL founder Steve Case and his wife Jean who own the resort and were hosts of the event along with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. The two richest Americans, Gates and Buffett, who are friends, started the Giving Pledge last year to encourage America’s wealthiest to commit the majority of their fortunes to charity. Some well known billionaires who have signed up – a number of whom had already given away big parts of their fortune before joining – including New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the world’s two youngest billionaires Dustin Moskovitz and Mark Zuckerberg.
The event’s organizers would not disclose the list of the attendees out of respect for their privacy but a couple who Forbes had heard planned to attend in addition to the three above included Lorry Lokey and Jeff Greene, who ran for senate in Florida last year.
"The 10 Most Slimming Vacations" by Karen Asp
The peaceful desert setting at Miraval will inspire your sweat sessions; all meals are under 450 calories.
An exhilarating zip-line trip through the desert. A flavorful, grass-fed beef tenderloin under 350 calories. The premier integrative-wellness program founded by mind-body guru Andrew Weil. These are just a few of the reasons why Miraval snagged the top spot. "You leave there feeling lighter in spirit and slimmer in your waistline," says Melisse Gelula, one of our panelists and co-founder of Well & Good NYC, a healthy-lifestyle Web site. Food-wise, dishes are portion-controlled, locally sourced, and delicious.
"Miraval Celebrates Oprah Giveaway with Spa Girlfriend Getaway Package" by Anitra Brown
One of my favorite Oprah shows of all time was when Oprah took her best friend Gayle and sixty other women to her favorite spa, Miraval in Tuscon. Apparently it was one of Oprah's favorite shows, too. "25 Years of Oprah and Gayle's All-Time Best Adventures," which aired Wednesday, April 22, 2011, culminated with Oprah and Gayle reminiscing about "A Swing and A Prayer." It's one of the spa's signature experiences and was a real challenge for Gayle, to Oprah's great amusement. (That's me getting ready to swing in the photo --- and boy, was I in for a surprise.)
It was a good day to be in the audience. Everyone was a set of best friends ("besties," Oprah called them) and received a two-night, all-inclusive stay at Miraval they could enjoy together, just like Gayle and Oprah. And she called it "the best spa in the country," high praise indeed! In keeping with the spirit of the giveaway, the resort is offering everyone the Miraval's Girls' Getaway package, which includes: Luxurious, casita-style accommodations, starting in a deluxe room, A $130 resort credit, per person, per night of stay to spend on spa services, a private session with a Miraval Specialist, Chef's Dinner, the Zip-line adventure, trail rides or a round of golf, Complimentary Miraval Spa Robe, All your healthful and flavorful meals, snacks, smoothies and non-alcoholic beverages, Unlimited participation in daily self-discovery programs including all fitness and yoga classes; lectures; the signature Miraval Equine Experience; cooking demonstrations; outdoor adventure and challenge activities like A Swing and A Prayer (which Gayle said she will never do again), Full access to Miraval's extensive resort amenities, beautiful golf courses and tennis facilities, Complimentary round-trip transportation from the Tucson International Airport, Welcome Gift of a Miraval tote bag & reusable water canteen per guest.
"Just Deserts" by Georgina Ray
One would think that a residence whose back yard is the Santa Catalina Mountains would be compelling enough, but this Tucson Adobe borrows more than stunning views from its setting: It borrows a whole philosophy. Situated on the grounds of the famed Miraval Resort & Spa, the facility's message of reinvention is one that echoes loudly within the walls of the contemporary villa, and that according to architect Antonio Pares, of Seattle-based Mithun, was intentional. "The idea that an emotional connection to the desert brings transformation in an individual was the central theme," he says. "It was about creating a holistic environment that invites the homeowner to fall in love with the world outside." And, while the desert landscape is certainly awe-inspiring, the world the design team created inside is equally deserving of devotion. Natural materials, inspired by and often taken from the home's environ, act as a winning backdrop to the comfortable and elegant furnishings selected by interior designer Clodagh, of New York City's Clodagh Design. A sandy palette complements the rammed earth walls (created from soil from the building site), mud bricks and natural quartzite flooring throughout and lends the interiors a relaxed, yet elegant vibe by creating a visceral extension of the view beyond the living room's pocketing glass doors. " We wanted to go beyond the owner's expectations to create an experience that would linger in the guests' minds and invoke nostalgia," says Clodagh. "We wanted to capture the spirit of the desert."
"Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa" by Spa Magazine
There are spa and there is Miraval. Some trips take you places you've never been before, even to destinations dew other have ever seen. A stay at Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa offers the most exclusive getaway one can imagine - a journey unique to everyone who visits. Set at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Miraval is a desert oasis that caters to complete tranquility. A top-rated all inclusive destination retreat, this sanctuary is so adored it's visited by jet-setters, A-list celebrities, and industry insiders.
Unwind and reflect. A focus on healthy living drives every aspect of the serene atmosphere. Savor the gorgeously flavorful cuisine that's every bit as healthy as it is delicious. Take part in unlimited opportunities to reflect, learn and grow from Miraval's Clue-In self-discovery activities. Whether it's the Desert Sky Zipline, The Equine ExperienceTM, Drumming Circle, Quantum LeapTM, Miraval has a breadth of activities that make your heart pump and your head re-think.