2012 Press Clippings
"Life in Balance" by Herb Stratford
Rejuvenate mind, body and spirit at Miraval Resort and Spa. From cooking classes to zip lines and confidence courses, this desert retreat pushes the boundaries of the traditional resort experience. You'll find group trail rides on horseback, for example, yet Miraval Resort and Spa goes further by offering a guided equine workshop in which the horse serves as your own personal life coach.
Every enrichment and relaxation opportunity is inspired by Miraval's "life in balance" mantra. Classic amenities include golf, tennis, yoga, and Pilates, but guests can increase inner strength with the Andrew Weil, MD, Integrative Wellness Program, or reserve a private session with a member of Miraval's extensive staff of health and wellness specialists.
"Top Team: Miraval" by Liz Terry
When Miraval celebrated the opening of its new Life in Balance Spa with Clarins earlier this year, it was an important milestone for the top team. We talk to them about how their strategy in the face of recession has been a springboard to greater things.
AOL founder, Steve Case, purchased Miraval through his company Revolution in 2004 from founders and co-owners, Bill O'Donnell and George Ruff- allegedly after having failed to strike a deal for the purchase of Canyon Ranch. Philippe Bourguignon- formerly at Club Med, EuroDisney and Davos- joined in in 2006, becoming CEO of Miraval in 2009.
The resort had its best year ever in 2007 and then recession struck. The top team's response was to re-focus on innovation, ensure they were optimising the resources they had and then to push forward with infrastructure investment, while controlling spending. The aim was to come out of the recession in the best shape possible.
The team also created strategic partnerships with Dr. Andrew Weil, who has a clinic at the resort, National Geographic Expeditions and most recently Clarins, which has lent its name to the latest investment- the Life in Balance Spa with Clarins. The aim of these partnerships has been to find synergies between like businesses.
On the development front, Miraval teamed up with designer Clodagh and architect Mithun to add 16 suites, and 16 villas to the resort- eight owned by Exclusive Resorts [a Revolution company] and eight private. The two-beds sold at US$2.2m (€1.6m £1.3m), and the three-beds at US$3m (€2.3m £1.9m)- well above the rate for the local Tucson area, according to Bourguignon. The resort's kitchen and restaurant have been refitted, while the new spa- created from the shell of the old by a radical US$5m (€3.8m £3m) refurbishment and redesign- is the long-anticipated icing on the cake.
"Western Landmark" by Shari Morrison
In the High Sonoran Desert of Tucson, Arizona, Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa spreads across 400 acres at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Born in 1996 as an integrated resort, its mission to participate in its guests' well-being by offering a choice of programs and experiences has proven to be a winning ideal.
Individuals and families come to relax and renew, and leave with a new sense of body, mind and spirit. Guest departing Miraval report "life-changing, transformative stays" from their time in the serene and calming environment. Others describe their experience as "unforgettable" and "a slice of paradise."
"A Delicate Balance" by Nicole Altavilla
Founded in 1995 with the simple vision that life is more meaningful and enjoyable when physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual components are in balance, Miraval (Tucson, AZ) has become one of the most respected wellness destination resorts in the world. Situated on 400 acres of land near Tucson's Santa Catalina Mountains in the Sonoran Desert, Miraval offers guests the chance to become one with nature and themselves and to relax, refresh, and to learn to live and feel better. Miraval features a wide range of programs and experiences designed to help guests improve their overall wellbeing, including healthy fare, fitness classes, art and photography lessons, and pampering services at the newly renovated Miraval Life in Balance Spa with Clarins. "The Life in Balance Spa creates authentic experiences for guests through attention to detail and dedication to service in the areas of atmosphere and creating pure intention," says spa director Simon Marxer. "Each of these elements combine to create a unique and holistic experience tailored to the individual needs of each guest."
"Project Deconstructed: Miraval" by Alia Akkam
"Everything in a spa is about transition," says Clodagh. At the Miraval Life in Balance Spa with Clarins she designed earlier this year at Miraval Resort & Spa, the renowned self-improvement hideaway in Tucson, Arizona, this observation is immediately amplified upon entry.
Walking from the reception lounge towards the silence of the treatment rooms, across a "Japanese boardwalk" of sorts, she notes, "creates a sense of a bridge." The portal, outfitted in reclaimed wood, "leads you through to wellness."
A mélange of native herbs. An illuminated fire bowl. A trough of tactile pebbles. Sustainable materials lovingly crafted by artisans. There are myriad design components to Miraval's Life in Balance Spa with Clarins yet all of them holistically meld. "In a sense, the whole thing is a journey," says Clodagh.
"Desert Flower" by Gretchen Kelly
Although Oprah Winfrey was already a devoted fan of the Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa, majority owner—and AOL cofounder—Steve Case saw a need to exfoliate the property's inessentials to install a Clarins brand Life in Balance spa. Brought in to perform the treatment, Interior Design Hall of Fame member Clodagh realized: "This wasn't a hair and makeup job. It was drastic surgery." Fortunately Clodagh Design had already partnered with architecture firm Mithun in 2006 on the Sonoran Desert resort's master plan, so the team was already familiar with the 400-acre, wind-sculpted setting.
"A Spa In Balance" by Rona Berg
Mindfulness made its mark 16 years ago at the Miraval Life in Balance Spa in Tucson. From eating to working out, a mindful approach permeates every aspect of this beautiful desert retreat, where guests learn to better regulate the body, balance and emotions and recalibrate negative patterns that can cause stress, through mindful awareness.
So of course the approach to the new spa resign, six years in the making was mindful. Every little thing was thought through so clearly and consciously that it appears absolutely effortless. The new spa strokes just the right balance: It is not lavish or opulent, but it is luxurious. According to New York City-based designer Clodagh, of Clodagh Design, who worked on the project with the architectural firm Mithun, "It is everything you need. But nothing more than you need. It's not about design, it's about enhancing people's lives."
That may be true, but the design is breathtaking. And it's sustainable, with natural materials like wood, stone and stucco that frame the beauty of the surrounding Sonoran desert. "I wanted the outside to flow seamlessly in and the inside to flow out," says Clodagh. "There's a procession of transitions as you enter the space that affects you subliminally", she says, "making the invisible visible."
"A Harmonious Retreat" by Jessica Lawless
Tucson's Miraval Arizona Resort and Spa aims to give you more than a few days by the pool—the resort has classes and activities designed to bring your body and mind into alignment and send you home with a sense of peace.
Wellness is a huge focus at Miraval. World-famous Dr. Andrew Weil—he was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in 2005—serves as director of integrative health and healing at the resort. His time at Miraval is in addition to his duties at the University of Arizona's Program in Integrative Medicine at the College of Medicine, which he founded and directs, Weil facilitates workshops at the resort various times throughout the year, and will offer one on Oct. 24.
Miraval's devotion to health is evident in its cuisine; the resort's goal is to combine "textures and flavors that please the palate and respect the waistline," according to its website. The Cactus Flower restaurant, for instance, grows organic food ranging from cilantro to squash to chile peppers.
"French Twist" by Mary Bemis
Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa was letting loose during the opening weekend of its new spa facility, Miraval Life in Balance with Clarins, in May. Owners Steve and Jean Case were there (Steve cofounded America Online in 1985; the Cases purchased the majority share of Miraval in 2004), as were a host of celebrities and a bevy of attractive yoginis. Following a Native American blessing ceremony and a Tibetan-bowl concert, guests sipped Champagne by the pool and wandered in and out of the spa's 23 chic new rooms.
Seattle-based Mithun Architects and New York interior design firm Clodagh built the spa from an existing building, opening up walls to let light in and raising the ceilings. All treatment rooms are soundproof and equipped with lighting that can be controlled from an in-room iPad. A new, 1,700-square-foot VIP Suite includes a private garden, indoor and outdoor showers, and a hot tub for two.
"Time Stands Still at Miraval" by Gabrielle Fimbres
Drive through the gates at Miraval Resort & Spa and everything stops.
Life's constant rushing, worrying, texting, tasking. The rat race comes to a glorious and magnificent halt at Miraval.
Surrounded by inspiring mountain views, heavenly cobalt skies and heady desert perfume, visitors from around the glove journey to Miraval to feed the soul.
Tucked away at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains on 400 acres north of Tucson, Miraval has long been a favorite spot of celebrities and TV stars, from Dr. Ox and Ellen, to the Portland Trailblazers and billionaire philanthropists.
But with a brand new spa and plans for expansion, Miraval is finally getting noticed at home as well.
"Bringing the Best of Both Worlds" by Christine Schilling
What does it take to put together a remarkable spa experience and a menu inspired by a brand with a proven history in beauty and wellness? For Miraval Resort & Spa, which recently launched its new Life in Balance Spa with Clarins, it takes a strong partnership to bring the best of both worlds.
Miraval Resort & Spa CEO Michael Tompkins says, in many ways, the Miraval-Clarins partnership was a nice timely union. "Neither side reached out [to each other to start], I like to think that it was the universe that brought it all together," he says.
Just as Miraval Resort's management was working on a plan to update the spa in order to better position the brand when the economy recovers, Tompkins and his spa director were also seeking a new main skin-care line for the spa. "We looked at several lines and gave our three best selections to our staff of estheticians and massage therapists to test." The Staff, he says, chose Clarins for its efficiency, depth of selection and customization features.
For Clarins, the partnership couldn't have come at a better time. "At Clarins, we look for "Best in Class" partners and Miraval Resort [has long been] on our radar of desired partners," says Barry McCaffrey, nation sales director of Hotel & Spa Division at Clarins.
"Desert Flower", Photographs by Julian Braod, Fashion Editor: Isabel Dupré
If our grandfather was the founder of a global beauty and spa dynasty, we'd spend endless days lazing around the sauna. There might even be palm fronds involved. So it seemed perfectly fitting to find Claire Courtin-Clarins, 24, at—where else?–a spa.
"I was expecting to see a barren desert," she says of first setting eyes upon Miraval in Tucson, Arizona. "Instead, it was this lush landscape filled with life and character." The resort and spa, nestled in the Sonoran Desert, has long been a favored destination for well-scrubbed heels, but thanks to a new partnership with the French cosmetics company and much-hyped renovations, Miraval's newly opened Life in Balance Spa with Clarins is abuzz.
"A Refreshed Oasis" by Katie O'Reily
On a still, sun-drenched afternoon last May, Miraval, Arizona’s iconic “pleasurable wellness” mecca, gathered board members, loyal guests and press (DAYSPA included) to officially unveil its contemporary new Life in Balance spa facility. The poignant ceremony, set to the tune of Tibetan singing bowl beats and ancient Hopi chants, was a celebration in speeches and song. Sage aromatically burned while onlookers cheered, toasting the happy occasion with champagne (unlike your average health spa, Miraval accommodates indulgences like wine, lattes and cookies).
Company CEO Philippe Bourguignon enthusiastically thanked the spa’s staff—all of whom had operated out of a makeshift spa village for 10 months, helping to prepare the new spa—as well as the many designers and artists who’d had a hand in creating the serene new space, and representatives from Clarins, the French skincare company whose recent partnership with Miraval helped make the new facility possible. Bourguignon ended by noting that the new spa’s philosophy—“intuitive minimalism”—means providing “everything guests need, but nothing more.”
"There's No Place Like Om" by Sarah Crosland
Sure, Washington has a multitude of spas, but the first word that comes to mind when describing DC is hardly "relaxing." So, we were a little surprised—OK, shocked—when we learned that one of the most famous spa resorts in the country is run out of a Dupont Circle office, albeit oen belonging to Steve Case's Revolution. This month, the firm with deep roots in the health and wellness community reveals its multimillion-dollar addition to the Tucson, Ariz.-based Miraval. The brand-new Life in Balance Spa opens with the help of cult skin-care brand Clarins and a Frenchman who now calls the District home.
"Tranquility Base" by Stephanie Allmon
All I want the horse to do is kick up his darn hoof so that I can clean it.
But Tuffie is being stubborn. Or I'm not doing something right. Either way, nothing's happening.
I approach him again from the side, pat him gently on the back and coax him like a baby: "Come on Tuffie. Let me have your foot, please."
Nothing. Failure. Embarrassment.
A horse trainer-slash-wellness adviser walks to my side.
"Why are you rewarding him with a pat on the back when he's not doing what you want?" she asks. "Do you sometimes do it in your life?"
Oh, no, here it comes. Lump in my throat. Moistness in my eyes. The onset of an Oprah-style personal growth moment. Next thing I know, I'm confiding in a horse trainer about my perfection issues, my dread of embarrassment, my fear of failure.
"Set your intention," she tells me. "Be confident. Communicate to him you're in control."
I concentrate hard to do all that, and this time Tuffie kicks up his foot so that I can grab it and give him a good shoe-cleaning.
Exercises like this Equine Experience are all in a day's play at the famed Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa, where the mission is to give every guest opportunities for self-discovery, rejuvenation and body-mind-spirit connection.
"Sharon Stone Finds Serenity at Arizona's Miraval Resort & Spa" by Chanize
Miraval Resort & Spa has had besties Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King gush over it as the perfect girlfriend getaway locale, and this past May, blonde beauty Sharon Stone flew in to the desert oasis for a solo sojourn and the opening of the resort’s new Life in Balance Spa with Clarins.
The 54-year old bombshell mother of three has previously stayed at the adults-only resort with friends for a little R&R—impossible not to achieve thanks to the peaceful Sonoran desert atmosphere. This visit coincided with the debut of the Miraval’s new spa program which includes over 30 treatments using Clarins skincare products. Stone tried Nâga, a type of Thai massage where a therapist suspends you from silk sheets anchored on the ceiling and helps you into deep stretches while supporting your body. “That experience of laughing out your stress was wonderful,” she told Elite Traveler Magazine.
"Miraval Resort Shares 'Mindful-Eating' Approach in New Cookbook" by Karen Fernau
Good manners dictate eating with a knife, fork and spoon.
At Miraval Resort & Spa in Tucson, chefs encourage eating with a tool never to grace a table: your mind.
This resort, which packages luxury and health, subscribes to the concept of "mindfulness."
Mindfulness is a conscious approach to eating. It's about learning to identify hunger and allowing it to determine when you eat. It's about fresh ingredients, local foods and flavor.
After 16 years of dishing up mindfulness, Miraval's staff now shares its philosophy and recipes in the resort's first cookbook, "Mindful Eating."
This 291-page celebration of food purports to "share the secrets of our kitchen and take the mystery out of creating delicious, beautiful, nutritious meals."
The idea for the cookbook, published this month, was the result of Miraval diners asking for recipes.
"Miraval Resort & Spa" by A. Rudin
Over a quarter of a million guests have come to Miraval since its opening in 1995, seeking not merely massages and facials, but a path to self improvement and life change. Over the course of its sixteen year history, Miraval has become the top-rated destination spa in the United States; winning endless magazine awards and praise from Hollywood’s top stars. This May, Miraval unveils a new “Life in Balance Spa with Clarins” designed to transform guests both physically and emotionally using nurture, rest and renewal.
"Miraval" by Dorothy Weiner
It's a real testament to my destination that lost luggage, a forgotten camera and a de-magnetized room key barely fazed me. That destination was Miraval, a spa near Tucson with palpable It's all good aura.
Just shy of an hour's ride from the Tucson airport, Miraval is nestled in the foothills of the Santa Catalina mountain range. Everywhere—the dining room, the spa, the gym, the residences—expansive windows open onto views of sandy-peaked mountains and the pastel colors they mirror from sky and desert. How can you not tune into the wonders of life amid all that?
Even the spa's size, 117 guestrooms, seems to be by design, so as not to intrude too much on Mother Nature. That makes sense, considering the abiding mission at Miraval is mindfulness. The unexamined life is not worth living, is the first thing that greets you at the entrance, inscribed on a statue of Albert Einstein. And truly, if the only thing you take home with you is heightened awareness—of nature, of the people in your life, of priorities—your Miraval visit will be a success. Because everything else you think you want from a spa stems from this.
"Weekend Breakthrough" by Aaron Rasmussen
After finally gathering the courage to break free from a bad work
situation that had gone on way too long, I discovered that I was craving change in more areas than just the workplace. I had a surplus of time and nothing to lose. For one weekend, I chose to forgo my usual habit of big travel with close friends to spend a few days at the 400-acre, all-inclusive Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa in Tucson. I was interested in the “Clue-In” self-discovery and development courses, which ranged from Mindful Stress Mastery to Oprah Winfrey’s favorite, Swing and a Prayer. In a letter to new guests, Miraval owner (and AOL co-founder) Steve Case wrote, “You can do as much or as little as you like.”
Once I checked in, I was leaning toward the latter. As I looked over the list of courses that I was scheduled to participate in over the next two days, I got nervous. In my fervor to reorder my life, everything I had signed up to do seemed way outside my comfort zone now that I was actually here.
"Top destination Spa: Miraval in Tucson, AZ" by Katherine Stewart
Deep at the base of Northern Tucson’s Santa Catalina Mountains sits the iconic Miraval, a veritable oasis in the desert and mecca to spa-goers and wellness advocates since its opening in 1995. With its dizzying array of health and fitness activities, spa rituals, dietary offerings, impressive on-staff experts and even an Integrative Wellness Program created by health guru Dr. Andrew Weil, Miraval remains a standout among the many destination spas around the country. But it’s the wealth of opportunities for personal growth and creating lasting health improvements that catapult this spa to Top Honors status.
The name “Miraval,” in a loose translation from the Spanish, means “view of the valley.” But according to president and general manager Michael Tompkinson, Miraval also means the valley within. “Because of the speed of today’s world, and the multitasking that we all engage in, we rarely have the opportunity to stop and just be,” he says. “Miraval provides an opportunity to have that space, a chance for our guests to look at themselves and their lives in a different way, and to get a clearer indication of the direction they need to go.” The rugged mountains, breathtaking vistas and hardy desert flowers only serve to underscore the spa’s ethos of resilience, optimism and a sense of possibility. And Miraval’s core philosophy of self-discovery is reflected through its experience-based programming. “Programs such as The Energy Project, Mindful Stress Management and our outdoor challenge activities make each visit to Miraval an adventure of self-discovery,” says Tompkinson.
"In the Moment" by Jezebel
Life is a marathon. But unlike a punishing 26-miler, it’s the journey that matters most. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-in, day-out business of a busy life. If taking time to recharge seems impossible, hear this: Serenity is as easy as a quick trip to Tucson—home to a luxurious wellness outpost in the high northern desert of Arizona. Now let me start by writing that Miraval Resort & Spa—which, not surprisingly, sounds a lot like “miracle”—is not your typical destination spa. In fact, it’s not standard, period. Situated on more than 400 acres at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains, this flagship oasis peddles tranquility for the mind, body and soul. Throngs of spa-goers flock to this all-inclusive, top-rated destination spa resort, in large part urged on by its biggest and most enthusiastic endorser, Oprah, who for years has raved about its transformative powers.
A self-professed spa junkie, I had heard of Miraval and, eager to experience its uniqueness firsthand, made plans for a quick weekend getaway. (Note: Those with a full week available should book a longer stay. You’ll thank me. More time is needed to experience everything this all-encompassing destination offers.) Among the many exclusive programs Miraval touts are Clue-In self-discovery activities and classes, as well as Chill-Out spa services—all right in my wheelhouse. Indulgence, a live-life-in-the-moment core philosophy? Check me in! Come Thursday afternoon, I’ve had weeks of back-to-back deadlines, and I’m dying for a balance adjustment—one focused on workouts, spa treatments and almighty downtime (to reflect, reboot and revitalize). Included in my all-inclusive package are accommodations, classes, spa treatments and round-trip airport transfers. Wheels down produces a kind welcome from a Miraval driver, and from this point forward, all stress is behind me.