"Horses, swings, massages and meditation in the Arizona Desert" By Sarah Elbert
There are people who like to travel alone on vacation. They relish the fact that they're the masters of their own itineraries, along with the adventure of collecting friends on the journey. I'm not naturally one of these people, but now may be a convert.
"An Oasis in the Desert" by Michael Tompkins, CEO of Miraval Resort & Spa
Situated in the warm shade of the Santa Catalina Mountains in northern Tucson, Ariz., Miraval Resort & Spa is an award-winning destination spa and celebrity hideaway committed to helping guests develop and maintain a mindful, more present lifestyle. A peaceful and private place to relax, recharge and revitalize, Miraval offers dynamic growth and development programs, one-of-a-kind spa treatments and spa cuisine that is both flavorful and nutrious.
"Massaging Your Soul" by Jeremy Peters
"Arizonans like to brag of the state's five C's, copper, cotton, cattle, citrus, and climate. There should be a sixth: convalescence. The state has a booming economy of resorts and spas that cater to people seeking relaxation, restoration and a little Zen reassurance that everything will be just fine."
"The Mindful Vacation" by Jessica Muncrief
"These days it seems every day spa, resort, and fitness studio is touting the mind-body-spirit mantra. Yet what do you usually get? Two out of the three at best with visible results being the usual focus. But there is a place where nurturing the soul and gaining awareness of self are just as important as shaping up and looking younger. The mantra at Miraval Resort & Spa is mindfulness, a state of active, open attention in the present moment."
"Music to the Ears" by Heather Mikesell
"Guests can surrender to the sweet sound of relaxation with the Himalayan Sound Bath at Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa (Tucson). Led by master healer Pam Lancaster, the groundbreaking sound therapy session helps tune the body to its natural state, as the sound from ancient healing bowls radiates through the water. Guests float effortlessly in the spa's therapeutic pool and submit to the healing vibrations, which leave them feeling more grounded and connected to the world around them."
"Ten Reasons to Love Miraval" by Sheryl Kraft
Ever wonder what it would be like to spend a week at Miraval?
Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa is a destination spa that sits on 400 acres of pristine land near the Santa Catalina Mountains in Tucson, Arizona. It opened its doors in 1995 with the vision that life is more meaningful and enjoyable when the physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual components of a being are in place. It’s tough not to melt into its magic.
I’d always heard of Miraval as being Oprah’s favorite place. That, as you know, carries a lot of weight for many
But if I told you it was also my favorite place, would you pay as much attention? I hope so, because it is…and I’ll tell you why...
"Miracle at Miraval: The Best Alternative to Shoulder Surgery" by Stephen Kiesling
On Black Friday, I had no interest in shopping. I had lifted my growing niece and nephews too much over Thanksgiving and now couldn't even lift a credit card, let alone a present. Another rotator cuff tear, I figured. Another year of pain. Just sitting still the shoulder pain was five out of 10. Turing the steering wheel of my car, the pain hit 15.
...My wife and I went for three nights at Miraval Resort & Spa in Tucson. We had already scheduled the anniversary getaway and almost cancelled because I wouldn't be able to rock climb or do the challenge course or ride horses or play tennis. In fact, I couldn't do much of anything. So for three days I lived pretty much like a mushroom, holed up in the spa. And it was GLORIOUS!
I steamed, I soaked, and every so often I emerged from the various forms of hot water to be slathered in hot oil. I tried the "Ultimate Ayurvedic," and had the feeling that the warm oil poured on my forehead was grease for all of my joints.
"Spa News: Deborah Lippmann Launches First Nail Salon at Miraval" by Jackie Burns Brisman
I’m the first to say that when it comes to glitter polish there’s not one brand I’ve tried that can hold a candle to Deborah Lippmann (Happy Birthday is by far my fave polish for a fun night out!). So I was thrilled when I heard the big announcement that one of our favorite spas was going to be the home of Deborah Lippmann’s first ever nail salon! The brand new 350-square-foot salon is yet another reason to fall in love with Miraval’s Life in Balance Spa and each treatment was developed and taught to specialists by Deborah herself! “I grew up in Arizona, which as my home state holds a special place in my heart,” Deborah said.“I support the Miraval philosophy of Life in Balance – it’s something in which I very much believe.I have truly benefited from their teachings – learning to get to the root of things, releasing and letting go. The Miraval experience makes it so much more than just a spa.”
"Man's New Best Friend? The Power of Horse Therapy" by Vicki Santillano
At Miraval Resort & Spa, "horsing around" is part of the healing process. People flock from across the world to Tucson, Arizona's Miraval Resort & Spa to experience its renowned spa services and luxurious accommodations. But amidst the herbal body balancing, water massages, and myriad of other ways guests can pamper themselves, one of the most popular treatments involves no pampering whatsoever—in fact, it actually involves grooming horses.
Wyatt Webb, program creator, introduced the Miraval Equine Experience to guests in 1991, and it was a hit from the start. He'd seen the power of equine therapy when he counseled teenagers in the earlier years of his practice. "These kids didn't trust adults, they were impatient," he shares. "Standing next to a kid interacting with a horse, you could absolutely see their young lifetimes of learned behaviors." He realized that horses can act as "energetic mirrors" of doubts, fears, self-confidence issues, and other limitations that hold people back from living their best lives.
"Bring the Spa Home: Challenge Yourself with Miraval" by Peter Greenberg Online
Dreaming of a summer escape at the spa? Even if you can't afford that five-star resort, you can recreate the spa experience at home...and not just with a DIY facial. We're talking about complete relaxation as well as personal growth. One tool to check out is Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa's new Mindful Living Miraval, a month-by-month guide to help you more fully celebrate each moment of your life.
"The power of challenge is that it takes you beyond your day-to-day norm," says Neil McLeod, head of the Outdoor Adventure Program at Miraval. For Miraval guests, this can mean leaping from a plate-sized disk 25 feet in the air, working their way across a desert tightrope, or climbing an oversized ladder with rungs five feet apart. Almost anyone would admit that these activities go beyond the day-to-day norm, but Neil, who worked as a river-rafting guide and with Outward Bound before coming to Miraval, expands his definition of challenge to include "anything that gets you out of your personal comfort zone. For some people the Equine Experience is a challenge. For others it might be something like the Spirit Flight, or even taking a fitness class like Zen Boot Camp that's going to throw you into a completely different kind of workout than you'd get back home."
Condé Nast Traveler Hot List: The Best New Spas of 2013
"Miraval Life in Balance Spa with Clarins, Miraval Resort & Spa"
What: An out-there, New Agey destination that chases massages and facials with chakra-reading seminars, holographic memory visualization, and healing ceremonies led by spiritual leaders—along with sunrise horseback rides and sunset drum circles. Overheard at the lap pool: "I felt like that psychic got me immediately."
The look: Slick but earthy—slate floors, walls of windows overlooking the snowcapped Santa Catalinas, and open fireplaces. The spa, gym, and juice bar are surrounded by cacti and desert plants and have a bubbling hot tub and steaming pools.
"Reinvigorated!" by Beth Weitzman
Life is a marathon. But unlike a punishing 26-miler, the journey matters more than the finish. So if taking time to recharge seems "impossible," know this: Sourcing serenity is as easy as a quick trip to Tucson, Ariz., and a check-in to Miraval (miravalresorts.com). The luxurious destination spa lured me back, after two long years away, for the opening of its Life in Balance Spa With Clarins—the result of a new partnership between Miraval owners Steve and Jean Case (yes, the same Steve Case that co-founded AOL), and the namesake beauty brand. While it's likely you've been to this desert oasis—or have at least heard about it—erase your memories, as this ultramod addition exceeds all expectations.
Its mantra, "life-enhancing minimalism," informs all aspects of the revamped spa, and its luxurious environs a credit to renowned Mithun Architects and Clodagh Design. Stylish sustainability, shepherded along by a constellation of stunning indoor and outdoor spaces, seamlessly reconnects spa-goers to nature and nurture.
"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.
"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 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.
by Perry Garfinkel
Q. How did you choose a career as a massage therapist?
A. It wasn’t my first choice. I was born in the copper-mining town of San Manuel, Ariz. Everyone I knew — including my father, uncles and cousins — worked for the Magma Copper mines. I had wanted to go to college, but right after high school I married and was an expectant father at 18, so I went to work for the mines, eventually becoming a pipe fitter. My plan was to retire after 30 years with a nice pension package. That dream ended on June 22, 1999, when the supervisor announced that the mines would close because the price of copper had dropped so much.
Did they offer you an opportunity to work for another mine?
A social worker did suggest I could work for another mine, but I was afraid other mines would close, too. When I told her I wanted to study for a career helping people, perhaps as a massage therapist since I enjoyed working with my hands, she replied that as a Hispanic male I would never get hired at the spas in the Tucson area. But I never gave up. We have an expression in Spanish: Si, se puede — yes, you can.
by Mary Bemis
Opened in 1996, the Miraval Resort & Spa in Tucson, Ariz., was a pioneer in the world of wellness. But in the years since the 400-acre spa resort debuted, first-rate spas that in many ways surpassed Miraval's own facility have sprouted up in resorts and city hotels worldwide. The completion of the new Miraval Life in Balance Spa with Clarins—which opened in May 2012 after a nearly yearlong transformation—has returned the 117-room resort to the fore of luxury spa destinations.
The transformative experience at the Life in Balance Spa begins long before you step inside a treatment room. The spa's soothing powers are evident at the entrance, where a long outdoor corridor welcomes visitors with the calming sounds of trickling pools and the fragrances of wild lavender and sage. Inside the 16,000-square-foot facility—designed by the Seattle-based architecture firm Mithun and New York's Clodagh Design—guests find tranquil treatment rooms, relaxation areas, and other nooks and alcoves that draw from the Sonoran Desert surroundings.
by Andrea Petersen
Spas, even the most glamorous ones, can elicit their share of cringe-inducing moments. There's the awkward scene in the locker room. The forced "relaxation room" time with other robe-clad clients—some who want to party, others who want to sleep. Not to mention sauna etiquette conundrums (towel or no towel?).
Now, hotel companies are designing spas to give privacy-craving guests a spa of their own. These mini "spas within a spa" include their own bathrooms, showers, lounging areas and even Jacuzzis and steam rooms. People can pay to spend the day getting treatments and hanging out in a bubble of spa-suite seclusion.
by Kitty Bean Yancey
Oprah Winfrey had a big ahhhh! moment here, and Mel Gibson worked with cowboy-hatted therapist Wyatt Webb in the resort's famed "Equine Experience."
Miraval Resort & Spa draws celebrities who want to get their lives in balance or lose weight, but it also has gained a large following among the nation's wellness-minded.
Over President's Day weekend, Miraval was at capacity, and its renovated spa booked the most appointments in the resort's 17-year history. Thanks to more aggressive marketing and healthy word of mouth, Miraval is on the path to its best year ever.
The destination spa in the Sonoran Desert with the Santa Catalina Mountains as scenic backdrop is considered one of the finest, in the company of others that draw discerning U.S. spagoers including The Golden Door outside San Diego; Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico; and Canyon Ranch health resorts in Tucson and Lenox, Mass., to name a few. SpaFinder.com users recently anointed it their favorite destination spa in North America for the second year in a row, one of Miraval's many honors. It also was the 2012 SpaFinder favorite in the "Girlfriend Getaway/Bachelorette," "Going Solo" and "Outdoor Adventure" categories.
Miraval CEO Michael Tompkins says he gets "50 to 70 letters a month about how people's lives were changed" on more than 400 acres dotted with cactus and palm trees, gurgling stream and waterfalls, and chirping birds creating a soothing soundtrack. Guests range from groups of female friends, to couples relaxing, to the newly divorced or bereaved, to those trying to shed pounds or destructive habits.