Miraval is one of the best destination spas in the country, winning fans like Oprah Winfrey with its emphasis on challenging yourself and personal growth. Set in the Arizona desert north of Tucson, with gorgeous views of the Santa Catalina mountains, Miraval's special strength is helping you get in touch with who you are by challenging you to go beyond your comfort zone.
I love Miraval because you can go deeply into self-exploration -- or just enjoy the sunshine, invigorating morning hikes, great spa cuisine, inspiring exercise classes, fascinating lectures, fine spa treatments and good company.
(Or lay by the pool.) Something unique to Miraval is its low-ropes challenge course, which includes A Swing and A Prayer, (the challenge Oprah and Gail did), a thrilling ride on a 1,000 foot zipline, and Quantum Leap.
One of my very best experiences at Miraval was looking at those stunning mountains atop a 25-foot telephone pole, breathing deeply and enjoying the view. And I have vertigo! That was a good moment. Miraval is also known for its Equine Experience, where you work with a horse and get insight into how you approach tasks -- and life. Tony Redhouse's "Drumming" class made me feel like a kid again.
And I walked into Anne Parker's talk on "Grief, Loss and Letting Go" not expecting to stay because "I'm not grieving right now" and found myself in tears by the end, and booking a very helpful session with Parker, a licensed counselor, to look more deeply at why.
Miraval allows some of its therapists to create their own unique treatments, like Spirit Flight, which I experienced in the outdoor treatment garden (tents with fresh air).
I really value this emphasis on therapist quality and creativity.
Miraval has 118 casually elegant casita-style rooms, most with private patios, on 400 acres. The rooms range from standard to larger suites, including the Catalina Suites, which have "green" construction and the most gorgeous views of the mountains.
(They are a little further from dining, yoga studio, etc.) I just wish I had more time to enjoy the room!
Miraval is really the perfect destination spa experience. It's small enough to have excellent food, and it's easy to chat with people and make friends. But it was big enough to have extensive programming, all at a high level of quality.
Group size is limited for things like the hikes, mountain biking, challenges and Equine experience, so here's a tip -- sign up for anything you MIGHT want to do as soon as you can, and then erase your name if you change your mind. (Better than being on a wait list!) And show up for morning hikes anyway, because sometimes people don't make it out of bed.
In January of 2017, Miraval was purchased by Hyatt Hotels Corporation. “The Miraval acquisition reflects our commitment to super serving the high-end traveler and finding new ways to understand and care for them,” said Mark Hoplamazian, president and chief executive officer.
“We know that wellness is an area that is becoming increasingly important to our guests and we share Miraval’s belief that wellness is more than fitness and nutrition – it’s a lifestyle. Adding Miraval to the Hyatt family creates a great opportunity to advance the Miraval brand expansion while building a greater depth of expertise in wellness and mindfulness.”