Strict policy limits cell phone and tablet use (a pro for some)
Set in southern Arizona’s Santa Catalina Mountains, the Miraval Resort is a peaceful all-inclusive wellness resort with a large spa, daily fitness and yoga classes, lectures, and healthy gourmet food. The 118 luxury rooms include modern Villas with terraces, private pools, and panoramic views of the surrounding desert. The property has three swimming pools, hot tubs, and a pond with an acupressure stone walk for soothing tired feet. Rates are steep and activities such as aerial yoga and horse therapy, as well as guided hikes, cost extra. While similar to nearby Canyon Ranch, another upscale property, Miraval focuses more on spiritual and mental health than on weight loss, and also serves alcoholic beverages, though it does have stricter limits on using electronic devices in public areas.
Stylish wellness resort with rustic accents within gorgeous desert setting
Miraval’s adobe buildings are set amid a landscape of cactuses, meandering pathways, manmade ponds, rocks, and waterfalls, with views of the Santa Catalina mountains from much of the property. This is a wellness resort, with a particular emphasis on mental well-being and spirituality, and the long list of classes and lectures (not to mention on-site features) is geared toward providing a luxurious reset for its guests. The hotel has an undeniable desert-Southwest vibe, with a look that's both rustic and modern. There are wooden ceilings and earth-tone tile floors throughout, and sharp contemporary furniture sits alongside more ornate carved pieces, creating stylish, yet minimalistic, spaces. The grounds are something else, in the best way, and embrace the beauty of the rugged desert setting with plenty of space to admire the view, including a rock maze. As a wellness retreat, the hotel doesn't see a ton of families, and solo travelers, groups of friends, and some couples make up the bulk of guests. Keep in mind that there are restrictions on being plugged in, and Wi-Fi and electronics usage comes with restrictions.
In the Santa Catalina foothills, about an hour from Tucson
The resort sits in a remote location surrounded by the Sonoran Desert and rural residential developments on the far outskirts of Tucson. At the base of the Santa Catalina range, there are no restaurants or shops within walking distance of the resort. There are plenty of outdoor activities in the area and the Miraval runs organized hikes that take place about a 30-minute drive east at Mount Lemmon. Nearby cultural attractions include DeGrazia’s Gallery in the Sun, a gallery and museum constructed by the late artist Ettore DeGrazia, which is a 35-minute drive away. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Saguaro National Park are both an hour away by car, as is downtown Tucson. Tucson International Airport will also take an hour to reach, and airport transfers are included in the room rate, as is valet parking. Phoenix is about two hours away by road and also has an airport.
Desert-chic rooms plus high-end Villas with terraces and gorgeous mountain views
Miraval has 118 rooms, suites, and private Villas, all with stylish, desert-chic decor with plenty of rustic charm. All rooms are spacious, and start at 400 square feet (37 square meters). Entry level rooms are subtly themed -- broken down into categories called Native Spirit, Dreamcatcher, and Sunrise -- and feature Native American textiles and artwork plus an abundance of soft hues like tan and gray. Sunrise Rooms include furnished patios with desert and mountain views. The suites have wood-beamed ceilings, raw wood furniture, and tiled fireplaces plus private patios. Some have whirlpool tubs and outdoor showers.
The star of the show here are the stylish Villas, which include full kitchens with espresso machines, washers and dryers, and living rooms with fireplaces. Interiors blend wood, stone, and natural textiles to create sleek spaces that are earthy and contemporary at the same time. Sliding doors open up to terraces overlooking the desert, with private pools and a fire pit.
All accommodations have free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, safes, and robes, and items such as coffeemakers can be provided upon request. Bathrooms are spacious and vary from category to category. Entry-level room bathrooms have rustic terra cotta tile floors, generous vanities, and walk-in showers. Villas have multiple bathrooms, including a swank master bath with stone floors and walls, a massive walk-in rainfall shower, and terrazzo sinks and soaking tubs in sharp earth tones.
Included classes and lectures, healthy food, and sprawling spa
Miraval’s rates -- which are steep, but all-inclusive -- include a daily calendar of free activities, such as yoga, meditation, and group fitness classes. Lectures on health and wellness also take place and are included in rates. For additional fees, the resort leads organized hikes and activities such as horseback riding, tightrope walking, and culinary workshops. Most of the healthy, gourmet food served at the hotel’s four restaurants, including a buffet breakfast, is included in the daily rate, while alcoholic beverages cost extra. The Palm Court serves juices, smoothies, snacks, coffee, and tea, while Brave Bill Lounge serves cocktails and pre-dinner appetizers. There’s also a pool bar with snacks.
Miraval’s large spa offers traditional massages, manicures, pedicures, and body scrubs, as well as Ayurvedic and other Eastern therapies. There are three swimming pools, including a large lap pool with mountain views, and a pond with an acupressure stone walk. A large fitness center is equipped with a variety of cardio and weight machines, as well as free weights. A daily resort fee is a percentage of the room rate, and includes amenities such as the airport shuttle. The resort has a no-tipping policy. There is free Wi-Fi, but the use of electronic devices is limited to guest rooms and certain outdoor areas, with the goal of helping guests unplug.