Updated: Nov 6, 2020
*Miraval 2020... Where to next?
As mentioned in a prior post, since my birthday is in mid-January my year officially begins in February. This is when I start setting resolutions and evaluating how I will live the remainder of the year purposefully. March is full-blown spring forward mode.
Arizona is one of my favorite places in the world. Not only is it one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth; it is also one of the most mystical. This area is steeped in Native American spiritual and healing traditions, and even the name of the state is derived from a healing springs near the Mexican border. My personal journeys to Arizona are always aimed at transformation and rejuvenation. Last year it consisted of the vortex energies of Sedona and the calming ambiance of Carefree, Arizona.
*Sedona 2019: Note this photo has the same dress wrapped around my waist as the one I am pictured in at Miraval in 2020. It is my magical travel dress!
My 2019 solo road trip across California and Arizona is what prompted me to plan a 2020
excursion to Tucson; a city I have not visited in almost twenty years. Several rock shops
mentioned that the Tucson Gem & Mineral show is the largest in the world. Since I am Reiki certified, I am constantly visiting rock shops and attending events searching for the perfect gemstones, crystals, or mystic art. What better chance of this happening than the biggest and best event, all the while getting my wellness fix?
Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa is legendary. For over twenty years the Miraval brand has consistently topped the lists of world’s best destination and wellness retreats. After a handful of friends raved about their experiences, I knew it was fate when I was able to acquire a competitive rate during the dates of the 2020 Tucson Gem & Mineral Show.
When I arrived at the Tucson airport I was immediately greeted by the complimentary shuttle driver and whisked away to the resort, which is approximately a 50-minute drive from the airport. Set upon 400 acres, Miraval blends into the surrounding landscape with neutral hues and stone landscaping. I was immediately greeted with smiling faces and a cup of homemade cider. Check-in was issue-free and my luggage was delivered to the room while I took in the facilities.
All guests are provided with a complimentary tote bag, water bottle, and cell phone pouch, since Miraval strongly encourages an electronic free environment. There are even cute little wooden beds for your phone in the room! This aspect of their mission I embraced and enjoyed because I was able to disconnect and live in the present. As a result, I do not have many photos. Those that I do have were taken just a few hours before we departed.
I definitely over-packed for this trip because I spent most days in my yoga attire, a silk turban, and a make-up free face. During our first dinner we learned the rule that robes could be worn everywhere, including inside the restaurant. That was a game changer for us and many hours were spent robed in a lounge chair!
I reserved the Native Double since I was traveling with a friend. The room was extremely spacious and included: a foyer with two high back reading chairs, a coffee and refreshment bar, and a double vanity bathroom. The Pièce de résistance was the truly heavenly bed that felt like sleeping on a cloud. I had some of the best sleep in a long while and seriously contemplated buying the bedding so I can recreate the experience at home.
Meals, snacks, and all non-alcoholic beverages are inclusive at Miraval. The Cactus Flower Restaurant is the main dining location and where formal breakfast, lunch, and dinner were served. The grand dual-sided stone fireplace is the centerpiece of the restaurant and an outdoor deck provides ample Vitamin D while lunching. All meals include a full menu, daily specials, and an ample buffet.
Between meals we frequented the Palm Court Café for smoothies, quesadillas, muffins, sandwiches, and hummus. We had to buy the aromatic Vanilla Spice Tea that was served and now I drink it daily!
During our stay we ordered cocktails, wine, and light bites at the Coyote Moon Bar or Lounge Oasis Poolside Bar. A few other guests I chatted with were just as surprised as I was that Miraval offered alcoholic beverages. Some other luxury wellness resorts I have stayed at in the past and others I researched do not have this option. Overall the food taste, quality, and quantity surpassed my expectations.
The Life In Balance Spa is a retreat with a retreat. Prior to our arrival an on-site coordinator performed most of the legwork to schedule spa and wellness services, especially since we had a daily resort credit to utilize. Prior to my treatments I allowed the heat of the sauna and steam room to soften my muscles and relax my mind. After the service I would cozy up under a weighted blanket in the relaxation room as I gazed out upon the mountains.
The spa services I received were the Deep Desert Massage, Gotu Kola Coffee Cleansing scrub, Sacred Sounds, and Dermaflash Express facial. We also received complimentary farm-to-face mini-facials from a natural beauty vendor in the spa gift shop. The outdoor courtyard, accessed via the women’s locker, revolved around a massive fire pit, and was our go to spot for lounging, reading magazines, and of course napping. One afternoon we transported cocktails from the pool to really unwind!
Miraval has a 16 horse stable a quick two-minute drive from the main campus. I booked the equine experience, Common Ground: Understanding Barriers to Connection. Carolyn, the horse trainer, explained and demonstrated how I would move the horse around the pen without touching or speaking, which would help me identify personal blocks to communication and develop new paths to self-recognition and healthy relationships.
My partner and Valentine’s Day date for this exercise was Clyde, a handsome “stud” with white and grey tones. I didn’t know what to expect, yet I quickly realized one has to be fully present when you are with an animal, especially one of that size. My monkey mind was quieted and my full attention was on the task. I was able to correlate some of the learnings from matters currently going on in my life. Now I am a believer certain animals can be truly therapeutic.
The Elements of Healing Workshop I took with my friend, and five other guests. It was held in a Yuka a stone’s throw from our room. Jessi our guide is a Healing Art Practitioner and Astrologer from Scotland with the most beautiful spirit and Disney fairytale hair. She led a guided visualization with stones and performed intuitive body-reading work, which resulted in personal spiritual messages. We later learned her mother is a psychic medium at Miraval and her father is one of the airport shuttle drivers. My friend mentioned when I see the 2020 Academy Award winning movie Parasite I would find the humor in a family of three working at the same place.
The Floating Meditation was very soothing. We were cocooned in suspended silk hammocks while we meditated to the sounds of crystal bowls. In the same room we also participated in several of the yoga classes.The interactive “Creating Joy and Harmony” workshop taught by Richard was definitely the most upbeat of all of the experiences. We used instruments and sounds as healing and self-expression tools.
The full service gym, with an outdoor lap pool, was quite impressive even though all I did was take a quick peek inside. It was my intention to workout daily and participate in hikes or group fitness classes. I chose to “Zen “out instead. We were able to squeeze in two morning yoga classes that had us a breaking a sweat, including one with yummy bergamot aromatherapy I later purchased for my home practice.
It was difficult to leave Miraval and now I understand why they have so many repeat guests!
The 66th Annual Gem & Mineral Show
First it should be noted that the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show is not just one event at one location. For the first two weeks of February there are shows of all sizes, for the public and wholesalers, throughout the entire city. I found the JOGS International Exhibits site to be the most comprehensive resource for all of the shows around the town. The shows are more than selling gemstones. You will see fine & artistic jewelry, fossils, art, and energy healer supplies. One gentleman mentioned his wife helped a few people purchase loose diamonds for upcoming engagements.
The main show held over four days in the Conference Center and includes workshop and presentations. I was able to cover a lot of ground and see some truly unique pieces. Next I made my way to the Kino Sports Complex, which was a mixture of indoor and outdoor exhibits, for wholesalers and the public. It was like a state fair for gem and minerals. I could have spent an entire day there, though my purchases were limited to what could fit in my carry-on. High on my list for next time will be the 22nd Street Show, African Art Village, and American Indian Exposition.
2020 here I am!
Have you been to Miraval or Arizona? What is your favorite wellness or spiritual spots?