Miraval:Lifestyle Management That Really Works

A recent guest appropriately nicknamed this spa “Miracle.” At Miraval guests discover a carefully planned strategy focused on a “single belief that each of us has the innate capacity to live a more fulfilling life.” It is no wonder that Miraval has been cited as the number-one spa in the world by Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards and was rated in the top one-third of all travel destinations in the world by the same publication.

When experts gathered to create a new educational vacation alternative at Miraval, the bottom line became “balance of life.” And that goal is embraced in every aspect of the program, from the self-discovery and stress management workshops to the spa’s Conscious Cuisine (the use of foods that are appealing, satisfying, and healthy) developed by Chef Сагу E. Neff. The experts also made another precise decision to categorize Miraval as a “health leisure resort” rather than as a spa.

Miraval literally means “view of the valley,” which it indeed grants in its setting on 135 acres at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Resembling a dude ranch with adobe-style buildings, Miraval is worthy of its four-star resort status.


One glance through the fifteen-page Personal Services Guide will give you an understanding of the structure and depth of this program, which covers every aspect of body care, from a self-heating mud and massage treatment to nine kinds of facials. If your goal is to jump-start your life, this is the place to make it happen. Miraval has expanded on the usual spa offerings to include such unique programs as the Equine Experience. Self-awareness is increased through greater “communication” with your horse, including increased awareness while cleaning the horse’s shoes and hooves. Other self-challenging activities include mountain biking, meditation, yoga, and specialized body work ranging from craniosacral to ayurvedic body treatments. For the intrepid there are extra-challenging activities, such as wall climbing, night climbing, and desert and mountain hiking. For the imaginative there are classes in the sacred art of sand painting and an introduction to journal writing. In fact, there is almost everything under the Arizona sun to stimulate your creativity. You may do as little or as much as you choose, but, if you want to do it all, plan to stay about a week.

At Miraval there are no required classes or rules against drinking alcohol or wine, which are available in the dining room and bar. Abstinence and deprivation are not part of the well-planned agenda. This fact sets Miraval apart from the many spas that eschew alcohol, sweets, and other decadences. If ever there was a feel-good resort, this is it! The key here is to make choices that work for you, based on “mindfulness.” Mindfulness simply means that there is something for r.eryone at Miraval. The positive environment that sur-rounds the guest at this spa nurtures sensible choices— from fitness to food—that lead to a life in balance.