With the Desert as Your Backdrop, Wellness is Within Reach at Miraval Arizona

Read about our trip to Miraval Berkshires here.

With Miraval Arizona’s state-of-the-art spa, the wide variety of activities, and picturesque setting at the foot of the Catalina mountains, it’s no wonder celebrities like Oprah, Chrissy Teigen, and the Real Housewives of Orange County are regulars. The scenic beauty, curated wellness activities, and warm, knowledgeable experts make the OG Miraval a retreat worth the trip. 

women in spa robes at miraval arizona

The Miraval Arizona experience

Similar to our time in the Berkshires, our stay at Miraval Arizona showcased the resort’s breadth of activities for whatever wellness adventure you wanted to take on. Cardio drumming, the equine experience, and spiritual drumming all made our list of group activities. For Kelly, cardio drumming was one of the clear highlights of the trip.

“There was something special about the total child-like behavior that took over during that class,” she says. “It was a good reminder that as an adult, it’s okay and totally fun to be silly—to not take ourselves so seriously. Also, I loved working out for the pure enjoyment of it. Twirling around a room with ribbon-attached drumsticks, tapping our feet to synchronized dance moves and not being able to wipe the smiles off of our faces… DELIGHTFUL!”

cardio drumming at miraval arizona

Ambassador Priya Shah seconded the pure fun of cardio drumming. She added that the equine experience was more emotional than she expected, too.

“The second highlight for me was the equine experience. It really tested my character, emotions, and even made me cry- in a good way. It’s hard to explain until someone experiences it themselves,” she says. “Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any experience at Miraval Arizona.”

equine experience at miraval arizona

Our schedules gave us plenty of free time, too. Inspired to move, I took on a tennis lesson and swam laps with the desert as my backdrop; Priya boldly walked across a tightrope and spoke with a psychic. Jeana honored her need for rest with a restorative yoga class after a morning hike. Kelly became our spa expert after a massage and a facial.

Changing terrain with the Lexus Drive Experience 

Truthfully, we could have happily stayed on site for our entire stay. However, there’s no denying the sense of adventure breezing through as we loaded our Lexus GX’s for our Lexus Drive Experience. As we climbed up and around the mountain landscape, our guide Justin helpfully pointed out the saguaro cacti lining the highway—and how they disappeared exactly at 4,000 feet elevation. In Sport Mode, our SUVs easily navigated the steep climbs as we neared our trailhead. 

Once in the mountain air, we immediately noticed the 9,200 feet of elevation and its effect on our lungs. Luckily, Justin distracted us from the tough uphills by pointing out different features of the Catalina Mountains—like where a jaguar has been spotted and the best places for rock climbing. 

Says Jeana, “I haven’t spent an extended period of time in the desert. Learning about the climate, the saguaro cactus and the insanely beautiful mountains surrounding the property was my favorite part of the trip.”

hiking in arizona catalina mountains

After we were pleasantly winded, we unpacked a picnic that put my basic blanket and cooler to shame. Cheese, charcuterie, fruit, sandwiches, salads, hummus, and more emerged from the seemingly bottomless baskets, along with a tablecloth and champagne glasses for our sparkling ginger drink (because why not?). 

outdoor picnic hiking

“Full service, desert vibes, and a spa resort oasis”

With this picturesque backdrop, we reflected on the transformations we’d already noticed within ourselves since arriving at Miraval. 

hiking with friends in arizona

As Jeana put it, “Everything at Miraval Arizona feels serene and like you’re wrapped in a peaceful cocoon. Natural elements like babbling brooks running through the property to the thick tapestry of stars that were visible every night helped reinforce a connection with nature. And the food felt nourishing, healing and always-available.” For her, the healing vibes of the desert fit perfectly with her intentions of rest and recovery.

For Kelly, who’s our in-house hotel connoisseur, the intention behind the resort was clear and present throughout our stay.

“It’s the OG of the Miraval resorts. Everything on the property was well thought out—from the aesthetics, to the layout, to the staff, to the activities. I immediately felt relaxed and on ‘Miraval Mode’ as soon as I arrived,” she shares.

Added Priya, “My overall impression of Miraval Arizona is that it is one-of-a-kind, A+ resort experience. It has a well balanced mix of classes, self-care activities, spa services, and healthy yet delicious food and wine options. Something for everyone! It felt like a breath of fresh air being surrounded by the most serene desert and mountains. I could have easily spent a week here. I can now see why OPRAH raves about this place.” 

Our time in Arizona ended, but the journey was just beginning

Let’s put things into perspective: you could fit 30 European countries inside the continental United States. Driving from the capital of England to the capital of Scotland takes about an hour less than driving from El Paso to Austin, Texas (a drive we did in our Lexus GX, BTW). The United States is, to put it plainly, big.

And yet, before this road trip, at least one member of our team (who shall not be named) thought Austin was in a completely different part of the state. Driving through sparse yet beautiful scenery, Jeana commented that she would have never seen this part of the country if it weren’t for this trip. 

But around every bend in the road was something else for us to marvel at through the Lexus windows. The intriguingly named Seven Mile Ranch. A diner-slash-bougie-coffee-shop named The Water Stop. An abandoned Prada acting as a permanent art installation in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Blazing sunsets casting dramatic shadows over the mountains in our rearview mirror. 

It was a fitting conclusion to our stay at Miraval Arizona as we prepared for the final leg of our journey at Miraval Austin.

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About Kristen Geil

A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Kristen moved to Chicago in 2011 and received her MA in Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse from DePaul while trying to maintain her southern accent. Kristen grew up playing sports, and since moving to Chicago, she’s fallen in love with the lakefront running path and the lively group fitness scene. Now, as a currently retired marathoner and sweat junkie, you can usually find her trying new workouts around the city and meticulously crafting Instagram-friendly smoothie bowls. Kristen came on to A Sweat Life full-time in 2018 as Editor-in-Chief, and she spends her days managing writers, building content strategy, and fighting for the Oxford comma.

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