Your Path to Transformation

Modern destination spas and wellness resorts offer unique ways to treat all your senses.

By Susan Hanson

I quiet my mind as I stroke the neck of the horse beside me before our exercise. We are standing in a corral, and I am a tad nervous. Not of this gentle creature, but of whether I can achieve my mission of guiding it around the pen without speaking or touching.

The exercise, part of the equine therapy program offered through Miraval Resort & Spa in Tucson, Arizona, is designed to help improve participants’ communication skills by listening to their instincts and using their intentions to lead the animals. By calming my breath and surrendering to the moment, I was soon guiding my horse around the enclosure, my heart galloping in stride.

There were many such transformative moments during my stay at Miraval, a 118-room, casita-style resort set on 400 cactus-dotted acres at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Oprah Winfrey is among the many converts to its “life in balance” philosophy, manifested through innovative programs such as the Common Ground equine experience.

Indeed, guests have choices among more than 200 mind-body activities, classes and treatments ranging from guided hikes to high-rope walking, from coping with loss to learning new culinary skills. With its emphasis on mindful living, the recently remodeled Miraval offers a serene, earth-toned retreat for all types of wellness seekers: girlfriends on a spa getaway, couples looking to strengthen their relationships and individuals searching for a deeper meaning in life. I fell into the last category, booking my stay to coincide with a milestone birthday. As such, I decided to use my $100 credit toward a Spirit Flight treatment developed by Dr. Tim Frank, an acclaimed naturopathic physician and one of Miraval’s host of authorities. The healing ceremony, based on Native American ceremonial rituals and performed in an outdoor treatment room in the New Life Village, blends massage therapy, acupuncture, drumming and shamanism. Like my overall Miraval experience, I left the room feeling reborn — the ideal birthday gift to myself.

6 Ways to WELLNESS

Cast away any preconceptions of a spa vacation and check in to these contemporary resorts from coast to coast.


Nature, nutrition and nurturing are the highlights at this esteemed spa resort, housed within the historic Bellefontaine Mansion in the beautiful Berkshires. Take a tai chi hike or try forest bathing on the 120-acre estate; afterward, use your resort credit of up to $450 toward restorative spa treatments such as the calming Euphoria ritual.


Zero in on an experience of personal awakening while tucked away at this holistic spa resort, located on 500 wooded acres in northeastern Pennsylvania. You can go mountain biking or fly-fishing on the private lake, then take a soak in the infinity horizon whirlpool before applying your $50 spa credit toward a body polish featuring bamboo, walnut shells and fragrant lemongrass.


Sitting at 8,300 feet near the Empire Canyon summit in Utah, this refined alpine retreat takes wellness to new heights. Enjoy true ski-in/ski-out access to one of the country’s top peaks, along with a $100 credit toward individualized services at the 35,000-square-foot spa. Let us also arrange epic day trips to America’s most celebrated national parks, where you’ll find inspiration and renewal among the crimson hoodoos of Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park.


While this destination resort is located in the heart of California wine country, water is the word at its premier spa, which utilizes naturally heated, mineral-rich underground springs in its hydrotherapy treatments. Indulge in the Bathing Ritual with your $100 credit, then cozy up in front of your wood-burning fireplace with a complimentary bottle of famed Sonoma wine. Don’t miss the chance to mingle with oenophiles over complimentary wine tasting in the lobby every day at 4:30 p.m.


In Napa, chardonnay grapes, fresh figs and honey are used in holistic treatments at Carneros’ award-winning spa. Reconnect mind, body, and spirit with vineyard walks, guided meditations, and complimentary fitness classes. Your $100 resort credit lets you taste locally sourced cuisine at the acclaimed FARM restaurant.


Sedona’s red rocks are believed to hold mystical powers, and they serve as a magical setting for this adobe-style wellness resort inspired by native culture. Take a meditative labyrinth walk, be guided through personal energy work and crystal therapies, and tap into your spiritual side with an ancient healing spa treatment with up to a $200 credit.


Whether you’re in search of easy relaxation or transformative experiences, we’ll find accommodations that fulfill exactly what you crave. Reserve with us to receive exclusive privileges such as daily breakfast, complimentary Wi-Fi and a special amenity that varies by property, as well as an upgrade, early check-in and late check-out when available at more than 1,000 of the world’s finest hotels, resorts, lodges, spas and unique places to stay. For more information, give us a call or visit our website, enter offer M16861, and click search.

Washington-based Susan Hanson travels the globe in search of the best experiences, from spas and golf courses to wandering among hidden neighborhoods.

Cover Photo: Miraval Resort & Spa

Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Leave a Reply