A Refreshed Oasis

treatment room at Miraval
Spa room at Miraval

On a still, sun-drenched afternoon last May, Miraval, Arizona’s iconic “pleasurable wellness” mecca, gathered board members, loyal guests and press (DAYSPA included) to officially unveil its contemporary new Life in Balance spa facility. The poignant ceremony, set to the tune of Tibetan singing bowl beats and ancient Hopi chants, was a celebration in speeches and song. Sage aromatically burned while onlookers cheered, toasting the happy occasion with champagne (unlike your average health spa, Miraval accommodates indulgences like wine, lattes and cookies).

Company CEO Philippe Bourguignon enthusiastically thanked the spa’s staff—all of whom had operated out of a makeshift spa village for 10 months, helping to prepare the new spa—as well as the many designers and artists who’d had a hand in creating the serene new space, and representatives from Clarins, the French skincare company whose recent partnership with Miraval helped make the new facility possible. Bourguignon ended by noting that the new spa’s philosophy—“intuitive minimalism”—means providing “everything guests need, but nothing more.”

Indeed, with a focus on simplicity and sustainability, the new spa is an understated palace of slate, glass and desert-inspired artwork. The structure reflects the raw beauty of its Sonoran surrounds via eco-savvy design flourishes such as a recycled papier-mâché wall meant to represent the Earth’s surface, and the fallen cedar tree trunk that was repurposed into a reception desk.

This stark brand of elegance is a far cry from Miraval’s previous spa facility, a kitschy Western-style structure that originally served as part of the famed Sierra Tucson’s drug and alcohol rehab facility. Now a hotbed of personal growth and integrative health, this space has come a long way since those beginnings in 1995. (In fact, encouraging constructive behavior and choices that help prevent trauma such as addiction is a core component of Miraval’s mission.)

This recent ribbon-cutting was the culmination of 10 years’ planning and two years of concerted action. More developments—all intended to further facilitate “joyful wellness,” as spa director Simon Marxer puts it—are also underway for Miraval. —Katie O'Reilly