An expansive Arizona retreat furthers the region’s commitment to eco-chic wellness, relaxation and rejuvenation.Location: Carefree, Arizona
Opened: February 1, 2019
The Space: 22,000 square feet, with 24 treatment rooms (13 massage, 5 facial, 3 with Vichy showers, 2 couples, 1 Watsu pool); a salon including 3 pedi stations, 2 mani stations and 1 hair station; men’s and women’s locker rooms with steam rooms and waiting areas; a co-ed relaxation lounge with patio; Aqua Vitality Circuit; lap pool with sundeck; and retail boutique
Staff: 1 director, 1 manager, 3 leads, 7 spa attendants, 6 estheticians, 16 massage therapists, 2 salon employees, 6 front desk concierges
Nestled in the Sonoran Desert just outside of Scottsdale, Arizona, the spa at CIVANA boasts views of Black Mountain, which are most stunning at sunset. Converted from an opera house, the two-story structure was designed with sustainability in mind, from the graywater plumbing and low-flow fixtures to energy-efficient lighting and low-maintenance landscaping. “A clean, mid-century aesthetic creates a harmonious ‘modern desert’ look grounded in a strong connection to nature,” adds spa director Sheila Bracewell. “The monochromatic color palette provides a visual sense of calm, and the entrance features a garden based on the Native American medicine wheel concept, which is divided into four segments representing one of the four directions through color and plants.” The spa also emphasizes healing through water with its Aqua Vitality Circuit, boasting hot and cold pools, a refreshing waterfall shower and five-climate KLAFS Sanarium. Every experience begins with the grounding ritual of “taking the waters”—an ancient tradition of physical and energetic healing, cleansing and rejuvenation.
To attract guests—80 percent tourists and 20 percent locals—the spa pays close attention to what services are most popular, and adjusts the menu accordingly. For instance, Civana has created service offerings for groups, as well as added more body, combined and express treatments. “We try to accommodate individual needs; everyone’s personal wellness journey is unique, so we strive to be flexible,” says Bracewell. Marketing efforts include pursuing press coverage in national, regional and local media, and engaging area bloggers and influencers to visually showcase the tranquility of the spa and its key amenities. “We post about specials and events, and feature staff talking about the hot/cold therapy pools. All of that, combined with word of mouth, ensures a steady flow of guests,” explains Bracewell.
Ongoing education is of paramount importance at CIVANA. “We train our staff in house, and some of our service provider trainings offer continuing education units (CEUs),” says Bracewell, who ensures harmony in the workplace by welcoming feedback and staying focused on the Golden Rule. “In order to manage effectively, you must have the right synergy and team assembled, and you can’t be afraid to change what isn’t working,” she notes. “I aim to be the type of manager I would want to work for. Keeping that in mind helps me stay grounded. I come from a service provider background but am also business savvy, so I understand both sides.”
Popular at CIVANA is the Down to Earth and Sea Body Detox (120 min./$275), which begins with a gentle full body exfoliation, followed by a layered wrap of either organic seaweed or Arizona mud. After that’s removed, the therapist performs a deep muscle relief massage using a shea butter-infused essential oil blend that restores vitality to the skin while soothing mind and body. Guests also love the CIVANA Lifestyle Facial (75 min./$175), a completely customized experience using Naturopathica products that includes detoxifying lymphatic brushing and an aromatherapy and facial massage. Targeted active ingredients such as plant stem cells and peptides all work together to produce a radiant, renewed complexion.
Kypris, Naturopathica and Spa Technologies are implemented in services and available in the retail boutique. The spa also uses Laboratory of Flowers in body treatments and SpaRitual in the salon.
—Alexa Joy Sherman
This story first appeared in the August issue of DAYSPA Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe