A Weeklong Upscale Wellness Vacation with the Wallet at Home? Yes, I did it!!
– Sushil Rungta, Miraval Arizona Guest
The Giant Tibetan Gong
Wellness retreats, I will admit, are my most favorite vacations. Earlier this month, wanting to get away from home with frustration at elevated levels because of being locked-down for over 5 months, I was yearning to take, at the very least, a weeklong vacation. I researched wellness resorts within driving distance of San Diego and decided on the Miraval Resort, just north of Tucson in Arizona. I booked my stay, enjoyed my stay, and am back. Having returned, I find myself shouting repeatedly, “I want to do it again!” It is perhaps unnecessary to clarify how wonderful this experience has been, as this sentence says it all.
The “good feelings” started with the first call I made to book my vacation. I was connected to an “experience planner” who helped me not only book rooms for my stay but worked with me to “plan my experience.” It took a few calls and emails to book all activities, during which time, my experience planner and I got to know each other reasonably well. Working with one person the entire time means I was an individual, getting personalized attention, not just another caller or potential guest.
On the morning of September 14th, around 6:30 am in San Diego, I revved my car and pulled out of the garage. My vacation had officially begun! I was so anxious to reach Miraval that I did not plan to stop enroute for any reason but had to stop for a short bio-break. Around 2:45 pm, my car was the front entrance of the resort! I announced my arrival over the intercom and the gates rolled to the side to let me in.
I parked as directed and as I stepped out of my car, I was enveloped by the serenity of my new surroundings and my gut told me to get ready for a great time.
Within a few seconds, I was greeted by a Miraval colleague. She put my luggage on her golf cart and requested me to take a seat in the row behind her because of social distancing requirements. She gave me a quick tour of the property and then brought me to the front desk for checking-in. The check-in process was also extremely friendly and quite heartwarming. I felt like everyone was just waiting for me to arrive so they could bathe me with their warmth and kindness. Along with my room keys, I was given a nice bag with a guide to the resort, a water bottle, a small bottle of sanitizer and a few other things so my stay could be comfortable. With the check-in process complete,
I was shown to my room and the resort was now for me to enjoy!
My first activity was scheduled for 4 pm that day. I still had about 45 minutes, so I headed to the bar to get a bite. I ordered a small salad, which was brought promptly. While having my salad, I engaged in small talk with the bartender and she also happily shared her thoughts on how I could make the most of my stay. From there, I headed to my first experience, a meditation class. The meditation hall was well furnished, very serene and just being in the room was therapeutic. I completed my meditation and feeling relaxed, headed to my next activity. After that, I went to the dining hall for dinner where I was served a 4-course dinner. Everything was exceptionally good, made with fresh, organic ingredients and presented in an artful manner. I was tempted to try all the entrées but of course, resisted the temptation. Having had an enjoyable dinner, I decided to familiarize myself with the resort.
The hot and humid Arizona weather had transformed into a slightly breezy and much pleasant weather by then. Perfect for an evening stroll. After about 30 minutes of walking around the resort, I retired for the night.
The next few days were packed with activities – Pilates, Yoga, Meditation, Water Sports, Talks! The resort offered a lot and I intended to keep myself busy. In between, I took all opportunities to chat with the various colleagues of the resort.
The resort is extremely well planned and thoughtfully laid out. Spread over 400 acres of land which has been beautifully and thoughtfully converted to make it what is stands for today – a place to heal, destress, rejuvenate, and regain your balance.
Across from the Arrival Center is the giant Tibetan Gong which is struck once a day, reminding us to cultivate mindful moments. The gong is one of the 7 “Mindful Journey” locations which are strategically located around the resort.
Visitors can pause at any or all of the locations to briefly meditate or just become mindful of their present moment. My favorite locations were the “Hidden Creek” and the “Bird Ramada” locations. With a stream of water flowing nearby and the sound of falling water, I would spend 10 to 15 minutes each morning before the crack of dawn. The only other sounds at that time were of the birds chirping, and my breath. These 15 minutes would prepare me well for the day ahead. Every few feet are stones decorated in balance or some other feature which reminds us of the marvels of nature.
Upon my return, a friend asked me what I liked best about the resort. A question that is quite simple but very difficult to answer. With everything at its very best, how does one choose a favorite? But actually, it was an easy answer for me. It were the people! Everyone was super helpful, very courteous, experts in their fields, and it was clear they all had one goal – to make the guests happy! I tend to be a little demanding and to my surprise, all my demands (or requests) were fulfilled with a smile. It appears the staff of Miraval just do not know the word “no” since I did not hear it a single time! It was always a yes, and a yes, and a YES!
It was certainly one of the very best vacations I have ever had, with the wallet safely tucked inside the in-room safe for the duration of the stay. It is an inclusive resort, so the room, all food, non-alcoholic beverages, and most activities are included in the stay. Food is available from 6 am through well until 9 pm and one can eat as much or as little as they like! It is also a gratuity free resort, which means no Miraval colleagues expect tips.
With any expectations of gratuities out of the way, all guests are treated the same – very nicely! And a wallet is not needed! It is a vacation I would love to do over and over again.