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Desert Spas

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Once upon a time, the American desert was best known for blistering sun, lone cacti and solitary tumbleweeds rolling through an arid landscape. Nowadays, desert destinations are tourist meccas full of indoor and outdoor attractions—  a cheerful escape from the gloomy skies of winter. Whether for you that means hiking and biking, a few rounds of golf, or an intense session at the blackjack table, every traveler craves respite from the action—and nothing provides that serenity and balance like a state-of-the-art spa. Spa visits can be the backbone for a weeklong retreat or simply a sumptuous way to begin or conclude a vacation day, and a handful of desert spas now offer desert-goers an oasis of calm. Embark on a tour of the red rock deserts of Arizona, the art deco architecture of Palm Springs, the bright lights of Las Vegas, the Native American–influenced Mojave Desert hills of Utah, and discover five retreats that take relaxation to new heights.

Mii amo
888.749.2137, miiamo.com

Mii amo is a Native American phrase meaning journey, and visitors to this singular destination spa in Sedona, Arizona, will be taken on a journey they’ll never forget. Located on the grounds of the 70-acre Enchantment Resort, the spa is sited in what many New Age aficionados consider a spiritual vortex of healing, and this belief is central to every aspect of the offerings here, from treatments and fitness activities to accommodations and cuisine.

The heart of the customizable spa experience takes place in the 24,000-square-foot spa building, constructed with adobe brick, indigenous stone, bamboo floors and floor-to-ceiling windows providing picturesque backdrop views of red-rock Boynton Canyon. Therapies are given in one of 19 treatment rooms or five outdoor areas, and the innovative menu includes more than 60 relaxing options. Along with massage and bodywork, more spiritual offerings include Past Life Regression ($220, 90 minutes), Psychic Massage ($130, 60 minutes), Body Feng Shui ($130, 60 minutes) and Aura-Soma Color Readings ($180, 60 minutes), in which guests put 94 bottles filled with plant-based colored substances into the sequence of their choice and then learn what their selection says about their past, present and future.  

Many guests flock to the Crystal Grotto for meditation and reflection; this structure, the centerpiece of the spa, is modeled after a Native American kiva and meant to connect the heavens and the earth with its circular, domelike design. Indoor and outdoor fitness activities are also offered, as well as a series of wellness-oriented lectures. The fine-dining Mii Amo Café serves an eclectic, regionally accented cuisine from an exhibition-style kitchen; cooking classes are available.

The Mii Amo experience is completely integrative, says director of spa services Deborah Waldvogel; the Ayurvedic “journey,” for example, imparts the principles of Ayurveda during the treatments, consultations, classes and meals.

Guests reside in a charming village of adobe-style casitas during their three-, four-, or seven-night stays; prices range from $1,740 to $6,090 depending on season and include accommodations, the award-winning spa cuisine, use of fitness and spa facilities, and access to all fitness classes and lectures.

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