A Delicate Balance


Founded in 1995 with the simple vision that life is more meaningful and enjoyable when physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual components are in balance, Miraval (Tucson, AZ) has become one of the most respected wellness destination resorts in the world. Situated on 400 acres of land near Tucson’s Santa Catalina Mountains in the Sonoran Desert, Miraval offers guests the chance to become one with nature and themselves and to relax, refresh, and to learn to live and feel better. Miraval features a wide range of programs and experiences designed to help guests improve their overall wellbeing, including healthy fare, fitness classes, art and photography lessons, and pampering services at the newly renovated Miraval Life in Balance Spa with Clarins. “The Life in Balance Spa creates authentic experiences for guests through attention to detail and dedication to service in the areas of atmosphere and creating pure intention,” says spa director Simon Marxer. “Each of these elements combine to create a unique and holistic experience tailored to the individual needs of each guest.”

Since its opening, Miraval has become one of the top-rated destination spas in the U.S., so in order to maintain this high standard of excellence and meet evolving guest needs, the spa underwent a complete renovation for a fresh start built on the foundation of inspiration from its past and optimism for the future, according to Marxer. “The Miraval Life in Balance Spa with Clarins is an entirely new structure that features state-of-the-art Mithun architecture and interiors tastefully appointed by Clodagh Design,” he says. “The spa features 23 treatment rooms, a pool, a private outdoor patio, and the addition of a luxurious VIP Spa Suite that offers complete privacy, as well as its own treatment menu. The new Clarins partnership has led to the creation of an entirely new menu of exclusive Clarins treatments and other new spa services, such as Nâga ($215, 50 minutes; $295, 1 hour 40 minutes), a Thai massage, and The TAIZ Sensorium ($250, 50 minutes), which are entirely unique to Miraval.”

The menu of services was inspired by the location, product lines, and needs of guests. Some popular treatments include the Calming Hot Stone ($205, 60 minutes), the Deep Moisture Rich ($175, 50 minutes; $230, 80 minutes) massage, and the Miraval Relaxation Massage ($150, 50 minutes; $205, 80 minutes; $245, 1 hour 40 minutes). Clients looking for a younger and healthier complexion will give glowing reviews of the Anti-Aging Facial ($175, 50 minutes; $235, 80 minutes), which combats the signs of aging and leaves skin revitalized, and the Grounding Facial ($225, 70 minutes), which uses warmed stones to melt away facial tension while reducing signs of fatigue and stress.

Radiant skin is attainable with the help of the spa’s body treatments, such as the Bamboo Oat Body Smoother ($150, 50 minutes), which uses a bamboo and oatmeal-based cream to smooth and rejuvenate the skin, and the Desert Rain Scrub ($150, 50 minutes), which utilizes mineral salts and herbs from the desert to exfoliate and moisturize skin. “Our guests are looking for something new and different when they visit Miraval, treatments they cannot receive at their local spa or even many other destination spas,” says Marxer. “Miraval is consistently delivering innovative and unique treatments that help quench guests’ desire for something new.”

The more than 100 spa employees (35 full-time) aim to make guests more mindful and live with a deeper sense of awareness. “Mindfulness is a mindset where each team member is fully present in the moment and aware of his or her environment,” says Marxer. “The result is that team members understand the needs of the guests and are dedicated to bringing out their best skills and talents in creating a nurturing atmosphere. They ensure that each guest comes away from their Miraval spa experience with a sense of awareness of their body and also of complete renewal.”

The hope is that guests instantly relax from the moment they enter the spa. The spa’s aesthetic incorporates a Japanese world view known as Wabi-Sabi, which honors the blending of the old and the new and represents the acceptance of transience or gentle aging. “The spa is designed to address the senses,” says Marxer. “You see the mountains and beautiful desert views, you hear trickling water and sounds of nature, you smell fragrant lavender bushes and aromatic herbs, which honor the desert, and you want to reach out and feel the texture of everything around you.”

According to Marxer, the collaboration between Miraval and Clarins combines each brand’s focus on the client experience by listening, healing, and offering superior service. “Through this new partnership, more than 30 new services have been created for the Life in Balance Spa with Clarins, each designed to go beyond the skin’s surface to awaken the senses and create balance through wellbeing,” he says.

The many offerings at Miraval make it one of the biggest draws for guests, and while the spa is more often than not part of guests’ itineraries, competing with the other offerings is one of the spa’s biggest obstacles, notes Marxer. “When a guest has the choice of incredible activities like hiking in the Santa Catalina Mountains and experiencing activities like the Miraval Equine experience or fitness classes like I Chi Flow, it is hard to get them into the spa during the day,” he says. “So many great choices and only so much time in the day makes filling up our daytime openings our biggest challenge.”

While the myriad activities available at Miraval sometimes distract guests from the spa during daytime hours, it’s all these wonderful options that make Miraval one of the most popular destination wellness resorts in the world. Guests visit Miraval for mind, body, and spirit healing and leave with tips on continuing the healthy lifestyle at home. “Miraval speaks to guests who energetically seek out an increasingly better life through meaningful experiences and education,” says Marxer. “They seek memorable experiences, places, and products that offer choices and help them lead more fulfilling and balanced lives.”


Owners: Steve and Jean Case

Spa Director: Simon Marxer

Opened: November 1995

Renovated: May 2012



85% female, 15% male



16,000 square feet;

23 treatment rooms



acupuncture, aromatherapy, Ayurveda, body treatments, couples’ treatments, energy work, facials, fitness, hair and scalp treatments, hammam, hand and foot treatments, makeup application, massage, guided meditation, nailcare, nutrition consultation, outdoor treatments, Pilates, prenatal services, reflexology, salon services, sound therapy, tai chi, watsu, waxing, yoga



The Hands of Silk ($449, 80 minutes), which is a full-body four-handed
Swedish massage



Nâga ($215, 50 minutes; $295, 1 hour 40 minutes), which involves the therapist using strands of richly colored silk suspended from above as an extension of their body to take the guest deeper into the stretches and release restrictions impairing full movement



Body Bliss, Clarins, Dr. Dennis Gross, EmerginC, Red Flower



A La Turca Textiles, Agilysys, Oakworks, Yeah Baby



Mithun (Seattle)



Clodagh, Clodagh Design

(New York City)