Spas like Miraval and Canyon Ranch offer so many options from mountain hikes, to meditation, and of course pampering spa services. Think about what you would you like to get out of your trip. Is self discovery your main objective? Relaxation a priority? Looking to jump-start your fitness program? Are you looking to enjoy it all while spending time with your friends, mom or husband?
Here are 10 ways to help make the most of a destination spa visit:
1. Read and Plan
Miraval provides an online guide for daily activities, speakers and spa treatments. Our group of friends met ahead of time to review the guide and discuss our interests. We coordinated morning hikes, spa times and meals. Plus it got us all excited for the trip.
2. Hit the Ground Running
We arrived in the early afternoon, just in time for the gourmet lunch. With only two full days at the resort, we took advantage of this half day. Restorative yoga started the process of relaxing, next we harnessed our “primitive spirit” in drumming. An early evening spa service, a late dinner, and as we enjoyed a glass of wine on our porch, we felt ingrained in our spa vacation
3. Expand Your Horizons
Most of the classes at Miraval are short—45 minutes to an hour—which allows for experimentation. We tried meditation, TRX, Zen Tennis and Flying Dragon Yoga. We also tried spa services like Thai Massage, Body Scrubs and Oriental Foot Massage. The speakers at Miraval are well-known authors and experts on nutrition, spirituality and integrative medicine. We opened ourselves up to these interactive sessions.
4. Take a Leap
The challenges at Miraval dare you to safely jump from a tall pole, walk a desert tightrope, climb a wall or run the desert trails. These challenges give you a thrill and get you outside your comfort zone. If you have been playing it safe for years, consider a challenge.
5. Be Together and Apart
The adrenaline rush of mountain biking on a cactus-lined trail might be your thing, while your friend wants to calm her mind and develop her belly breathing. Your experience will be enriched when you each pursue your own interests. Team up for a cooking or photography class, mountain hike or yoga.
6. Build Friendships
We chatted with a group of ladies who were dining together. They met at Miraval and had become fast friends. They all lived in different cities and enjoyed spending parts of their spa vacation together. Vacations are a great way to get to know your friends more intimately or to meet new ones.
7. Read “Wild”
….by Cheryl Strayed, or some other great book. Sit in a comfortable chair, with the warm, fresh air all around, and let yourself fully immerse in your read. Sip mint-flavored lemonade as you imagine Strayed losing her boot.
8. Eat Like a Queen
Indulge in the gourmet, healthy fare like kale salad; beet, pineapple and cucumber juice; fresh halibut and finely cut melon. Healthy eating is easy and delicious. Ask for the recipes of a few favorites. We loved the tuna fish salad made with lemon and mustard, the black rice with edamame and the sweet potato peanut butter.
Find a quiet spot at your spa to sit, relax and just be. Choose the lounge chairs overlooking the mountains, the warm pools scattered throughout, the quiet garden nooks or even your comfy bed with no alarm clock urging you on. Most spas limit cell phone use. Try to go without for your stay.
10. Go Commando
Dine in your robe after your spa treatment. Take a break from your rigorous beauty treatment, pull your wet hair back in a pony tail and go au naturel (with the robe).