Scottsdale Spa And Holistic Massage Therapy – “Do you mind if I put my knee on your glutes?” I don’t mind one bit. The massage therapist at the spa at the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Ariz., climbed onto the massage bed and entered me, positioned her knees and then, holding my wrists, pulled my body up and back. There is a crack and then sweet relief – something that more than 50 spas in the city, a suburb of Phoenix, promise to deliver to their guests.
Scottsdale’s spa scene is booming, thanks as much to the rebound from the 2008 recession as the increasing appetite for all things wellness. (Travel industry think tank Skift calculates that global wellness tourism is worth US$563.2-billion.) What this means for travelers is more choices, creative menus with a growing number of holistic options and newly renovated facilities. If you want to explore and relax your mind, body and soul with things beyond a deep tissue massage, this is the place to do it.
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Scottsdale’s closest competitor in terms of spa and wellness destination in the United States is Las Vegas, but hedonism and sensory over-stimulation just average out (if they don’t overpower) all the serenity brought by the treatment. Show headliner Scottsdale, on the other hand, come in the form of sunrises and sunsets, desert hues, dry, dry air and beautiful flora contributor to mental wellness.
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After my back was cracked, the therapist, now out of bed, took a small wooden peg and a hammer, tools for tok sen, part of the practice of Thai massage. Following the meridians in my body she gently and rhythmically tapped the peg down one side and along the other, sending soothing vibrations through my muscles. I left feeling completely relaxed, body and mind, ready to take on the afternoon with a renewed spirit. On this day, which consisted mainly of sitting on the edge of the pool, but it was done with blissful vigor.
For such a crowded market, it is impressive – and necessary – that each spa property has carved out its own niche. Where the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain specializes in Asian-inspired treatments, which take place in exterior wooden suites that allow the desert sun and breeze to peek through, the spa at The Phenicia is an exercise in grand luxury.
After undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation, The Fenisia opened a new three-floor, 40, 000-square-spa spa in April, outfitting it with a rooftop pool, blow dry bar, nail salon and design bar, where scents can. designed for special treatment at home. The hotel was the first luxury resort in the city when it opened in 1988 and the new face of the hotel space gives it an almost age-old experience.
Where other spas, such as Spa Joya at Omni Scottsdale Resort in Montelucia, is filled with groups, women come together to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, The Fenisia treats couples and singles, and with so much space to relax and wait for a. service, the experience felt even more exclusive. Between the “tranquility suite” (waiting room), nail lounge, rooftop swimming pool and changing room, one can go half a day without spotting anyone.
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Here, the treatment theme is “transformative.” The harmonic bowl treatment, for example, is basically a no-touch massage. Himalayan singing bowls are placed around or above the body, and the therapist runs a baton around the bowl, producing sounds and vibrations intended to affect the body on a cellular level, for relaxation and energy balance.
I tried gem stone facial healing, vegan treatment that even included an exfoliation gem polish and rose quartz gem clay mask felt like the most facials I’ve ever had – until the esthetician put a small piece of rose quartz over each eye. It felt strange at first, but then quickly relaxed; added weight quieting my mind from the random thoughts that usually run through my head when committed to lying down on the treatment bed for 80 minutes (“What should I wear for dinner? What should I order for dinner? Can I make it to Target before eat?”). Rose quartz is associated with the heart chakra; uses crystals that are meant to help release negative energy and make room for positive energy to flow in. My knowledge of crystals is non-existent, but I feel fresher after this treatment than I ever have post-face.
For those looking for active rejuvenation, the Fairmont Princess delivers. Instead of an elaborate experience, “we want to change someone’s life,” says spa director Eric Sears. Treatments from the spa and health and wellness facilities include everything from cupping, a type of deep-tissue massage that helps with pain and inflammation, to IV treatments, assisted stretching and energy air yoga — swaths of red fabric hang from the ceiling to help. stretching and strengthening.
Meanwhile at the newly owned Civana, just outside of Scottsdale proper, there is a focus on alternative therapies, such as angel and tarot card reading, the art of Yin yoga (a yoga class that ends in a drawing session) and sound bowl meditation.
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Not everything is for everyone, but that’s the point. The average spa traveler will fill their three-day weekend with two treatments a day, says the Fairmont’s Sears. LaRae VerroArs, spa director at Sanctuary at Camelback Mountain says there is a healthy “co-opation” among spas in the city – they work together to make sure they can work independently.
What it means for travelers is that there is something in Scottsdale to heal what ails you – what can be. Deserts have long been a place connected to spiritual journeys and purification. And for those free spirits who also count the number of threads on their sheets, ScottsdaleArizona may be the answer. Abutting Phoenix, the state’s capital, Scottsdale has an aprodigious population of spas and hotels, not to mention a surplus of breathtaking views, outdoor action and a thriving food scene. Often ranked as one of the most livable US cities, it’s a distinction no doubt helped by its mild winter climate and 299 days of sunshine annually. Home to the saguaro cactus – a Herculean finger-like plant that grows and flexes over the years – there is a magic and enchanting beauty that surrounds this desert.
Splayed across 40 acres of striking desert scenery, theFour Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North sits in a prime location between the city of Scottsdale and the city of Phoenix. The 210 well-proportioned rooms are spread across the property in a series of one and two-storey casita-style designs. Offers a sweeping view of the tangle of rocks that form the Pinnacle Peak – notable features throughout include rustic gas fireplaces, beckoning sitting chairs and certain suites come equipped with telescopes and star charts. Designed with Southwest influences repeating throughout, you will find a palate ofcream, purple, and burgundy, which represents the color cascade from the surrounding desert.
While there’s a great 24-hour gym with an amazing schedule of free classes, perhaps the best way to relax and connect once here is to step outside and experience Pinnacle Peak on foot. Reaching an elevation of 3,200 feet, this moderate walk is both smooth and risky, an ideal first port of call.
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Once completed, the 12,000-square-foot spa offers ideal relaxation. Book for the property’s signature moonlight massage. The menu here offers everything you would expect in terms of massages, scrubs, nail and facial treatments, as well as many extras, such as the introduction of local and seasonal ingredients, including saguaro blossom, state flowers, kana. treatment and formulation. Also ask to experience the aroma therapy bar and make your own scented scrub or moisturizer. As for the surroundings, expect plush robes, saunas, steam rooms and excellent spa boutiques brimming with both local and international brands.
In fact, the entire resort was designed with serenity in mind – from the mighty hot tub to the three swimming pools (one of which is adults only) to the welcoming sun-drenched deck chairs and commanding desert views.
And of late, the hotel’s food has become a major talking point, ever since Samantha Sanz took over the kitchen. Just shy of 30 years old, Sanz is amazing. The reinvented Talavera is inspired, drawing influences from Spain, Mexico and elements of Peru, the menu becomes a label, because it is something unique. Try a twist on paella or splurge on succulent 10 ounces of Wagyu beef.
One constant in the world of wellness is the concern over exorbitant price tags. With websites like Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop touting serenity crystals, psychic vampire repellents to rid the world of negative energy and gold dumbbells worth $125,000, it’s easy to feel ripped off by this new breed of health guru. Located just outside of Scottsdale, the CIVANA spa and resort — under the aptly named Carefree — is trying to fill the void, offering a retreat with a more attainable price tag. Based on four pillars – movement, spa, nutrition and discovery – CIVANA is a holistic wellness destination with a heavy roster of classes, experiences and spa treatments. The spa has 22 treatment rooms and includes a kneippe walk, Sanarium, Watsu therapy pool, 25-meter pool, sundeck and salon. And while you are onsite
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