Over the course of two decades, Miraval, the wellness retreat outside Tucson, Arizona, has become synonymous with mindfulness. It’s the place to go when you want to eat better, breathe better, feel better. And while that’s true, the resort, located on 400 acres of cactus and canyonland in the remote foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, may not be quite what you expect. We broke down the preconceptions:

By Staff
Miraval
Photo by A living canvas

1. It's not just about yoga and spa treatments.

Yes, a stay at Miraval involves relaxation and finding a balance between mind, body and spirit. But the list of more than 120 activities here go well beyond flow practice. You can learn beekeeping at the onsite aviary. Take a photography workshop. Even explore your creativity by painting the side of a horse (the horse doesn’t mind).

Cactus Flower Restaurant
Photo by Miraval

2. The food is plentiful (and delicious)

Call it detox minus the deprivation. The chefs at Cactus Flower Restaurant create seasonally sourced, flavorful dishes that stay true to the mindful eating ethos: Think smoked clams with garden herbs, not juice cleanses. There’s a cooking school where you can learn healthier approaches to bring back home. And yes, they serve alcohol.

3. It’s not just for the ladies.

Miraval may be a favorite for girls’ getaways, but there are plenty of adrenaline-pumping activities that will challenge the most manly of men. Rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking—even beekeeping!—all in the gorgeously rough-hewn desert surroundings. Afterwards, the spa offers guy-tailored massages, body scrubs and salon services.

Mountain Biking
Photo by Miraval
Spa Entry
Photo by Miraval

4. It's not as expensive as it seems.

Miraval is all-inclusive—and not in the screaming-kids-chased-around-the-pool-by-sunburned-parents way. That’s why the price point looks steep at first. But once you understand that meals, most activities, airport transfers and gratuities are all complimentary, you’ll realize it’s actually a great value. Plus, book with us and you’ll get a $175 credit to put toward spa treatments, private classes and special fee-based activities.

Villa
Photo by Miraval

5. It's not your typical vacation.

Miraval has pools and bars and many other typical resort trimmings. But at the center of its ethos is the concept of change. A stay here involves learning the tools and skills you need to live a better, more balanced life. We know that sounds hokey, but once your “experience planner” gets in touch to help define your goals and craft your own personal retreat—whether your focus is stress reduction, digital detox or just plain R&R—you know you’ll come away a changed person.