Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa Review (A Better You?)

Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa is more than somewhere to sleep, eat, and play. Guests come to this all-inclusive destination spa and wellness retreat to push themselves to find connection with their true selves and nature. With a focus on emotional, physical, and spiritual health, it’s no wonder this wellness resort is a favorite of Oprah. Miraval provides a space to get a glimpse of what we all want — a better life. But will a stay here make you a better person? Read this review to learn what to expect at Miraval Tucson.

Miraval Resort in Tucson, Arizona
Miraval Resort in Tucson, Arizona (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

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Sonoran Desert Beauty

Located on 400 acres of idyllic land in the Arizona desert, the mountains at Miraval in Tucson cut triangles into an expanse of a baby blue sky painted with tufts of white clouds. Unseen insects buzz like electric poles. Occasionally, the tootles of diminutive mourning doves bubble through the air. Fiery orange flowers burst from the clawed grasp of a potbellied barrel cactus. A butterfly weaves drunkenly from a honey-scented carpet of blooms up to a mesquite tree branch.

In spite of the all-encompassing heat, or maybe because of it, everything seems startlingly alive. The animals, the splintering cacti, and the feathery trees seem to shout, “I am here! Notice me! I am alive!”

Desert flower at Miraval
Arizona desert flower at Miraval (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Miraval Activities

The daily Miraval schedule is almost overwhelming. Should I get my heart pumping with a Zumba class, or stretch my stressed muscles with yoga?

I could hurry over to the meditation class that starts in 10 minutes, or just take a dip in the bi-level pools. The irony of my desire to maximize this opportunity to relax and live in the present moment is not lost on me.

Swimming pool at Miraval Resort
Swimming pool at Miraval Resort (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)


I am nervous that the Reflect & Transcend class might be a little too far outside my comfort zone, but I decide to go anyway. Coach Leigh (Miraval’s therapist/tennis instructor) tells participants to close our eyes and visualize laying on our death beds.

She quotes Bob Dylan’s It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding), saying “That he not busy being born is busy dying.” She says no one is getting out of this life alive.

Then she instructs us to picture saying goodbye one by one to the most important people in our lives. She asks, “What would you want those people to say about you once you are gone?”

I picture my children sitting at my bedside. The thought of them growing up without a mom brings a hard, stubborn knot to my throat. I open my eyes for a moment to look at the other participants. Everyone sits still, with eyes shut, picturing what none of us wants to believe we will one day face. I vow not to cry.

What kind of mother would my children remember me as? How would they describe me in the years following my passing? “She was kind,” is my hope. Tears push through my sealed eyes because I am not certain that’s what they would say.

Arizona desert landscape at Miraval in Tucson
Arizona desert landscape (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Dining at Miraval Arizona

The food at Miraval is not doused with butter, salt and sugar. It takes my taste buds a day to adjust to what healthy food should taste like.

In the morning, I grab a freshly made Green Juice from the smoothie bar. After my desert hike, I sit in the resort’s solitary restaurant, Cactus Flower, and order a made-to-order omelet from the menu. Then, I fill a bowl with lime-mint yogurt and spoonfuls of berries, walnuts, and ground flax seed, plus a sprinkle of brown sugar.

Miraval's healthy but delicious food
Miraval’s healthy and colorful cuisine (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

For lunch, I fill my platter-sized plate with salads of quinoa, fresh greens, and brightly colored vegetables. I begin to develop a taste for kale.

An iced lemon berry cookie beckons to me. Having learned from the Mindful Eating session to stop stressing about food, I delight in savoring its sweetly tart flavor and pillowy texture.

Kale salad at Miraval
Surprisingly delicious kale salad (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Life in Balance Spa

At the spa, I change into a fluffy robe and let someone else take care of me for a change. Hot stones massage away the aches from the previous morning’s horseback trail ride through the desert. The heat of the stones makes beads of sweat gather on my forehead.

I focus on the cool breeze trickling in from the air conditioning vent above. I relax into a state of Zen as my muscles are kneaded free of knots.

Spa treatments include facials, massages, scrubs, and wraps. You can also opt for acupuncture, crystal energy work, and Ayurvedic options. There are salon and nail care treatments, too. But isn’t about the spa services. It’s about you.

Lap pool at Miraval's spa
Lap pool at Miraval’s spa (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Friends or Solo

During happy hour, I make friends with other guests over refreshing berry mojitos in the bar. We swap stories of breakthroughs and share recommendations for various Miraval fitness classes.

There is a warmth and camaraderie amongst guests that makes me feel comfortable during dinner, even though I dine alone. I savor bites of steak served with mushroom risotto while devouring that novel I never can find time to read at home. (Cell phones and other Internet devices are discouraged so pack inspiring books to read if visiting solo.)

Berry mojito
Berry mojito at Coyote Moon Bar (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Five Percent Better

Coach Leigh warns us that it is impossible to live 100 percent as you do at Miraval after you go home. There is, after all, no equestrian center horse at my house refusing to lift its foot so that I can learn what is blocking me from achieving my goals, as in the Equine Experience. My backyard has no adventure course, either, with a tightrope to help me face my fears.

Instead, there are bills to pay, laundry and dishes to wash, and phone calls and emails to answer. But we can change five percent, she says. After a few days of exercise, introspection, meditation and relaxation — I feel strangely nervous climbing aboard the shuttle from Miraval to the airport.

Although I am excited to live my life to the fullest with the new skills learned at Miraval, I worry that transferring these lessons to real life will be impossible. I stare out the window at the desert landscape and wonder, “Which five percent do I choose?”

Casita at Miraval
Casita at Miraval (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

What’s Included (And What’s Not)

A stay at Miraval doesn’t come cheap but a lot is included in the price of your stay. A complimentary shuttle from Tucson Airport is even provided.

Wellness activities and outdoor adventures like hiking, fitness center use, yoga classes, morning stretch, meditation, wellness lectures, and a climbing wall are available free of charge.

In addition to free classes, some exercise classes like aerial yoga and various activities like cooking classes require an additional fee. Each Miraval experience includes a daily per person resort credit that you can put toward special classes or spa experiences.

All healthful meals at the onsite Cactus Flower Restaurant plus snacks, smoothies, and non-alcoholic beverages are also included. Alcohol drinks can be purchased for an additional fee.

Bridges at Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa
Bridges at Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Book Your Stay at Miraval

Read more Miraval Arizona reviews on TripAdvisor or book your Miraval Resorts stay directly at Miraval.com. In addition to the Tucson location, there is a Miraval Austin in Texas and Miraval Berkshires in Massachusetts. You can book a weekend stay, but for the best Miraval experience, I suggest staying for at least three nights. Sometimes discounts are provided for longer stays.

Discover More Amazing Spas

View the best luxury spas in Scottsdale, with offerings like rooftop pools, a Himalayan salt room, and Thai massage.

Enjoy red rock beauty and experience mystical vortexes at Enchantment Resort Sedona.

Learn about Iceland’s most popular geothermal pools, Blue Lagoon and Sky Lagoon.

Experience the circuit of hot, cold, and relaxation at the best Nordic spas in Canada.

Miraval Resort Tucson Arizona Review

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Do you think a visit to Miraval Arizona could help you live a 5 percent better life? Let us know in the comments below!

A Note from The Travel Mama: Miraval Resort & Spa in Tucson, Arizona hosted my stay at their resort for the purpose of this review. All opinions are mine, as always.

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  1. This sounds like a wonderful Grownup Getaway 💕. You are a beautiful writer and made me cry during Introspection. But you don’t REALLY want to be remembered as Kind? I think we want our kids to think “She loved me fiercely”. And we DO 💪

    1. Thank you, Karen, for your kind words about my writing. That means more to me than you know.

      During that particular introspective meditation, being remembered as kind is what came to mind. It would probably be different today, or any different day. I know I have been a good mom and they would remember me as such. I know I’ve made my mistakes, too, but hopefully the good outweighs the bad. And you’re absolutely right…I have loved my kids fiercely…and they know that in their heart, soul, and bones!

  2. I like that notion of living 5% better. As much as I love spa getaways, I think you need to do things like that regularly or else you just get stuck in a rut.

  3. This place looks amazing! We loved Arizona and plan to take the kids one day when restrictions are lifted 🙂

    1. So glad you plan to visit Arizona again with your kids! Keep in mind, though, that Miraval is an adult-only resort. They used to do a family week each year but I couldn’t find any recent information about that on their website.

  4. I NEED OT GO HERE! Have you ever had one of those moments when someone said something or something happened that was just meant to be. Well….this post was it…you do not even know! Thank you and I will be following through. 🙂

  5. Beautifully written, Colleen! I can see why Oprah or any woman would love Miraval. What a great place to relax, learn and come out a better person. I loved the visualization of lying on the death bed and how you want to be remembered. I need to do that once in awhile to put things into perspective. I am suggesting this as an option for my next girlfriends’ getaway.

  6. This is my favorite post of yours (and I have read so many!). The descriptions were so vibrant and the story truly made me want to head to Miraval. Not that I ever had a moment when I didn’t want to head to Miraval. Good enough for Oprah, good enough for me! 🙂

  7. Oh, I love your descriptions! It truly is a beautiful place! Your writing gets me lost in a peaceful world and takes me back! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I love your take on the visit!

  8. What a beautifully written, heartfelt piece. Miraval seems like a life altering place that all mothers (fathers too) should experience. Thank you for sharing.