Arizona resort puts New Age spin on luxury stays

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The second night of our stay at Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Ariz., just after a Thai table massage at the resort's on-site Mii amo destination spa, my wife and I entered into a surprisingly deep discussion about our lives.

And the next morning at breakfast, the couple with whom we ate did not appear particularly unnerved or uncomfortable when we cautiously shared details of our soul-searching experience the night prior.

That may be because Enchantment Resort, in the middle of Arizona's dramatic Red Rock country, is also in the heart of Boynton Canyon. The canyon is considered by New Age devotees to be one of the world's great spiritual energy vortices, right up there with Stonehenge and Machu Picchu.

Thus our late-night, probing conversation. And thus a perfect spot for a luxury spa and resort vacation for anyone seeking a "higher" experience.

"It's an amazing place," said Paulette Silber, who leads daily vortex walks and classes in qigong, Chinese movement meditation.

Silber referred to quantum physics when she discussed the canyon and the rejuvenating sensations guests at Enchantment experience. Of course, it could all simply be the result of the area's astonishing natural beauty.

R.J., an on-site Native American teacher, explained that Boynton Canyon is sacred to Native American tribes because they consider it their Garden of Eden.

"A young Yavapai-Apache woman made love to the sun here and created the tribes of the Americas," R.J. said. "People seem to open up at Enchantment in ways they never did before."

A fellow guest at Enchantment asked me, "How long have you been coming here?" We were watching the morning sun highlight the hues of the rocks.

"First time," I said.

"I've been coming for years," he said in reply. "I belong here."

Enchantment is a 70-acre, 220-room property studded with 71 low, adobe-style casitas -- all with uninterrupted canyon views.

An attentive staff at the resort, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World and Preferred Hotels and Resorts, makes guests feel at home. Management has appointed the resort with Native American and Southwestern art.

It has also embarked on an admirable foray into ecology, offering environmental programs from guided tours of the night sky with an astronomer to joint activities with the U.S. Forest Service.

Jeep tours, hiking, horseback riding, tennis and hiking are very popular guest pastimes. The central clubhouse boasts two restaurants, game rooms, a gift shop and a heated outdoor patio.

Mii amo Spa

Treatments at Mii amo Spa go beyond pampering. They treat the whole person, combining ancient Native American healing with New Age and Eastern disciplines.

Mii amo, a Native American term meaning "journey" or "to go forward," is 24,000 square feet of Southwest pueblo snuggled against the natural slope of the canyon. The facility enjoys an aura of tranquility thanks to design -- use of adobe brick, indigenous stone and natural light and water -- as much as to the treatments offered. 

The centerpiece of the spa is the Crystal Grotto, a womb-like meditation space with a crystal mandala decoration, and the indoor pool, which is ringed by sitting areas and a fireplace.

A cafe offers an eclectic cuisine of grains, seasonal produce and fresh meats as well as cooking demonstrations.

Mii amo's spa menu includes several kinds of facials, Ayurvedic treatments, complex massages and spiritually based therapies like Re-Balance and Body Wisdom sessions. There are nutrition and fitness programs and themed retreats like the Mother-Daughter and Summer Solstice packages.

My Thai table massage, performed by a very strong female massage therapist, stretched and kneaded my body into improbable shapes. And my masseuse made me laugh. Mii amo doesn't take itself too seriously.

Sure, treatments are on the "cutting edge" with an emphasis on creating harmony with self and nature as a lofty goal. But for a luxury destination spa, Mii amo is unpretentious and friendly, which itself can be a healing experience.

The spa has 14 guest rooms, in the form of adobe-type casitas, and two deluxe spa suites.

What it will cost

Nightly rates at Enchantment, single or double, range from $350 to $450 for a casita bedroom, $450 to $550 for a casita junior suite and $1,225 to $1,525 for a two-bedroom hacienda suite. Rates don't include taxes and fees. Kids under age 12 stay free.

Enchantment's travel agent fam rates run from $155 to $175 per night.

Mii amo Spa offers three-, four- and seven-night packages. Packages include accommodations, three meals daily, use of all facilities and basic spa treatments. Casita accommodations begin at $1,785 per night. Spa suites start at $2,235.

There are no industry rates at Mii amo. Enchantment and Mii amo both pay agents 10% on most stays.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to [email protected].

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