Trip Recap: Miraval, Arizona

I had such a great time on the weekend getaway I took with my husband Don to The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona earlier last month that I decided to head back again just last week for a little more desert R&R.  I booked three nights at Miraval, a spa resort located just outside of Tucson, Arizona for a solo retreat.  I’ve enjoyed traveling solo since I officially became an “adult” in my late teens, even taking myself on day trips and overnighters along the east coast when I was in college.  As much as I love traveling with my husband and family, there is something uniquely special about solo travel.  It allows me an opportunity to explore, learn, and grow in a way that only venturing outside the comforts and routines of home can do.  When I choose to go on a solo trip, it’s usually due to the need to reconnect with myself.   Whether I know it in the planning stages or not, this always becomes apparent at some point in my travels.

I’ve been to Miraval twice before, although my last trip was six years ago now.  It is such a beautiful place, both literally and figuratively.  The resort is set in an isolated (and super quiet) location, surrounded by gorgeous desert scenery, flora and fauna.  I saw deer, rabbits, coyotes, and even a roadrunner during my stay!  The grounds are stunning, with each building styled in subtle ways and widely spaced so as not to interfere too much with the natural landscape.  The design of both the grounds and interiors are beautiful yet simple, allowing you the opportunity to enjoy without feeling overstimulated or overwhelmed by too much fussiness.  The food is outstanding, made with the freshest ingredients.  It’s the most indulgent “health food” I’ve ever had anywhere!  The portions are appropriately sized to allow you to savor the flavors without overdoing it.  The spa and pool area, both of which have been completely renovated since my last visit, are sanctuaries of tranquility.  I have yet to have a less than stellar treatment there!

There is a lot of flexibility in how you can treat your stay at Miraval between all of the many physical and emotional well-being activities offered on a daily basis.  There are exercise and yoga classes, guided meditations, hikes of all levels and intensities, seminars, and one on one consultations, just to name a few.  Just look at one day’s offerings and you can see how much one can experience when at Miraval!  Of course, everything is elective, meaning you can plan your own schedule to reflect your unique needs.  Some people like to have jam-packed days filled with classes and experiences to learn from, while others prefer to spend their days quietly, resting by the pool, at the spa, or in the stunningly appointed rooms.  I fall somewhere in the middle, opting for a few activities peppered with plenty of quiet time and spa treatments during my stay.  One of my favorite parts about the Miraval experience is that I can have the best of both worlds there between outward and inward exploration.  That is why I keep going back and will continue to do so whenever I am able.

While it is certainly on the more expensive side, staying at Miraval does include all meals and snacks with buffet offerings for breakfast and lunch and a new menu each night for dinner.  There’s a great smoothie bar that puts out the most delightful cookies everyday after lunch, as well.  Cookies at a spa resort?  Yes, please!  They are tiny, but delicious, and fall perfectly in line with Miraval’s approach to healthy nutrition: eat well and enjoy, just don’t overdo it.  Most of the activities are also included in the price, with some additional charges for special offerings.  For instance, I participated in the Equine Experience, which cost an extra $45.  I would have gladly paid thrice that amount or more for that experience!  Spa services are not included in the price, but most packages offer a nightly resort credit that can be applied to treatments.   So, while it is pricey, you can really get a lot of bang for your buck if you make good use of your resort credits and activity selections.  Plus, the experience is such a unique and amazing one that if I can swing it, I will book it, no question!

I share a bit from each day in this slideshow of pics I snapped with my iPhone (so handy for travel!) during my trip:

[portfolio_slideshow id=2813]

I did vlog a bit throughout my stay and go into more detail about my trip in the video below:

I hope you enjoyed this look at my solo retreat to Miraval last week.  I feel so blessed to have been able to experience the beauty of the desert twice this year already.  Arizona holds a special place in my heart and I know I will return again and again to experience the healing power of the desert.


* This is not a sponsored post.  I am not affiliated with Miraval.  I paid for all of my travel expenses. *


79 thoughts on “Trip Recap: Miraval, Arizona”

  1. Good afternoon Jen! Just curious…..what did you discover about yourself that has helped you move forward since your experience in the desert? I don’t expect you to get too personal in this format….but overall what did you overcome, improve, get revelation, etc…? Thank you in advance for your response! 🙂

    1. It was a lovely way for me to reconnect with myself, find some firm ground to stand on, and focus on what I’d like for the future.

      1. Jen, thanks so much for replying! What do you mean when you say find some firm ground to stand on? What firm ground did you find? Look forward to your reply!

        BTW- I have only been to Arizona for a layover flight to LA. That was during the summer though and it was 111 degrees. WOW!

  2. It was so lovely seeing a vlog from you! Arizona has never been a place I had in mind to travel, but I completely understand wanting to go somewhere warm and sunny and peaceful after weeks of our grey late winter. I’m saving up for a spa trip myself, to be taken in a few months around my birthday. Hot stone massages are one of my favorites, as are body scrubs and facials. You feel amazing for days afterward. The meditation class sounded really interesting. How was floating in the hammocks? I think I’d fall asleep. 🙂

    It could be the way the light is reflecting, but I kept noticing a smudge in the middle of the frame, particularly in the beginning half of the vid. My eye would be drawn to it. Certainly no big deal, but the lens might need cleaned.

    Thanks again for the vlog! <3

    1. That smudge is actually a scratch on my lens, which I understand is completely annoying. I have been putting off buying a new camera to see if my insurance will cover the scratch. Hopefully I’ll have a resolution soon!

  3. Wow – what a beautiful experience you had! I’m so, so happy for you that you made that trip. It looked as though it would be amazing for one person to go to rejuvenate, for a couple to enjoy eachother, or a couple friends to celebrate friendship. From a far it looked like “just what the doctor ordered” for you at this time.
    You seem to give so such to everyone around you Jen, it made my heart happy that you gave yourself that precious time at the resort. High fives to you!
    I’ve now put Miraval onto my bucket list! Even to send our kids there on a pre-wedding trip would be amazing wouldn’t it!
    Thank you so much for sharing your special trip with us – that was very kind of you to do so.
    I actually found myself tearing up when you spoke of your experience with the horses – that was very touching 🙂
    You’re a special kind of person – you are 🙂
    Best to you,

  4. Jennifer, I really miss your vlogs and i am so happy to see a new one ))) and I completely agree that the comments on vlogs should be turned off.

  5. Jen, this was so generous of you to share. I love how comfortable you are traveling and spending time alone. You’re inspiring me to think about doing the same for myself. And how fun to get a peek inside this beautiful place! Looks like you had a wonderful, relaxing and special time. I’m happy for you. You deserve it.

  6. Hi Jen!
    I loved your vlog! Do you watch the Real Housewives of New Jersey? They stayed at Miraval and it is shown in about 3 episodes from season 5. It seems like a great place for healing.
    Take care,

      1. Lol that’s ok! The housewives series is my guilty pleasure…You would probably find those episodes a little interesting since everything would look so familiar to you. They also show the horse therapy with Wyatt. That looks like it would be really insightful! Hope you and your family are doing well and again thank you for the vlog!

    1. I remember those episodes! They did the “It’s not about the Horse” horse therapy stuff as well as other trust building activities!

  7. HI Jen!
    I read your post and all of the pics are really nice (going to watch the video when I get home! ;-). I remember you spoke about having IBS. I myself suffer from something similar as I have my tummy swollen almost everyday and have stomach aches from time to time (for far as I can remember) and it has to do with being nervous all of the time (for no apparent reason) and depending on what I eat. 🙁

    My question is: I’ve seen all of the delicious food you show in the slides and everything looks sooo amazing! Were you able to eat everything being served in those smaller portions and having several little meals each day, or did you happen to have some issues with your condition?

    I don’t mean to be rude or anything,(sorry if this feels more private to you), but since I’m being diagnosed these days (I’m having tests to get the exact condition and I’m also 30), just felt curious about your experience when you are on holiday and have these amazing opportunities with such delicious food. 🙂

    Thank again for everything Jen! Really enjoy all of you videos and specially the travel vlogs! 😉

    Take care and Happy Easter to you, Don and Winnie 🙂

    Greetings from Barcelona,

    1. I have made great strides since being diagnosed with IBS 6 years ago and have basically eradicated my symptoms through stress management, learning which foods are triggers for me, and taking the proper supplements to suit my individual needs (just a multi and probiotics! Sometimes less is more). That’s not to say I don;t suffer from the occasional flare up, but for the most part I am able to enjoy what I want as long as I am mindful about it. It was through a lot of patience with trial and error that I got to this point. I think with IBS everyone’s journey is different.

      1. Thank you so much for you reply Jen! I really apreciate it! I will wait for my doctor and the results and hope to be able to manage my nerves!

  8. Arizona is such a beautiful place and I have always wanted to travel there. My husband and I are planning a “babymoon” and are considering Arizona. We are looking for R&R, spas and GREAT food. Do you think the Phoenician would be a good place for a babymoon or do you have another suggestion for somewhere else in Arizona?

    1. The Phoenician was great! Miraval is also excellent for couples and their spa offers some nice prenatal options.

  9. Jen…what a peaceful getaway!!! That place looks so serene and relaxing and beautiful. What a great place to see Gods amazing creation. I am happy that you went and enjoyed your time solo. Much need sometimes in life and I appreciate you vloging about this amazing place. I hope it helped your heart as I can tell you are burdened about something and you are in my prayers. Love these Vlogs Jen. TFS : ))

  10. It was fantastic to get this look at Miraval. My family lives in Tucson, so this looks very much like home to me, even though I live up in the cold, cruel north now. So glad you had a good time! You mentioned wanting to recreate the frozen mint lemonade this summer. Did they give you the recipe? It sounds fantastic.

    I marked the time in your video when you got footage of the gila monster to show it to my son. In spite of going back to visit every year, we’ve still never seen a gila monster in the wild, and I don’t think he’s had a chance to see a roadrunner in the wild yet, although I have. What he’d really like to see are the javelinas when they come out in the middle of the night!

  11. Jen, Thank-You for sharing your trip with us! I know I do not speak just for myself but you are greatly missed!! I could tell even before you said you cried that the experience with the horse was quite emotional. You are a very warm hearted person and you expect to much of yourself, granted that most of us always strive to do better and be better at whatever we do. You are a wonderful amazing person, Your a wonderful wife,aunt,sister,and any mother would be proud to have you as a daughter. Dont be so hard on yourself,except yourself as you are and you will find the inner peace that your looking for! Good Bless You!

  12. Jen I have a request for a video on OLJ if you have any ideas – how to organize a dorm room and how you organized your dorm room. It is such a tiny space and I am always looking for new ways to organize my space. When you were in college did you have your own room at all?

    1. I was lucky to have a single for my junior and senior years and man I packed a lot of stuff into that tiny space! I recommend bed risers and underbed storage.

  13. OK, I think I figured out how to ask this without being nosy – I’m really struggling to understand this Horse Therapy (been googling it) – can I just ask – did you cry because of frustration? or did you cry because of something you learned about yourself? Reading other blogs about it…I still don’t get it. Thanks for considering Jen!

    1. It was just very revealing, particularly about what is blocking me from feeling free in my life. I’m not a big crier, especially in public situations, but the experience was intense. In a good way 🙂

  14. Jen! I loved it all! Oh how I miss your daily Vlogging, but I will take what I can get. It truly made my day to find this vlog in my feed!! So happy right now! Youtube has been a sad place without your Vlogs. Thank You so much for sharing and being so generous! Take Care!

  15. Thanks so much for a great trip vlog! I always love your vlogs especially travel ones! And I LOVED seeing Miravel! It truly looks like an amazing place to be able to go for some wonderful healing! The horse therapy stuff sounds amazing, as well as the hikes and meals and spa and everything really! Thank you so much for taking us along and sharing with us! Loved it!

  16. Wow that looks lovely 🙂 I have been to a spa for the day but really want to stay overnight in one 🙂 The dessert is so stunning , as much as I like England’s beauty I would love to experience something so extreme but beautiful at the same time !! I like travelling alone as well but only to a point for instance if Its for work and the trip is short and I will be occupied for the whole time as well as it giving me a sense of independence , I am only 17 . But if I was on a trip like this I would like some company , especially at times like for dinner and just generally relaxing 🙂 Anywho thanks for the vlog and i look forward to the next one x x x

  17. Mind-Body-Spirit vacations. Sounds wonderful. And that bathroom. Oh my. Thank you for sharing and inspiring. Now, if we can all get little mini-versions of that into our daily lives.

  18. Great to see you relaxing and what a beautiful spot to do it! I love Miraval and can’t wait to get back there. Even though I live here in Arizona, it does require some penny pinching and planning to go. If anyone else is planning a visit, I highly recommend the Thai Massage. It was so relaxing that I proposed to my masseur on the spot! Great to see you vlogging again Jen.

  19. What a treat for us to get a peek into such a wonderful, peaceful get away for you. You had me sobbing during the share about your experance with the horses. I think of you often, and send positive, healing thoughts, and energy to you often. I send blessings to you & Don, (you have a wonderful, attentive husband) xo LissaLei

  20. Thank you for sharing your trip with us. It was obvious that you felt centered and reconnected with yourself by the end of your vlog. It looks like you had a fantastic time at a wonderful place!

  21. I enjoyed your video. The place looks awesome. I think you seem so happy in Arizona. Maybe consider relocating since your hubs works from home. We only live once and you should be happy. I felt how emotional you seemed when talking about the horse etc. you are such a sweet sensitive person. 🙂

  22. Jen – I really admire you & in a lot of small ways you have influenced my life for the better. I wish nothing but love, health, and happiness for you. Hope to see more of you on YT soon – been missing your posts.

  23. I knew I was going to enjoy your video. I always do. When I saw you sitting at the airport, I said, Yay, she’s taking us with her. I’m so happy you had a great time. What a lovely place to unwind and learn more about yourself. I have to try that frozen mint lemonade. Thanks again for sharing!

  24. JEN!!!! I LOvedddddddddddddddd the vlog!!!! Thank you for filming!!! I now have a spa resort on my vacation wish list!!!

    Much love!!!

  25. Hi Jen! What a LOVELY video! 🙂
    I really admire you for taking vacations by yourself. The idea sounds really awesome for me too, and I would really like to go somewhere by myself. But my social anxiety has me terrified just when I think about going on a trip by myself. When you go somewhere by yourself, do you talk with random people you meet, or do you tend to keep to yourself? (If you don’t feel comfortable sharing some tips, I totally understand.)
    I wish the online community weren’t so mean and you could share about your journey with social anxiety. Could you PLEASE point me to any books, videos, movies (anything) that helped you with this? I currently live with my parents, but soon I will have to move to a different state to start dental school and the thought terrifies me greatly!

    Hugs to you, Winnie and Don 🙂

    1. I generally keep to myself but I am friendly when other people approach me. As for dealing with social anxiety, there are a lot of factors that play into it, but for me the biggest help has just been patience and practice. Being in social situations now seems far less terrifying than it did even just 3 or 4 years ago. I try to be gentle but firm with myself, pushing what I thought were anxiety boundaries before. A little bit at a time over a long period later…I do so much better in social situations. I think practice and experience has helped me most of all, as well as loving and trusting myself completely.

  26. Sigh…..looks like a place I’d like to go!! I live in the NW and every year about this time I crave sun and warmth.

  27. I really enjoyed your vlog and blog post, Jen. Thank you so much for sharing with us.
    Your trip sounded very refreshing and relaxing. I live just south of Tucson and
    know the beautiful weather alone is sometimes enough to reconnect with yourself and enjoy life. Thank you
    for reminding us all to take time for ourselves and just breathe. 🙂

  28. Hi Jen…
    You looked SO relaxed in the vlog… I live in Arizona and I love desert life so much. My question is did you enjoy the yoga meditation in the hanging silk hammocks? I’ve always wanted to try it! They look like colorful cocoons…

  29. Hi Jen

    I loved reading this blog post after watching your vlog. I think that the pictures and the coordinating comments below it are great. I love getting up in a morning and watching one of your vlogs or your other current videos and reading the blog post with my morning coffee. Thanks for sharing! X

  30. Hi Jen! Loved the vlog…we are just beginning spring in New England, it was nice to see the Arizona sun, blue sky, flowers blooming, sunsets. The spa looked so relaxing, wish I could visit. Thanks so much for sharing.

  31. Hi Jen! I really enjoyed your video and am glad you did too! I am trying to “reconnect” with myself as well and have been struggling for a while with family issues but I felt very relaxed after hanging out at the resort with I did feel your emotion and saw it in your eyes when you were discussing the equine experience. As it is said: “the eyes are the windows to your soul”!!! I hope now that you are home the spa experience is still having a positive affect on you. Thanks for sharing this beautiful place – Sincerely, jeannette

  32. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this special time with us! I love that you went back to the beautiful AZ desert so soon. March/April/May is the perfect time to embrace Tucson (my home town… proud UA alum!) at its finest.

    The horse-therapy connection is mystifying and magical, and often hard to comprehend on a real-world level. I always felt that spending time with my horses was an honor and a privilege, they have so much to teach us humans. I didn’t know Miraval incorporated them into their programs in this way… how COOL is that?!!

    I’m now imagining how COMPLETELY awesome a blog meet-up kind of OLJ girlfriend getaway there would be (all with our own rooms of course.) I bet if you organize it, certain of us would come with (meditation) bells on!
    Maybe some day???? A girl can dream! 🙂

  33. Jen, I think this is my favorite vlog of yours! It was clear that you were relaxed, focusing on yourself, and HAPPY! It felt like all negativity from the past couple months had disappeared. Hope you continue to share what feels right, and that you continue on the path of self-discovery! Thank you so much!

  34. Thanks for sharing! Looks so peaceful there and I was happy to see what the equine experience did for you. Animals are extremely healing creatures that teach us so much about life, you know?

  35. Jen,
    I loved reading and seeing your trip report. It looks so refreshing just in the pictures. I love reading your blog and your vlogs.
    Thanks for sharing yourself and your life with us.

  36. Jen, this place looks amazing! Just emailed my sisters to see if they want to do our next sisters’ getaway there.

    I’m glad you were able to get away and go to our “happy” place and have a few days of relaxation. Solo trips are sometimes exactly what the doctor ordered as you just need that time to reflect and unplug. Now I need to plan my next long weekend getaway.

  37. Hi Jen!!

    Loved your vlog, you definitely looked so much for relaxed and relieved. To be honest, we have a very similar personality and I must say kudos to you, your very comfortable with yourself and I think it so hard to just be in your own company. It sounds strange but I always see anyone who is alone has to be on the phone or something..because we’re always been in “groups” with people, and I appreciate seeing your perspective on a getaway for yourself. thanks for sharing this =) I hope that floating yoga was fun, it sounds amazing! by the way, any recommendation on some good reads?

  38. As a horseperson, it was interesting to hear about your equine experience. There can definitely be something spiritual about interacting with horses. However, while it is true that there needs to be a trust for a horse to give you their foot – any well-trained horse should offer up ANY of them with the correct cue. It’s trust in people, not in a particular person, by that point in their life. Just thought you might be interested to know.

  39. I can’t thank you enough for sharing this with all of us. Due to illness and finance issues, I will never be able to experience this, and it was so exciting to be able to “experience” it through your eyes. I realize now that the NJ Housewives took a trip there, and they showed their experience with the Equine Therapy, and I have been fascinated by the idea since seeing that. I am so happy for you that you were able to go, and that it was a good experience for you.

    Thank you for these vlogs and posts, I really enjoy them and it is very generous of you to share this with all of us. I hope you will be able to get back to Miraval, or at least Arizona, again soon as you seem to really enjoy it.


    1. They have changed that policy now so that small electronics can be left on during takeoff and landing so long as they are not transmitting on a cellular network.

  40. Hello Jen! I noticed you were in Arizona through your instagram, I believe, and I was curious what city because I live in Tucson and it’s the perfect weather to come for a visit! I’m so excited you came to Tucson and made such an awesome vlog and really showed how beautiful Tucson is. I just get so excited when people get to see the beauty of the desert and our gorgeous sunsets! If you’re ever back in Tucson and need a restaurant guide for delicious (authenic) mexican food or anything else, I would love to help!

    I’m so glad you enjoyed your trip! 🙂

  41. Hi Jen,
    just wanted to say, I think you are a very talented writer. Loved what and how you wrote about the spa subject. This just great 🙂

  42. Hi Jen,
    After 30 years of living in Tucson, I finally got to experience Miraval…about a week before you were there. And without a doubt, it’s a place to go back to and worth saving up just to do it. I may even brave it in the summer, when temps are high, but prices tend to be lower at the local resorts.

    Thanks for recording this…you captured the beauty of Arizona AND Miraval…it’s everything you said it was…and MORE!
    PS: guess I’ll have to do the Equine Experience next time!

  43. I know I’m late, but I just finished watching your Miraval video and reading this blog post. Now I know the timing was perfect for me. I’ve been having some difficult personal struggles lately, as we all do at times, and for some reason this really helped. I especially appreciated you sharing your Equine Experience so candidly. There was just something about the video that was so soothing and relaxing to me, and I thank you.

  44. The beginning of your video made me tear up. Your words were along the lines of what I was trying to explain to close family members last week. It honestly stinks sometimes when everything seems to go well and then all of a sudden the rug is pulled out from under you and you struggle to get up and try to figure out why it happened to you.

    I wanted to thank you for both talking about journaling and Simple Abundance, both have helped me out ever since my big personal issue, and I also want to let you know that even though we don’t know each other, my thoughts are with you as you find your way.

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