With year-round sunshine, and the most resort spas per capita in the country, Scottsdale is a mecca for spa lovers. As a wellness travel expert living in the Valley of the Sun, these are my favorites.
It is easy to lull away the day here, preferably from a private cabana next to the spa’s rooftop pool. Take in the views of Camelback Mountain as you float your cares away. For lunch, enjoy a fresh shrimp ceviche paired with a glass of bubbles (Gruet Blanc de Noirs is my favorite).
For a more active day, you can use the state-of-the-art fitness centre or take an outdoor yoga class. There is a whole roster of classes, but it’s on hold until the pandemic passes. When classes return, aerial yoga is a must for a playful approach to mindfulness.
The spa has reduced its treatment menu, but there are still plenty of options, including the wildly popular Hydrofacial, Shea Butter Wrap, and Mineral Salt Glow.
My favorite is the Relief Massage. This customized massage adds CBD to the mix, which helps reduce inflammation and encourages my ridiculously tight muscles to relax.
Keep the zen vibe going by resting in the quiet room, or enjoy the jacuzzis and saunas which are regulated to ensure social distancing.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Guests must wear masks other than when eating, at the pool, or facedown in a treatment. Temperature check on arrival. Steam and jacuzzi are limited to one party at a time. The fitness room is limited to four people. No reading material in the relaxation room.
The only destination spa in the Valley, Civana Wellness Resort & Spa 71 is also the newest. Surrounded by the Sonoran Desert, it feels a world away from the city.
There is a long list of fitness classes which are free for spa guests. I like the wall yoga and myofascial release classes, and if you stay through the early evening the Sunset Sound Healing is a must.
A defining feature of the spa is the Aqua Therapy Circuit which has the only KLAFS Sanarium in the continental US. It is five experiences in one; a classic sauna, warm air bath, tropical bath, aroma bath, and steam. Studies show it lowers blood pressure and help circulatory problems.
The spa also has a Knepp hot and cold pool, a tepidarium therapeutic soaking pool, and if you’re bold, a cold deluge.
The Sonoran Sea facial is unique and perfect if, like me, you carry tension in your jaw or are prone to headaches. Massage techniques are woven into the facial, giving powerful, multiple benefits. I love that gemstones like rose quartz and amethyst are used to impart their energetic qualities.
I got a sneak peek of The Spirit of the Desert massage that is soon to be added to the menu. This 90-minute treatment uses poultices filled with healing herbs, inspired by the spa’s medicine wheel. Using the sachets and normal massage strokes the therapist coaxed my stressed-out muscles to relax.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Guests must wear masks inside and outside when social distancing can’t be maintained. Health screening and a temperature check on arrival. Aqua Therapy Circuit must be booked in advance and limited to 30 minutes. Indoor fitness classes are limited to four guests.
The Joya Spa at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia 80 holds a special place in my heart and has one of my favorite relaxation rooms of any spa in the world. For a serious splurge, book the Grand Palace Spa Suite, which includes an area for couples’ massages, an infinity bath, a fireplace, and a bed that cost $22,000.
Even if you don’t book a VIP suite, there is so much to enjoy here. The terrace pool has unobstructed views of Camelback Mountain, and a water circuit in the locker rooms takes you back to the roots of the spa, when people used to “take the waters” to improve their health.
With so many unique treatments, it’s hard to pick one. Skip the standard massages and opt for the Neuromuscular Massage instead, which uses techniques to coax the body into better alignment while soothing aching muscles.
To counter the effects of desert living, I like the Signature Black Pearl Detox Facial. This powerhouse skin treatment detoxifies and restores with cool touches like a Shiatsu facial massage and luxurious black pearl collagen mask.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Guests must wear masks in the spa and when face-up during a massage. A new seating arrangement encourages distancing. Guests can request disposable robes and slippers. No reading material in relaxation areas. The relaxation lounge is closed.
Spa Aviana at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch 82 is the only spa in town with a Himalayan salt room. It is a great addition to any treatment you have. Salt rooms detox the system and boost your immune system, which is so important these days. Halotherapy, or inhaling the micro salt particles in the air, also helps inflammation, improves breathing, and promotes better sleep and clearer skin.
There is a mineral pool, which helps relieve chronic pain, improve circulation and reduce stress levels, and five garden side treatment rooms with private entrances.
Book the classic Swedish massage for sheer relaxation, or the Luk Pra Kob, which blends traditional Thai bodywork with steamed herbal poultices.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Guests must wear masks inside the spa, including during treatments. No reading material in the relaxation rooms. Blankets and throws are available by request.
Valley Ho Spa
Jet-set treatments draw inspiration from the best wellness practices worldwide, from the Istanbul Hammam Experience to the Icelandic Moonflower Signature service, combining a scrub or hydrating wrap with a customized massage.
My favorite treatment is the Rock & Roll. It’s a spin on the typical hot stone massage, using hot stones and heated birchwood sticks to work on stubborn knots.
Any spa service comes with access to the resort pools. Come on a weekend and you can join the COVID-modified pool parties, with a DJ spinning tunes all afternoon long. Another ‘spa perk‘ is a voucher good for a free drink anywhere on the property. A Cucumber Collins poolside is a perfect end to your day here.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Guests must wear masks during treatments. Temperature checks on arrival. No reading material in the relaxation room.
Dena Roché is a luxury wellness travel expert from the US.