10 perfect wellness escapes in the Grand Canyon state

GayCities encourages you to stay safe during the Covid 19 pandemic. If you choose to travel, we recommend that you follow all CDC Travel Guidelines and adhere closely to all local regulations regarding face coverings, social distancing and other safety measures.

Couple enjoying the Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix

After more than a year of restrictions, one thing we can all agree on is that we could use a bit more “me” time–especially outside of our homes and in the great outdoors.

So as we emerge from sheltering in place, make sure to take some time to plan meaningful trips that incorporate elements of healing.

From luxury resorts and their indulgent spas to nationally recognized Arizona gourmet health-food restaurants to the abundance of sunshine and nature that the state offers, Arizona is the perfect place to start your planning.

1. Experience the Iconic Arizona Biltmore’s Transformation


Rendering of the new Arizona Biltmore, poolside

The Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, has undergone a major facelift. Check out Renata’s Hearth, the resort’s new Central and South American-inspired restaurant that celebrates grilling. Pair your meal with specialty tequila and mezcals at Spire Bar, the resort’s new outdoor watering hole anchored by a 1930s spire that serves as a tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright. Make sure to grab a Tequila Sunrise. Legend has it a bartender working at the hotel came up with the now-legendary cocktail to help quench Arizona sizzle. 

And don’t miss the Saguaro Pool, the resort’s adults-only swimming destination, where you can relax in the warm water and then retreat to the romantic alcoves and cabanas. And while sipping your mezcal by the pool, be sure to gaze at Arizona’s magnificent and second-oldest Saguaro, as she is absolutely perfect. 

2. Stargazing and Endless Hikes at ADERO Scottsdale

Perched high above the Sonoran Desert, ADERO Scottsdale is located within one of Arizona’s only Dark Sky Communities, making it one of the most inviting places for guests to experience the magic of the desert skies. The resort shows off breathtaking views of mountain peaks in every direction, and nearly all of the resort’s 177 rooms include private oversized balconies with telescopes so that guests can take in the starry skies from the comfort of their private spaces.

The views are just the start. In fact, you can even be part of the view. Guests can safely experience the resort’s 17 wide-open acres that provide endless options for enjoying the outdoors, from sunrise yoga among the canyons to picturesque hikes and mountain biking along 55,000 acres of desert terrain. The Adero Canyon Trailhead, which leads to endless hiking, is just a short walk or shuttle ride over from the resort.

3. Glamping with Under Canvas 

Set upon 160 acres of secluded forest, Under Canvas Grand Canyon is located about 25 minutes from the South Rim entrance to Grand Canyon National Park. It offers luxury accommodations near one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World with safari-inspired glamping. All tents come with always-appreciated (while outdoors) private bathrooms and are furnished with super chic West Elm furniture, ensuring a comfortable (and fabulously fashionable) experience surrounded by nature.

Camp amenities include a guest experience coordinator, on-site dining, a zen garden, and of course, a fire pit for s’mores.

4. Stay in North America’s First Landscape Hotel

A first of its kind for North America, Ambiente, a Landscape Hotel, (opening summer 2021) is uniquely designed to blend in with the mystical red rocks of Sedona while providing the opportunity to experience and embrace the natural beauty that surrounds them. The hotel is made up of forty cubed-shaped atriums elevated above the ground by steel piers and constructed using floor-to-ceiling, bronze-tinted glass. The glass reflects the nature around it at dusk, creating incredible mirrored silhouettes, and the atrium’s sleek design embodies elevated minimalism.

5. Dive Into a Water-Focused State-Of-The-Art Spa

The Spa at Civana Wellness Resort recaptures the honored art of healing through water. The spa’s hydrotherapy thermal circuit of hot & cold pools, cool waterfall shower, and beautiful solarium (offering humidity and heat from within) play an essential role in healing the body and calming the mind. This unique therapeutic circuit is one of the spa’s most important healing rituals of “taking the waters”: and all guests enjoying spa services are encouraged to begin their journey with this one-of-a-kind experience.

6. Soak in a Thermal Water Oasis After a Day Spent in Nature

Since it first debuted in the 1880s, no less than the likes of John F. Kennedy – not to mention various Vanderbilts, Astors, and Roosevelts – have sought out Castle Hot Springs’ three mineral-rich, 120-degree pools for their rejuvenating properties. Come here to take a good soak while relaxing your muscles and clearing your troubles. Afterward, unplug in one of the 32 guest rooms, or stay outdoors and continue to connect with Mother Nature through activities like hiking, climbing, horseback riding, stargazing, tai chi, and even gardening. 

7. Head to the Mountains for All-Inclusive Luxury

Located in the mountains outside of Tucson, the all-inclusive Miraval Arizona has more than 400 scenic acres for guests to enjoy. The resort’s award-winning Life in Balance Spa features treatments from all over the world, including Ayurvedic and Thai massages to Qi grounding rituals. Packages include credits for spending at the spa or on private sessions with the resort’s wellness experts. Additionally, packages include casita-style accommodations, healthy cuisine created from Miraval’s own organic gardens and beehives, and over 120 complimentary activities to choose from, including wellness lectures, mediation, art classes, hiking, and culinary courses. 

8. Pickleball for All at this Desert Resort

Set on 316 acres of sweeping Sonoran Desert, JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa embodies all things luxury, recreation, and rejuvenation. The on-site Revive Spa Fitness Center is complete with six Peloton spin bikes. Bikes can also be found as a guest amenity in six new Peloton rooms. Book the JW Peloton Room Package to conquer fitness goals from the comfort of your guest room, with up to 14 live-studio cycling rides streamed daily and over 4,000 classes on-demand. Just outside the fitness center, Revive Spa’s yoga lawn is lined with artificial grass, overlooking the resort’s 21,000-square-foot Chef’s Garden. The resort now also has 17 new pickleball courts that are professionally surfaced, including an expansive Center Court with a 400-person capacity. The resort has hosted USA Pickleball Association Tournaments and a competition with the Professional Pickleball Association, featuring the top players in the U.S. who competed for the largest purse prize in Arizona history ($75k).

9. Yoga Under the Moonlight or with Prosecco

Held outdoors under the moon and stars atop the rooftop deck at Mountain Shadows Resort Scottsdale, with the iconic Camelback Mountain in the background, this one-hour yoga practice incorporates insight into your horoscope and perfect poses. After the flow, enjoy a mini sound healing session featuring Tibetan singing bowls and tuning forks that create vibrations to relax the body & mind. After the transformational session, retire to The Living Room for a cocktail or glass of wine.

10. Rediscover Yourself at this Red Rock Retreat

The Southwest’s foremost luxury resort, L’Auberge de Sedona, offers endless opportunities for outdoor and personal discovery tucked into Sedona’s famed red-rock canyons on the banks of Oak Creek. It will welcome guests on all-new mindful Revitalization Retreats beginning the week of June 20. Professional Life Coach and Soul-Centered Facilitator Donna Bond is at the helm. She will guide guests throughout this 4-night, 5-day experience and offer the coaching, tools, and activities necessary to make the intentional and sustainable changes to have a positive and lasting impact on participants’ overall health and wellbeing.