If you’re looking for the kind of place where you can hole up for a week and emerge with enough fortitude to face another British winter, Civana could be it. An affordable newcomer on the wellness scene, the owners of the spa resort wanted to create an experience without the boring stuff – the dieting, the supplements, the scales, all of which can be found locally in Tucson.
Civana is an elegant mid-century hotel set in the tumbleweed town of Carefree in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. This low-slung structure framed by boulder fields and mountains houses a distinct approach to health: guests are inspired to discover their life potential via four pillars – discovery, nourishment, movement and spa – with seven complimentary classes daily.
The experiences are designed to be fun, interesting and provide the chance to try new things. Hence the activities range from kayaking, pickle ball and aerial yoga through to the esoteric sound bath sessions, desert bathing, intention burning and an introduction to crystals. Although “Akashic release” – designed to release ancestral karmic debt – proved to be slightly too much.
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Getting up in the dark at 5am is never going to be everyone’s idea of a holiday. However, the only way to enjoy a hike in Arizona is to be on the trail before 6am. A popular hike is to climb the nearby Black Mountain and the resort guides, Copy and Adrian, encourage us as we scramble for nearly an hour over granite rocks and past iconic saguaro cacti, to be greeted by 360-degree views as dawn rises over the Phoenix basin. Well worth the early start.
The theme of the resort’s spa is “healing through water”. There are 28 treatment areas including a Watsu therapy pool, which involves stretching, massage and acupressure in warm water. The “silent sanctuary” is a hydrotherapy circuit designed to target “inner peace and outer balance”, while the aqua vitality circuit is a communal area of hydrotherapy immersions including a hot/cold wading pool and a therapeutic soaking pool.
Nourishment workshops include juicing 101 and a shake-and-stir cocktail class. And it might be reassuring to know that Civana’s food philosophy isn’t about denial: on the menu you’ll find rib sandwiches, mahi-mahi tacos and even cheeseburgers. From grass-fed cows, of course.
Civana Wellness Resort & Spa, 37220 Mule Train Road, Carefree, Arizona; civanacarefree.com
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