Soak it In
For more than two decades, Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa has been a destination for spa-goers determined to have a different kind of experience. Its approach to wellness has developed a cult-like following thanks to unique offerings and a whole-being approach to wellness. Beginning in December, the brand is bringing that experience to Texas with the opening of Miraval Austin, a 220-acre getaway on the shores of Lake Travis.
Miraval bills itself as a mindfulness-based resort and spa, a company that goes beyond treatments and attempts to treat the body, mind, and spirit. In doing so, its intention is to provide guests with experiences rather than simply services.
"What we endeavor to offer is a robust spa program, things you can only experience at a Miraval," explains Simon Marxer, corporate director of Miraval spas. Those robust offerings include everything from wellness programming to fitness classes to yoga to nutritional counseling.
Basically, this is all to say that Miraval Austin isn't your mama's spa. Sure, guests can book massages or facials, but they can also try their hand at activities like horse painting — literally painting on horses — and yojana, a practice where partners take turns placing crystal bowls on one another and making them vibrate.
If it sounds a bit — witchy is the word that comes to mind — it is. Since launching in 1995, Miraval has developed a reputation as a nontraditional spa vacation, offering things like tarot card and psychic readings in addition to traditional treatments.
While this kind of spiritual practice is certainly having a moment in the current zeitgeist, Marxer says it's not about being on trend, but treating the whole being.
"Having a psychic, tarot cards, or astrology, it has a sense of being larger than oneself and takes you out of your everyday experience. I think that’s what’s so compelling about that kind of programming," he says. "It forces a change in perspective."
In order to bring the experience to Austin, the Hyatt-owned Miraval took over the Travaasa Austin property at 13500 FM 2769 near Volente. In addition to 117 rooms and suites, the massive property includes a spa, mindfulness center, the Cypress Creek Organic Farm and Ranch, Life in Balance Culinary Kitchen, a full-service restaurant, smoothie bar, two infinity pools, and outdoor meeting and event facilities.
True to form, the resort will also have some "Austin" features. "We’ll have live music on the property," says Marxer. "We have a food truck and will be offering meet-n-greets with some of the staff and some of the guests who choose to join us. Our goal is to take some of the things that are inspiring [about Austin] and let them fit into the wellbeing lifestyle."
Taking advantage of the spa's previous incarnation, Miraval Austin will feature a ropes course like the one at Travaasa, and its Hill Country locale also means the spa can offer something its other locations can't: an equine program.
Beyond painting on them, spa-goers can learn how to ride horses, interact with them as a path towards mindfulness, and use the creatures as inspiration for group exercises.
All this wellness comes with a price, of course. Packages range from unlimited experiences ($600-plus per night) to getaway packages upwards of $700 a night. Experiences are then added a la carte, allowing for a customizable experience, a hallmark of the Miraval brand.
"We attempt to meet people where they are," Marxer explains. "You can come and have a pampering day, but if you want to partake in some of the things that reflect back to you — are a little deeper dimension — you can come for that, too."