The "Get-Away-From Everything" resort experience where even your cell phone takes a break
Today, travel seems to have endless possibilities. You can travel the world and experience adventure, romance, relaxation and explore places on earth you never thought possible.
But for many, the hectic, stressful world we live in requires something so much more when it is time to take that break from it all, even for the shortest of time.
Miraval, acquired by national hotel chain Hyatt Corp in 2017, has now opened its 2nd location in Austin, in the Texas Hill Country. Expanding upon the original location in Tucson, Arizona which opened in 1995, its mission is to “help people acquire tools to regain balance and to restore health and happiness to their lives”. And Miraval has become a leader in mindfulness-based resorts and spa.
Arrival is through the oaks and cedars of the Texas Hill Country. You almost miss the entrance but find your way up a long and winding road where, at the top, you are welcomed with a view across the Valley and Lake Travis. Miraval staff are waiting for you (the intercom at the front gate gives them time to know who you are) and concierge “hand-holding” service whisks you out of your vehicle, assures you they will take care of your bags and there is already a feeling of calm and relaxation as you check-in with drinks in hand.
The quick tour of the grounds provides you orientation; Yoga Barn, Pool, Spa, Meditation Hall, Outdoor Adventure, Farm, Fitness and Culinary Kitchen, but before you can indulge in these experiences, you settle yourself into your “Dreamcatcher Room”, the focal point of which is the oversized king feather-bed (well it felt that way). Hop in and you sink under the luxurious duvet & Italian sheets. All modern with coffee pot, fridge with fresh water and private veranda with spectacular views.
And then the hard part – can you really disconnect to immerse yourself in this experience and put your cellphone, iPad and computer away? But that’s why you have chosen to be here.
It’s an opportunity to step away from the “everyday world”; meditation, fitness, outdoor adventure, hiking, yoga, equine and farm activities, culinary experiences and the spa.
For my wife and I who have been fortunate to travel the world; cruising, adventures in remote areas of China and Morocco, the high altitude of Machu Picchu, to extraordinary private tours of the Vatican and the Duomo in Venice, this was something so different.
We gently floated in hanging silks to feel the benefits of induced meditation to the soothing vibrations from crystal bowls, submerged our senses in essence of wet mossy earth in the body renewal ritual of the “River Flower Wrap”, with a layer of botanical butter that delivers a surge of deep hydration and repair, and experienced the Chinese practice known as Qi; jade stones brushed with warming ginger oil gliding gently over a series of vital life-energy pathways, from the head, over the spine, along arms, legs, hands and feet massaging your body with subtle, restorative pressure.
And there is so much more with unique treatments exclusive to this location. NÂGA evolves from the healing principals of Thai bodywork. An experienced therapist uses strands of richly colored silk suspended from above as an extension of their body for deep lasting Thai compression therapy. Pravasana, where you share visualization and meditation, accompanied by the sounds of Tibetan bowls, your brainwaves descend to a Theta state, allowing your body to relax and your mind to open fully and accept the restorative work. As you return from your journey, find yourself wrapped in the comfort of a heavy blanket and the sounds of Tibetan bowls.
If you need more than just “zoning out” relaxation, don’t worry. Let yourself conquer your fears by taking a leap of faith from a 25-foot pole, navigate the state-of-the-art high ropes challenge course, culminating with a 500-foot-long zipline flight over the treetops, try new fitness workouts like cardio drumming and enjoy the culinary classes focusing on bone broth, plant-based BBQ, chocolate appreciation and wine tasting.
The adjacent farm and equine experiences include horseback riding but also, in the spirit of the resort experience, “mindful grooming”, an opportunity to create synergy between you, your breath, and another being; move a horse around the pen without touching or speaking to identify your communication challenges and strengths.
We truly did not want to leave; the ability to disconnect, to experience a deep relaxation and peace, to know that you can step away from the day-to-day stress, the belief that you can put the cell phone, iPad and computer away and realize how much it means to “let it go”.
All packages include luxurious accommodations, nightly resort credit to use toward spa services & private sessions, all gourmet meals, non-alcoholic beverages, and complimentary shared shuttle service from Austin-Bergstrom Airport and we loved the “no tipping” policy, essential to a “mindful guest experience”.
Note: The resort in March 2019 is still in its “get ready soft-opening stage” with many of the spa treatments not yet available and staff still being hired and trained/mentored in serving you.