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Desert Gems: Scottsdale Spas
Scottsdale Spa - A Desert Gem in Arizona
by Anne Dimon

With fabulous spas and spectacular hiking trails Arizona has become North America’s Leading Wellness Destination

It’s alive! Freeze dried when it was no more than 10-hours old, the now newly-activated Pevonia seaweed mask that esthetician Luanne Pepper, is slathering all over my face is breathing new life into the skin. Cultivated in northern France, “this fresh sea weed is of a similar cell structure to skin,” explains Pepper, therapist at The Phoenician’s Centre for Well-being in Scottsdale, Arizona. “This is why the skin is able to absorb so many of its nutrients.” Think of a 50-minute face lift, she says. It firms, re-mineralizes, deeply hydrates, oxygenates and leaves the skin with a healthy glow. Pepper calls it “a beauty blast.”

The Centre for Well-Being

Outside this award-winning spa, it’s another glorious day in Scottsdale. Every time I’ve visited I’ve felt there’s something about the destination that seems to make a body feel alive, the spirit uplifted, the mind clearer. It could be the desert, the mountains, or the near perfect climate (more than 330 days of sunshine, they say). It could be the expansive canvas of sky. Today it’s uniformly blue without a blemish of cloud. Combine all that with the ever-expanding spa culture and incredible opportunities for inspirational hiking, and it’s easy to understand why Arizona is quickly becoming the leading “wellness destination” on the continent.

Here at the Centre of Well-Being at the five-diamond Phoenician resort, services such as the Personalized Facial place it on the leading edge for anti-aging and rejuvenation treatments. Here and at other Arizona spas, other offerings also help position this as a distinctive spa destination: for instance, unique treatments that give spa-goers a sense of place.

Last spring after four days of trekking down into the dusty bowels of the Havasu Canyon with Arizona Outback Adventures, my whole body cried out for pampering. The guides at AOA suggested the Havasupai treatment at the Willow Stream, Scottsdale Fairmont Princess. The design of the spa is actually inspired by the turquoise pools of the Havasu Canyon and its incredible 100-foot waterfall. The spa’s signature Havasupai Body Oasis Experience is expressly designed for those like me – who have just crawled out of the canyon – or those who simply feel like they have.

The treatment begins with a warm waterfall shower in the Oasis Courtyard. Tired feet are then bathed in a eucalyptus footbath, as this weary trekker sips herbal tea. A chamomile exfoliation, an herbal bath, an aromatherapy wrap including a face and scalp acupressure massage, gets any body back in the grove tip-to-toe. You’ll feel ready to hit the trails once again. Better still, trek up to the rooftop, adults-only pool area, plop yourself down on a comfy lounge in one of the private cabanas, and nap. Even those who haven’t just hiked the Canyon will enjoy the treatment.

Meditation at the Center for Well-Being

In addition to the pool the Willow Stream spa also houses a gym, yoga and Pilates studios, a café classrooms for fitness class, hot tubs, a cold plunge pool, and a Eucalyptus-infused, hammam-style, inhalation room excellent for the respiratory system and for re-energizing. Mood lit and with soft piped-in music and comfy pillows it’s also a great spot to grab a quick nap between treatments. There are also a number of common rooms some with mini fridges stocked with bottled water and prickly pair lemonade. Here and there are bowls of fresh fruit, organic muffins and herbal teas. Little touches include things such as bowls of iced facecloths located just outside the steam rooms.“We recommend clients come at least one hour before to really enjoy the full spa experience,” says Michael Tapscott, treatment manager.

Another indigenous treatment is the Turquoise Wrap at the Golden Door Spa, Boulders Resort. Inspired by the Native American belief that turquoise is a protective colour, this signature treatment begins with a turquoise bath in a hydrotherapy tub, followed by a dry brushing with blue cornmeal, then a wrap with ionized turquoise clay. Great treatment but I did feel a little rushed out the door at the end of it all.

Fresh from my “beauty blast” at the Centre for Wellbeing, The Phoenician is luxury from the moment you arrive. One of the first things you notice of the sprawling Southwestern-style property set at the base of Camelback Mountain is the meticulously landscaping - not a pebble or cactus out of place. Signature features include an adult-only swimming pool lined with Mother of Pearl, Nature’s Gym (an outdoor fitness experience) and intuitive art guides to help guests tap into their inner resources. Touches of pampering can be found in the cashmere blend blankets on treatment tables, leather lounge chairs in the Meditation Atrium, and on demand chauffeur service to get you around the resort.

Yes, there is something about Scottsdale – all of Arizona, in fact – that makes a body feel newly alive.

If You Go:

The Phoenician & Centre for Well-Being
6000 East Camelback Road
Scottsdale, Arizona 85251

North America: 800-888-8234
Worldwide: 480-941-8200

Website: www.thephoenician.com

Anne Dimon is founder/editor of www.traveltowellness.com

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