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Miraval Resort's Spa Garner's "Nations Best Spa" from Four Magazines
By Karen Mracek, The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News 

Apr. 13, 2004 - Four national publications have named Miraval Life in Balance the nation's best spa in the past year. In this month's Conde Nast Traveler magazine, Miraval is recognized as the best destination spa in the United States. 

The spa, north of Tucson in Catalina, also has been recognized as the world's best overall spa by Travel + Leisure magazine, the nation's best destination spa by Zagat Survey and the nation's best large spa by Spa Finder magazine. 

"It's like the Grand Slam or the Triple Crown," said Jim Root, spa director at Miraval Life in Balance. 

Nearly 1,300 Conde Nast readers ranked resort, destination, urban-hotel and cruise-line spas throughout North America and the Caribbean. Of that, 47 spas made the grade. 

Tucson's other destination spa, Canyon Ranch, was named the nation's No. 2 destination spa in the Conde Nast Traveler survey. The spa, in the Catalina Foothills on the Northeast Side, also was named the nation's top mega-spa in the Spa Finder awards and grabbed the No. 3 spot on the national Zagat Survey and in Travel + Leisure's list of the world's best spas. 

"Everyone at Canyon Ranch is thrilled at the popularity of destination spas in Arizona," Canyon Ranch spokeswoman Katie Garber said. "We've known for a long time that this is a wonderful place to live, and it's a wonderful place to vacation as well." 

Spreading that word nationwide is good for the area's entire tourism industry, said Barbara MacDonald, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau. 

"It brings worldwide attention to Tucson," MacDonald said. "It helps give us sort of a glamorous image that we certainly try to capitalize on." 

That could bring new customers not just to local spas, but to resorts as well, she said. 

"A lot of people who book their stays often stay at another property a day or two to recover from their flight before going to the spa or vice versa," MacDonald said. 

Miraval ranked highest in Conde Nast's destination-spa category, with a rating of 90.1. It had a perfect score in the "programs and facilities" category. 

"We are so very proud and satisfied with this, because it gets back to the 'I' in Miraval, which is the individual," Root said. 

Canyon Ranch scored 88.5, and got a perfect score in the "staff/service" category. 

In a poll of Conde Nast's spa-going subscribers, 71 percent said they were interested in spas that offer Asian-inspired treatments. Many of this year's top-rated locations -- including Miraval -- feature Eastern massage therapy methods, including Chi Nei Tsang and shiatsu, as well as acupuncture. 

"Mindfulness is a 2,500-year-old practice derived from the teachings of Buddha," said Lhasha Tizer, wellness educator and stress-reduction counselor at Miraval. 

"The application of it as a regular practice is profound, as much today as it was when Buddha lived and taught." 

Miraval, which opened in 1995, offers 106 hacienda-style guest rooms on 135 acres. It features a yoga center, four swimming pools, restaurants serving healthful gourmet cuisine, a Zen garden and meditation and nutrition classes. 

Visitors to the spa can participate in adventure challenges, hiking, biking and horse riding. "We appreciate the opportunity to create individual experiences for each of our guests," Miraval spa director Root said. 

Miraval Life in Balance is owned by Triad LLC, which does business is Tucson as NextHealth Inc. The company went private in March 2002. 

-----To see more of The Arizona Daily Star, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to 

(c) 2004, The Arizona Daily Star. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. 


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