Arizona Spas: A Healing Journey in the Desert

March 25, 2012 Updated: May 15, 2012
Epoch Times Photo
The Boulders, a signature resort and spa, in the dramatic setting of the Sonoran Desert in Carefree, Arizona. (Courtesy of The Boulders Resort)

In deep thought, I gingerly placed one foot at a time on the spiral floor pattern. I was “walking” a labyrinth in view of 12-million-year-old granite boulders, towering saguaros, and prickly pear cacti—all brightened by the crystal, azure sky.

I had arrived at the spectacular Boulders Resort sculpted in the dry, dramatic landscape of the Sonoran Desert in Carefree, Ariz., near Scottsdale.

My personal mission was to achieve peace, relaxation, and a sense of mindfulness during a week of spa treatments, nature hikes, yoga classes, and an indulgence in wholesome and organic cuisine to feed my body and soul. The Boulders was one of three resorts where I was nurtured in nature and natural herbal treatments.

First Path to Wellness

The Boulder’s Golden Door Spa, the oldest, continuously operating, destination spa in the U.S., is an architectural masterpiece with a circular, glass-encased tearoom in full view of the mountain-scape.

Sounds of waterfalls flowing by the neighboring pool and soft music added to the tranquil atmosphere. The spa’s café offers some reasonably priced, wholesome sandwiches and smoothies.

Connected to the 33,000-square-foot spa are a 2,000-square-foot fitness center and a thriving organic garden. I noticed a teepee where group shamanic classes are held periodically to further enhance the mental, spiritual, and emotional healing experiences.

My spa treatment consisted of a vitamin C facial. Esthetician Brandi, a woman with flawless ivory skin, skillfully massaged and exfoliated my neck and face, preparing it with antioxidant properties. My skin was definitely a-glow afterward.

Epoch Times Photo
The labyrinth at The Boulders. (Beverly Mann)

During the afternoon, my partner and I headed for a 20-minute drive toward Pinnacle Peak Park for a 3.5-mile hike through an undulating hillside trimmed with giant saguaros and a wide variety of succulents and snakes (which luckily I didn’t encounter). Some 150 species of flora overlook the breathtaking views of the city below.

Cave Creek Regional Park is just 15 minutes from The Boulders and well worth a trip north along Carefree Highway. This 2,922-acre park, a site of a miner’s exploration and development some 120 years ago, has lots of hiking choices.

We trekked just shy of 3,000 feet up on the Go John Trail, a scenic switchback of approximately six miles that took two and a half hours. The weather during December was glorious—cool, crisp, clear, and sunny. At times, I felt I was traipsing on another planet, as I eyed the endless, gray, and craggy terrain.