When it comes to visiting destination spas, I approach them like a true New Yorker. I’m nervous when I hear they don’t serve alcohol—how am I supposed to relax?! And I’m competitive when booking treatments—who’s your best facialist because I didn’t come all the way here to go home looking like a tired hag!
But at the same time, I don’t have a moment to lose—time is precious and I’m here to relax, so I better just jump right in. Which is how I often find myself wrapped up (tricked into?) new age-y beliefs and mantras that back on the mean streets of NYC I’d just ignore. Take for example my recent visit to Mii Amo spa in Sedona, Arizona—the famous “vortexes” in the red rock canyons somehow lulled me into a mellow and calm Native American spirit.
Each day at Mii Amo begins with a morning ritual inside a crystal grotto—a circular room where a therapist leads a Native American-inspired blessing. On my day, she burned sage and encouraged those gathered to set an “intention” for the day. One minute, I wanted to roll my eyes, and then a little voice said, “It’s no hokier than when you did Oprah’s ‘gratitude’ journal.” The next thing I knew, I’d pledged to be “healthy” and “joyful” throughout the day.
Later, at my Intentional Aromatherapy Massage, the therapist asked me to choose from one of 10 “intention” cards describing feelings and emotions. This time, I couldn’t really roll my eyes because I didn’t have my glasses. Instead, I held them close to my face and was oddly drawn to the card, “I am happy. I welcome adventure” with other words sprinkled around like “possibilities, happiness, enthusiasm.” Damn, there’s that “intention” nonsense poking up again. Based upon my choice, the therapist mixed a personalized massage oil—spearmint, lavender vera and geranium bourbon. After a gentle dry brushing, I received a massage with the blended oil as well as a head, neck and scalp massage, and well, felt pretty joyful.
Post-treatment, I headed to the spa’s juice bar and order up an Avocalada—an addictive smoothie of avocado, coconut puree, and pineapple. Since it was my last night before heading back to New York, I asked the bartender to add two shots of rum—with the “intention” of helping me ease back into my Manhattan life.
Dishin’ Tip from your GBF (gay best friend): Head into town to meet with a Hiking Concierge at The Hike House to get a list of trails personalized for your abilities and interests, as well as shop for some of the cutest outdoor apparel around (and that’s not an oxymoron).
Mii Amo Spa at Enchantment Resort, 525 Boynton Canyon Road (928-203-8500 or miiamo.com)
For more of Jon Paul’s travel, check out his blog Poptimistic.com