A Desert Journey

The Mii Amo spa in Sedona, Ariz., is famous for packages designed to lead people through a spiritual as well as physical transformation. One writer relinquishes herself to the journey and recounts her days in one of the world's most beautiful destination resorts.

BY Rachel Dowd

January 06 2009 1:00 AM ET

Let’s be
honest -- Mii Amo doesn’t have to try very hard.
Tucked in Boynton Canyon, 110 miles north of Phoenix
and 4,600 miles above sea level, the destination spa
is cradled on all sides by scorched red rock and an
impossibly blue southwestern sky. The air smells of dried
sage and sandalwood, and adjacent to the nearby trails
leading deep into the Secret Mountain Wilderness is a
spire of rock known as Kuchina Woman that marks a
place Native Americans and New Agers honor for its
heightened spiritual energy. To the Apache, this is
the place where a woman came to rest after a great
flood, and after she made love to the sun, their tribe
was born.

With that kind of
vibe going for it, Mii Amo would be forgiven for
throwing up a few yurts, drawing a prayer circle in the
sand, passing out a handful of edible twigs, and
calling it a day. But they didn’t.

Instead, Mii Amo,
which to the Yuman Indians means “continue
one’s path, moving forward, or journey,”
built six adobe casitas containing 14 spa guest rooms
and two suites (all outfitted with down featherbeds,
fireplaces, patios or balconies, and extra-deep bathtubs).
The operators designed a spa with two swimming pools
-- one indoor, the other outside -- sauna, whirlpool,
and steam; 19 interior treatment rooms; five private
outdoor “wickiups”; a gym; a library; and
a yoga studio. They erected a Crystal Grotto for
meditation and daily intentions, and -- naturally -- a
prayer circle. They cooked up a menu of Asian and
southwestern fare made from local organic produce in an open
kitchen. You can eat at a long communal table or take
meals outside on the patio, where the view any time of
the day or night is breathtaking.

With amenities so
well-covered, the only real question at Mii Amo is
where you’re going to go, spiritually speaking, that
is. The resort offers five “Journeys,”
or spa packages -- Healthy Lifestyle, Rejuvenation,
De-Stress Mind & Body, Spiritual Exploration, and
Ayurvedic Balance. A Journey can last three, four, or
seven nights (price for single occupancy starts at
$2,178) and includes use of all facilities, a spa robe
-- pretty much all you wear -- three daily meals, and
a selection of treatments, specifically designed to fit
whichever path you choose.

You can also
select your own treatments à la carte, but as
an urban woman in desperate need of perspective,
I opted for four nights of Spiritual Exploration
and threw myself in the hands of Mii Amo's
well-trained staff. What follows is a travelogue of that
journey, which, for all the luxury, nourishment, and
magnificent scenery that accompanied it, proved most
profound internally.

 

Itinerary:

Sunday 3:30 p.m.
Orientation

4:45 p.m. Aroma
Massage

Monday 9:45 a.m.
Cranial

1:15 p.m. mii amo
spirit

5:30 p.m. Flower
Bath

Tuesday 1:45 p.m.
Tarot Reading

3 p.m. Watsu

Wednesday 7:30
a.m. Hike the Red Rocks

1:45 p.m. Reiki

3 p.m. Harmony

 

Sunday

After a two-hour
drive in 100-degree heat, I’m greeted in Mii
Amo’s driveway by a woman who welcomes me with
a strand of beads made by Hopi Indians -- turquoise
alternating with wood. We take a quick tour of the
facilities, she shows me to my casita, and within moments of
stripping out of my skirt and tank top, I’m
alone in the whirlpool. Similarly, no one is in the
steam room or sauna, where I could have stayed forever. Off
to an aromatherapy massage, in which I keep coming out of a
dream state filled randomly with flashes of people I
haven’t thought of in years. Dinner that night
is a butter lettuce salad and fresh spinach and penne
pasta with shredded parmesan cheese. I keep expecting hordes
of people, but it’s quiet. Walking back to my
room in a light, warm breeze, I finally notice the
stars. When is the last time I saw stars? There’s no
smog here. It’s just black sky and stars. Back in my
room, housekeeping has left a journal on my pillow.
The bed is soft and warm and I’m exhausted. I
fall asleep with the screen door open -- nothing but the
sound of wind. I can relax here. 

Tags: Travel

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