Arizona is hot — and not just due to its desert climate, but also because of its booming travel industry, which continues to swell thanks in large part to health-focused destinations like the 117-room Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa and Canyon Ranch in Tucson, which have kept the state at the epicenter of the wellness-travel industry for decades. Unfortunately, high price tags have made many of the top wellness resorts inaccessible to much of the traveling public. Enter Civana, a new hospitality wellness brand that debuted last year with the opening of its first property: Civana Carefree (pictured) in Carefree.
With wellness demand growing at such a rapid clip, Civana has set out to create an affordable resort that’s accessible to a wide swath of individuals and groups. The former Carefree Resort and Conference Center, which underwent a $40 million renovation to become Civana Carefree, the property focuses on four pillars: healthy cuisine, movement, healing arts and spa, and enrichment programs such as meditation and sound-bowl sessions.
Those pillars are evident across the 189-room resort’s offerings. Dining takes place at two restaurants: an all-day outlet, Terras, that specializes in shared plates and vegetable-forward dishes, and Café Meto, a casual spot with a calorie- and nutrition-conscious menu. An on-site fitness center includes Aktiv Virtual, an on-demand digital kiosk providing personalized workouts and expert-level coaching. The Yoga & Energy Center includes a studio for both wall and aerial yoga, a movement/spin room and two other flexible movement studios. In addition, there’s an outdoor yoga lawn and a brand-new, 22,000-square-foot spa that opened in December 2018 with a variety of hydrotherapy immersions, including a tepidarium (a warm relaxation room), a hot/cold walking pool, a cold plunge shower and a saunarium.
For meetings and events, Civana features 23,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor space.
Four More Sizzling Spots for Arizona Meetings
Groups looking for a great value in the Grand Canyon State have plenty of other options, regardless of their budget. Here are four more hot meeting properties, which run the gamut from affordable to opulent.
• JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa. Immediately west of downtown Tucson, at the gateway to Tucson Mountain Park, this resort is the perfect compromise between urban and outdoorsy. Set among 330 acres that include ample hiking and biking trails, the resort offers 540 guest rooms and suites with private balconies; five bars and restaurants, plus a Starbucks; a 20,000-square-foot, full-service spa with 25 treatment rooms; three nine-hole championship golf courses; and 88,f000 square feet of event space, including a 20,000-square-foot ballroom, 26 breakout rooms and six private terraces.
• Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. Some meetings properties, like this Fairmont, are as legendary as they are luxe. Arizona’s longest-running AAA Five Diamond resort, the Scottsdale Princess offers “al fresco living” in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, overlooking the McDowell Mountains. Along with 648 guest rooms and suites, there are five restaurants and bars; six swimming pools, including the new Sunset Beach pool with 9,000 square feet of white sand; two 18-hole championship golf courses; a 44,000-square-foot spa; and 316,000 square feet of event space, including two standalone conference centers that each contain a 23,000-square-foot ballroom.
• Sheraton Grand Phoenix. For a mix of location and value, it’s hard to trump this Sheraton ideal. Steps from the Phoenix Convention Center in downtown, the hotel is the city’s largest, with 1,000 guest rooms and 110,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including a 27,000-square-foot ballroom, 30 meeting and breakout rooms, and two outdoor areas. Plus, there’s a café, three restaurants and bars, a 24/7 fitness center and an outdoor lap pool.
• Little America Hotel. Established in 1973, this Flagstaff property is an Arizona classic. But thanks to a 2.5-year renovation that was completed last August, the hotel feels fresh, not fusty. On more than 500 pine-covered acres at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, the Little America is home to 247 guest rooms, 13,770 square feet of renovated meeting space, a restaurant and bar, and numerous hiking trails.