I had anticipated this moment for a long time. I fell in love with Mii amo, a destination spa set amid the Red Rocks of Sedona, Arizona, when I visited it briefly for a single spa treatment a few years ago. Going for a Mii amo spa journey had long been on my bucket list. And here I was, stretched out on a spa table in the outdoor treatment room, a perfect Arizona blue October sky overhead.
My senses were aware of every sound and smell. Smoky mesquite from the courtyard fire pit. Dampness from the rain washing down the Red Rocks the previous evening. The soft whisper of wings as a brilliant red cardinal flitted about on a low adobe wall a few feet away. And I'm certain I heard footsteps of past generations who wandered this magical Sedona canyon.
My Mii amo spa journey proved to be a life-changing spa adventure.
Mii amo is a destination spa surrounded by the magical Red Rocks of Sedona's Boynton Canyon. The sacred canyon, which has always been an important part of the Yavapai-Apache history, holds a fascination for me. It's one of the few places in the world where I feel entirely at peace. As I drove up to Mii amo for my journey, though, I had no idea just how much peace I would discover.
How Mii amo is Unique
Mii amo isn't your typical day spa. Sure, you can book an a la carte experience at Mii amo, which was the way I first experienced the spa. But the real treasure here is to book a journey. These customized, 3-, 4-, or 7-night all-inclusive experiences include your stay, three amazing meals each day, two spa services daily, and use of all the facilities—indoor and outdoor pools, steam room, sauna, whirlpool, fitness center, classes, workshops, hiking. I opted for the 3-night journey, which included two 90-minute and four 60-minute services.
The experience starts when you first book your stay. After selecting your journey length and date, you pick a focus or intention. You get a lengthy questionnaire that lets you describe what you want to achieve during your stay. You can select all of your treatments from a designated Mii amo Journey™ or pick and choose to create your own.
Mii amo has five different journeys, each with a different intention:
- Destress Mind, Body & Spirit
- Healthy Body in Balance
- Spiritual Experience
- Transformational Wisdom
- Soulful Essence
I went into this thinking I would choose one specific journey, but ended up finding treatments and workshops that fit into several. I made my choices, discussed it with my spa consultant, and designed a customized experience. I was excited before walking into the front door, but I could not have anticipated how magical the visit was going to be.
The Mii amo Experience
Even now, I can close my eyes and transport myself back to that visit. It was the most personalized—and deeply personal—experience I've ever had at a spa. I started out a little nervous. I saw there were several “group” activities on my agenda and sometimes those make me uncomfortable. Not only did they prove to be not uncomfortable, but the interaction with the other guests helped create the unique spa experience.
The rooms are such amazing retreats themselves. After I checked in, I took some time to relax in my room and appreciate the large patio, fireplace, and the most amazing beds. I had gifts waiting for me, which are left for every guest. The signature blue robe (only journey guests get blue while day visitors get a beige robe) remains my favorite robe. There is a water bottle, a bag, and a note that talks about your intentions for your journey.
We started with a casual “meet and greet” in the library, where I discovered a small group of other men and women who were all there for different reasons. I immediately felt a kinship with my fellow spa-goers. The stories were so varied: two lifelong friends on a relaxing retreat; a mother-daughter pair who reminded me of trips I'd taken with my own mother over the years; a couple spending an anniversary together; the woman trying to overcome her grief after the passing of her mother from dementia; the woman seeking out a new path after overcoming a life-changing illness and divorce.
And there was me. Yes, I went to write about the spa and the experience, but I had just gone through one of the hardest years of my life—my mother moved into a dementia care home, my father had suffered a stroke, my father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, my mother-in-law had heart problems, my son was going through a career change, many friends had gone through horrible losses throughout the year, and I was trying to figure out the next stage of my life and career. I felt a bit as if I was busting at the seams. I decided to abandon “reporting” during my stay and experience the resort more like an actual guest might do. A novel concept for someone who usually observes and reports from a distance.
It proved to be life-changing. I found a sense of peace and tranquility that made me reconnect with what is important in my own life. And it was a combination of the location and the setting along with an incredible staff and attention to detail that is unsurpassed. I truly believe it gave me a chance to rediscover the passions in my soul and to reconnect with what mattered to me.
The Food Experience
The Mii amo journeys are all-inclusive, but this doesn't mean you get a buffet dinner. And just because it's a spa doesn't mean you can only eat quinoa and tofu. The food at Mii amo was amazing. In fact, I had a lamb dish one night that was probably the best lamb I've ever eaten. The crusted salmon served on ramen noodles was so simple but full of flavor. It's one dish I wish I could duplicate at home.
Everything is fresh and the menu changes every few days so it becomes a thrill to sit down each evening and anticipate what options might be available. There are many different choices of appetizers, entrees and desserts. The chef prepares flavorful dishes using seasonal produce.
And good food isn't limited to lunch and dinner. I really enjoyed the breakfasts. While full breakfast is available, I usually opted for the light fare because I didn't want to be too full for my spa treatments. I would start with a cup of tea, yogurt, fruit, and granola.
In addition to the three meals every day, the Juice Bar serves up everything from smoothies and energy drinks to wines and cocktails. I loved being able to stop by every afternoon for my fruit smoothie.
Part of the experience also includes hands-on workshops and cooking demos. I did the Journey of Teas one morning and enjoyed sampling White Lion teas. I particularly enjoyed Desert Passion green tea. We learned about the health benefits of tea and it was another opportunity to share stories with the other guests.
Other options, depending on the days you visit, include wine tasting, organic gardening, and juicing.
I loved the option, each evening after dinner, of having a pot of tea and my dessert delivered to my room. I usually opted to have them deliver it about an hour after I finished dinner. That gave me time to go enjoy the pool or hot tub and make my way back to my room, where the sweets were waiting. I would sit by my fire, sip a cup of tea, nibble on sweet treats, and reflect on the day. Absolute perfection.
The Spa Treatments
Of course, Mii amo is most well known for its incredible spa treatments. I had received the Inner Quest a few years ago when I was staying at Enchantment Resort and thought it was one of the best spa experiences ever. It was just a warm-up for my journey. I had some of the best treatments of life during those four days.
I was surprised when my Mii amo consultant booked me for an 8 pm treatment. I've never had a night treatment but discovered that it leads to the most amazing sleep. That first treatment, Abhyanga Shirodhara, was quite the introduction. Two therapists worked in sync on my full body massage. After that, one therapist slowly poured warm oil on my forehead and gave me a relaxing scalp massage.
During my time at Mii amo, I had a basic massage, a session in Reiki healing, and a Kinectic Flow that used a unique table that left me feeling almost weightless. I had a consultation to help me understand how to bring more ayurvedic concepts to my life, took a vortex walk and went stargazing. I participated in a past life regression and sat in on guided meditations. And the treatment rooms each offer the most incredible Red Rock views.
There are great amenities at Mii amo and plenty of spaces to just sit and reflect. The locker rooms, one for men and one for women, are comfortable and have everything you need, complete with a fresh robe and slippers waiting in your locker each morning. I enjoyed the sauna and whirlpool in the women's lounge. There are indoor and outdoor pools, both of which are co-ed. The spaces throughout the spa are relaxing and welcoming, giving you the opportunity to chat with other guests or to sit alone for quiet reflection.
One of the best experiences was that I happened to plan my visit during a week that Cathleen Miller was the featured guest. Cathleen is a master intuitive and holistic practitioner and my time with her took my Mii amo journey over the edge.
Cathleen offers “empowered wellness solutions” and she gave me a chance to slow down, find my calm, and realize what is important in my life. When I arrived at Mii amo, my life was chaotic. I honestly didn't know where to go or how to organize my life to make it calmer. Cathleen helped me look inside myself, helped ask me the questions I needed to answer.
When I made my way to the grotto my last night for the departure ritual, I realized my pace had slowed down. I was emotional as I talked about what the journey had meant for me and as I listened to other guests talk about their journeys. The experience came at a time in my life that I needed it most. I never expected to find so many answers to questions I didn't even know I had the day I arrived. I take a lot of assignments and travel the world, but right here in the Red Rocks of Sedona, just two hours from Phoenix, I discovered the most amazing life journey of all.
Today, as I sit in a brand new but much smaller home in Central Phoenix, surrounded by the things that mean the most to me, I realize those four days at Mii amo were truly life-changing. My Mii amo journey started a journey of my soul that is taking me solidly into the next stage of my life. For more ideas on visiting magical Sedona see these articles by Wander writers.