I am a big Miraval fan on its original location in Tucson, and I’ve even written here about it a couple of times especially my 10 things I love about Miraval. It having a new location in Austin, which made travel easier, i decided to give it a three day try over the Christmas holidays. I hadn’t posted about it and I was asked which one i preferred so I decided to gather my thoughts in the blog. The answer: It is hard to say. I’m just going to point out the differences and similarities, and a comparison on what my 10 things i loved about the Austin location.
My original 10 things I loved and how they compared?
- The Life in Balance Spa – There is obviously a SPA here as well and in terms of SPA I think Austin’s might actually be better. At least its bigger and newer and a lot of the same treatments transferred. I had some great therapist and some not so great but that’s the luck of the draw everywhere.
- The Quiet room at the Spa – they have a quite room here as well and it might be even better than the one in Tuscson. The only downside as I talk further later is that it is too restrictive in its no electronics policy. I am totally for the no cellphones, but the Austin facility has taken it to an extreme of no screems which means I cant use my kindle and that is a huge no no for me! I want to read my books and not carry around so many of them. After complaining they did say that you can let them know what books you are reading and they will get them for you in paperback ahead of your visit. However I did bring a paperback but obviously finished it so was a bit stuck to get a new one as I couldn’t get my kindle out.
- Samadi Healing Ceremony
- Brent Baum
- Coach Leigh
I can answer these 4 in just one comment. There is definitely more diversity and talent in terms of personalized specialists, healers and coaches in Miraval Tucson than in Miraval Austin. Although I had an amazing session with Steven Ross that was the only one that compared to the leve lof sessions you get with Tejpal, Brent Baum, Tim Frank and Pamela Lancaster in Austin.
- The Horse Riding Experience – Although I didn’t partake here, there is a Hose Riding experience as well. No Wyatt Webb here but the experiences are still there for those who want them
- The Food – the food was an interesting comparison and we debated it with some people i met there who had gone to both. It is a different feel. The Lunch buffet as it is a smaller venue is definitely more limited although the salads and the food is still as good. Dinner is also a more casual affair, they hay buffets and main courses but it is clearly a more casual environment.
- The Miraval Ginger Tea – the did not have the ginger tea :(. Although i might have found the equivalent of the Ginger tea here: the chocolate avocado cookies
- Naga Thai Massage – they still have naga and i loved that they have it there in the spa in two personalized Naga massage rooms. It was as good as the ones I’ve had in Tucson and i tried two different therapists both excellent
Bonus: the Arizona Desert yes you cant compare the views of Arizona vs. Austin, this one is jsut not comparable although the location is really pretty
The things I loved about the Austin property?
- the signs all over the property I absolutely love. They were great little mindfulness reminders throughout the day
- In terms of food my replacement for the ginger tea was a new obsession – Mattcha lattes with one of the best thing i’ve eaten: avocado chocolate cookies. I totally asked for the recipe
- The view above was quite spectacular too
- The pools are much better equipped and their views are gorgeous. This is the infinity pool
They have a very cool yoga barn, where i took meditation, quite a nice space and perfectly set up with the silks. This one is a bit larger than the meditation and silk space in Tucson.
What could be improved?
The food and facilities are still not at the level of Tucson. Even though the rooms are newer and the bathrooms are great, it just feels a tad less luxurious than Tucson. The service and food offerings also does not have the quality than Tucson has. Additionally there are also more outdoor things going on in Tucson and more activities than what you currently find in Austin, i think the schedule has a ways to go. I feel like the activities in Tucson might have been more up my alley, there were some interesting things in Austin, that although I gave it a shot, didnt spike my interest as much such as hatchet throwing.
In conclusion I still am obsessed with Miraval and think both places are great, you just get different experiences. I think the Tucson experience is more therapist and specialist based and has more nature offerings. It also feels like a more formal setting. Austin I feel it is more spa and yoga driven and a cozier smaller more informal setting. Both are great and I would return to either. The big plus in Austin -a large airport directly in the city! getting to Tucson is sometimes a bit of a hassle for me, so it might be a Austin for short trips, Tucson when I have more time.
Special Note for solo travelers: Both are still great for going by yourself. There captain table for dinner at both!