Literally translated, “mii amo” is a Native American term in the Yuman dialect signifying a journey, or to continue one’s path. It’s definitely an appropriate name for the Sedona, Arizona-based spa and spiritual retreat of the same name. You will find whatever it is you’re looking for at Mii amo, the number two-rated destination spa in the world, be it peace, salvation, serenity or just a really, really long nap.
For Angelenos, it’s an easy journey. Hop on a plane to Phoenix, rent a snappy little car (a Porsche will do nicely) and set off on a quiet and virtually hassle-free two-hour trip to Boynton Canyon, where Mii amo is located on the grounds of the 70-acre Enchantment resort, which initially opened as a tennis academy in 1987.
Though you’ll mix and mingle with the Enchantment guests, Mii amo is really in a class of its own. It’s far more luxe, far more VIP. There are only 16 rooms at Mii amo, in comparison to the 218 at Enchantment. See what we mean?
Each of the 14 rooms and two spa suites are housed in six, two-level buildings with courtyards and an outdoor fireplace. There are indoor gas beehive fireplaces as well in each room, as well as private patios, deep soaking tubs and high-speed Wi-fi. This is essential: you won’t get service here because of its location, which, if you’re trying to completely disconnect, can only be a good thing. Those who are true ballers (ahem, the incomparable Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan of the resort) might opt to stay in the Luxury Suite, which offers an outdoor whirlpool, fireplace and shower, as well as an indoor treatment room for those who want to indulge in even more privacy.
Each guest is welcomed with a spa bathrobe—a pretty sweet gift that’s far more than your basic hotel amenity we’ve ever seen. For every night that you stay, be it three, four or seven evenings (dependent upon the package you choose), you’ll receive an additional gift, that can range from a journal to a dreamcatcher to healing stones. You’ll also receive a Native American blessing at turndown instead of typical hotel offerings like chocolate squares on your pillow.
After checking in and checking out (your room, that is), you might meander through the 24,000 square foot spa—designed by Gluckman Mayner Architects, the same firm responsible for the Dia Center for the Arts in New York City and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe—which is the hub of the action for most Mii amo guests. What you see might surprise you. For the most part, everyone—regardless of whether they’re heading in for a treatment, lounging by the pool, or having a meal—is wearing a bathrobe. Clothing isn’t optional here, but if you don’t feel like putting on human clothes, you needn’t; a robe will suffice. All the cool kids are doing it!
Feel like grabbing a snack, a Kombucha or a fresh-made juice? There’s a juice bar for that, which creates fresh-made smoothies like the Mii amo Passage—strawberry, mango, banana, apple and orange juice—free of charge for Mii amo guests (Enchantment guests must pay for their meals). Tea, coffee, power smoothies, fruit, you name it—all is free of charge.
So, in fact, are the meals. Eat as often as you like from a constantly rotating menu of dinner items. These menus make eating easy, as the fare is not only exquisite, but also lists the fat content, protein and calories for those who are watching their weight in paradise. Mii amo Café offers “intelligent cuisine,” combining regional flavors and seasonal ingredients with healthy cooking techniques to deliver flavorful fare with lower calorie counts and reduced fat. The culinary team cooks with a variety of grains, legumes, seasonal produce and protein. The chef can adapt menus to fit a guest’s dietary needs, and meals are made to order all day long. Items like the seared ahi with aleppo pepper, strawberry and pea sprout salad and radish in a balsamic reduction are delightful. Vegans will also be pleased to know there is much more than salads on the menu. We wanted to order second helpings of the marinated tofu with cilantro pistou, forbidden rice and garlic broccolini in a ponzu gastrique, but we were too stuffed.
To note, this is a place that lets you have your cake and eat it too (and we’re not just talking about the phenomenal desserts, either (the red velvet cheesecake with chocolate and beet dust may sound weird, but it’s wonderful, as are the raw cookies and milk with cacao, coconut and house-made macadamia nut milk): yes, you can cocktail. There are craft-made libations, wine, champagne and beer on the extensive menu, though you will have to pay extra to imbibe. It’s so worth it though—especially if you find a friend to a dine with (or come with one). There are communal tables for the truly chatty, regular dining situations of two and four-tops or, if you feel like it, you can order room service and hole up for the evening.
You’ll then begin your journey, which you select before you arrive as a way of setting your intentions and customizing your experience. Options offered are De-Stress Mind, Body & Spirit, Healthy Body in Balance, Soulful Essence, Spiritual Exploration and Transformational Wisdom. These journeys are fluid; you can adapt something to suit your needs, or create a program that’s a happy marriage of two or more things you’re seeking. Don’t forget, it’s your journey. Seek what it is you’re missing. If that means going off schedule or missing lunch to nap midday, so be it. There are no rules here.
What is available at Mii amo are options. You’ll receive two spa treatments a day (we know, amazing right?) as well as your choice of building an itinerary with a ride range of choices—there are over 100 classes or activities here than focus on fitness, cuisine, mindfulness, Native American culture and creativity.
Below, we’ll list our top nine ways to find spiritual enlightenment at Mii amo, but please remember that everyone is different. Your experience will be completely unique, and that’s truly the beauty of this mystical, magical place, which is located in one of the most spiritual places on Earth. We will leave you with this: every morning in the Crystal Grotto (more on that below), you’ll gather at 8:15 a.m. for a morning meditation (again, if you feel like it—nothing here is set in stone). Before you go in, you’ll set your intentions on a piece of paper, writing out things that are bothering you, problems that are plaguing you, things you want to change. You will go into the Grotto, sink your toes into the red clay and close your eyes as your guide lights incense or sage and urges you to breathe deeply, to focus, to let go. “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, which is why they call it the present,” she says. A gong sounds, and you leave. Later, those scraps of paper will burn, releasing your worries, pain and suffering into the clear, blue sky. Among the red rocks, you will heal.
This gal is not a spiritual person. She does not do yoga, meditate or talk about chakras. But she found peace here, in her own way. You will too—that we can promise.
- Boynton Canyon is a spiritual vortex. Sedona is known as a spiritual powerhouse thanks to a series of vortexes—funnel shapes created by a whirling fluid or by the motion of spiraling energy—that produce some of the most powerful spiritually conducive energy on the planet. Hiking—as part of a group or on a solo venture—is offered here. We recommend taking yourself up to Kachina Woman or Warrior Rock at dawn armed with a trusty and provided flashlight, and watching the sunrise. You will literally be flooded with a sense of peace. It’s priceless and powerful.
- The Crystal Grotto brings enlightenment. Every morning, as we mentioned, there is a meditation at 8:15 a.m. so that you might effectively start your day off in the right way. The Crystal Grotto, the heart and soul of Mii amo, is always open to those who need it though. The crystal, surrounded by red clay, radiates with light. This womb-like, circular space connects earth and sky via an earthen floor and domed ceiling, with a circular aperture directed at the sun on the summer solstice. The circle is a symbol of wholeness. A crystal mandala, illuminated by the sun and moon, lies within the space and is made up of four large crystals placed in the four “corners of the world’ (East-red jasper, West-black rainbow obsidian, North – white selenite, South – yellow citrine). In the center of the space is a quartz crystal cluster atop a round of Arizona petrified Ponderosa pine with light and water flowing through it. This is peace.
- Find spiritual healing with Inner Quest. There are 18 treatment rooms overlooking the red rocks as well as five outdoor treatment areas, inspired by Native American “wikiups” (ancient tribal housing structures) with views of the canyon. You will have several treatments inside (and one or two outside if you’re lucky). We can’t say enough about Inner Quest, Mii amo’s take on a Native American ceremony and ritual. This treatment utilizes elements sacred to Native Americans, beginning with an invitation to the four directions of the Medicine Wheel representing the four stages of life. You’ll be wrapped in the Circle of Life blanket which is used to create the warmth of a sweat lodge to honor the tribal elders, or Wisdom Keepers, who pass down teachings and spiritual direction. Sweet grass is burned with the intention to bring good things and experience the positive way of life. This beautiful ceremony allows you to reconnect with your inner self and keep the sacred wisdom of the Native American culture alive. Our therapist actually cried when we entered the room because she was so grateful to share the experience with us, and presented us with a turquoise stone after it was done for safekeeping and remembrance. Warning: don’t do this if you don’t plan to let something out and by “something” we mean a whole lot of emotion.
- Learn to relax—literally. There are dozens upon dozens of thoughtful classes and tutorials you can sign up for, and for us, the most important was a seminar on de-stressing. We were only one of two people in said class (yes, there’s that much going on where you’ll feel like you’re receiving private one-on-one training), where a therapist went through a thoughtful assessment of current life stressors and offered us techniques and strategies to assist in reducing said stress. We’re still using her knowledge today.
- Face the truth. Facials are included as options in your twice daily spa treatments, and genuinely, this was one of our two favorite treatments at Mii amo. Our therapist was so soothing, so educated and so spiritual herself that we couldn’t help get caught up in the moment—it was a happy blend of spirituality and luxury (perfect for the haute among you). For something a little different than your standard hydrating facial, we tried the ayurvedic facial, which uses traditional herbs from India chosen according to your dosha; Vata, Pitta and Kapha oils are used to cleanse and balance the skin. These oils are then used in a facial massage that incorporates acupressure points to balance not only the energy above your shoulders, but throughout your entire body.
- Dare to be different. There’s a lot more on the menu here than your standard massages, so why not dare to try something new? We had tried reiki before, so were fully on board for the Reiki Healing Attunement which is, essentially energy work that allows you to begin clearing your mind, body and soul. If you’re a skeptic who wouldn’t try this in your daily life, it’s available, so why not try it? Be brave. There is also tarot reading and an Interactive Aura Photography class available, where, using some seriously cool technology, you’ll be able to not only finally figure out the color of your aura, but find out what’s blocking it and how to clear those blockages.
- Sweat through to spirituality. Everyone is different. Some people find spirituality through meditation, and some people find it through exercise. Everything you can imagine is on offer here, with daily classes that include many different types of yoga including Vinyasa, as well as Qi Gong, a rejuvenating Chinese exercise that concentrates on focused and graceful movements for balance and fitness; Pilates; barre; tennis; core work; high intensity interval training; hiking and mountain biking.
- To the stars, through hope. There’s a stargazing option available, and it’s awesome. You’ll head over to the tennis courts at Enchantment, where experts will highlight what you’re seeing in the night sky. The stars are so close you can touch them. If you’re an Angeleno accustomed to smog and fog, the clear night sky is going to feel like one of the seven wonders.
- Let loose your inner artist. There are dozens of artistic, cultural options available at Mii amo, including a class on Native American flute, where a guest performer will play traditional pieces and teach you songs directl handed down from the elders; gourd decoration; creative photography, which will give you great tips on how to shoot the endlessly blue sky and contrasting red rocks on your iPhone or Android; watercolor postcards, so that you might make your friends and family at home jealous with your mad artistic skills and—the piece de resistance—vision board collage making. Vision board making is a way of manifesting your hopes and dreams in a tangible way, which is so, so important at a place like Mii amo, where truly anything will be possible when you leave.