Miraval July 2014 submitted by Cristina Buaas
This past weekend, my daughter and I enjoyed a fun and fit few days at Miraval Resort and Spa in Arizona. With the Catalina Mountains surrounding two sides of the property, the views and hikes are spectacular: you are truly surrounded by the beauty of the desert as well as the mountains. Just make sure if you go during the summer to be prepared for some serious heat! Nevertheless, the spa offers a plethora of classes focusing on either exercise, such as spinning, cardio drumming (who knew!!), and Pilates or on increasing mindfulness, such as mindful stress management or mindful eating. The instructors were all top notch- very enthusiastic and invested in what they were teaching- which made the classes all the more enjoyable and fun for us as participants. Although we did not get a chance to try them, Miraval is also known for its equine activities which are said to be eye-opening and memorable. Additionally, while some spas are very strict about portion control, Miraval offers an a la carte menu as well as a buffet for breakfast and lunch, both of which include healthful foods and calorie counts as well as a small dessert option for lunch. Also, they serve alcohol at Miraval (an additional charge) for those who are interested in celebrating a special event or having a glass of wine with dinner. Furthermore, the Spa at Miraval was beautiful and features three different pools (one reflexology pool!) as well as a relaxation room, sauna, Jacuzzi, and various indoor and outdoor treatment rooms where guests (including myself!) could receive one of many different treatments offered. A weekend at Miraval would be a great idea for a couple, family with teenagers or older, group of friends, or individual that loves fitness, does not want to be as restricted with regards to food and drink, and appreciates the unique beauty of this desert location. My daughter and I truly enjoyed our time at Miraval and would love to return in the future!
Riviera Maya July 2014 submitted by Cristina Buaas
For our family vacation this summer, we journeyed to the Rosewood Mayakoba in the Riviera Maya area of Mexico. Only a 2-hour flight from Houston and a 40-minute drive to the hotel, it was a quick and easy travel day for an international destination. The Mayakoba development houses three beautiful hotels, the Rosewood, Banyan Tree, and the Fairmont, and there is free transport between the resorts so guests can experience the food and beauty of all three while still in the Mayakoba development. If you are looking for a relaxing family vacation or a romantic couples get away in a very intimate, high service level resort, then the Rosewood Mayakoba would be a perfect fit for you. This breathtaking property only has 130 suites (each with a private plunge pool!), which allows for the top-notch service and experiences at this resort. Foodies that we are, my family truly would wake up eager to begin the day with the delicious breakfast buffet serving fresh fruit, pastries, eggs, yogurt, various meats and cheeses as well as a special section for kids serving delicacies such as giant pink marshmallows and Nutella strawberry sandwiches. Aside from this lovely buffet, the food at the resort’s famous Agave Azul Sushi and Tequila Bar as well as the pool and beachside Punta Bonita was extremely fresh, well-prepared, and scrumptious. Honestly, our experience at the Rosewood Mayakoba was exactly what a beach vacation should be like; we were free to relax on the beach or by the pool (while enjoying poolside amenities like popsicles!), enjoy water activities such as kayaking or parasailing, indulge in Sense, the Spa, or work out in the well-stocked gym. Additionally, to add a little action into our relaxing trip, we journeyed to Xplor, an adventure park where you could zipline through the trees, kayak through underground caves, and ride ATVs through the park. This was a fun and different addition to our normal routine and we are all glad that we tried something new- just be prepared to get wet! Although we stayed at the Rosewood, we journeyed to the Banyan Tree as well as the nearby Grand Velas and feasted on delicious Thai food at Banyan’s Saffron Restaurant and divine French cuisine at Grand Velas’s Piaf. After my relaxing, spectacular weekend at the Rosewood Mayakoba, I would highly recommend this property to those who want a safe and easy vacation filled with true five-star luxury, mouthwatering food, and the breathtaking beauty of the beach and Yucatan Peninsula.
Travaasa Austin – June 2014 submitted by Cristina Buaas
Need a weekend away from the kids, but don’t want to travel too far away? Journey to Travaasa Austin to get your fill of relaxation, fitness, and enjoyment. With a minimum age of 16, Travaasa Austin is best described as a camp for adults! Each day the activities vary, so every guest can find an activity or class that they will enjoy. Ranging from trail rides, hikes, mat Pilates, yoga, dancing, farm tours, and mountain biking to Travaasa’s signature challenge course, a guest at Travaasa will never be bored! For me, a must do was this signature challenge course. Picture this: climbing up a rope net four stories in the air and then being harnessed in to a line overhead that secures you while you walk across a shaky bridge, a pole, and a tightrope holding on to nothing other than the rope secured to your harness! While it was scary, it was an exhilarating experience and I am so proud to say that I did it! In addition, for those who want a day of relaxation instead of active classes, there is a beautiful infinity pool as well as a full service spa where a guest can enjoy steam saunas, whirlpools, as well as all sorts of massages. In addition to the wonderful classes and spa, Travaasa also offers delicious farm-to-table cuisine as well as desserts and drinks, so it is not a diehard spa in that regard. All in all, this weekend trip was easy as well as fun. I would highly recommend Travaasa Austin for anyone’s next weekend getaway.