Booked a vacation at Miraval. Now what?
July 18, 2011 8:06 PM   Subscribe

What's it like at an all-inclusive resort/spa like Miraval?

I just booked a week vacation there after doing a lot of research for a vacation place to "get away from it all." I'm fairly sure I made the right choice, but I'm nervous about what to expect exactly.

I'm a big believer of "when in Rome..." However, unlike when I actually went to Rome (or anywhere else different from where I'm used to) I can't seem to find a lot of info about what to expect. Both how I should behave -- I don't want to unintentionally be rude -- nor in how other will behave.

I searched AskMe for "Miraval" and saw some of you have been there. Or to places like it.

Any advice?
posted by INTPLibrarian to Travel & Transportation around Palpala, Argentina (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Oh my. One of my favorite places. I've been thrice. You are in for a time. (Are you going alone? If you are, and if you are not a confident traveler, I cannot think of a better place for you to go.)

After check in you will likely get a tour -- optional, but useful. Put your cellphone, laptop, wallet/purse aways in the in room safe and never think about them again.

Bottom line: they will adapt to you. We are talking about the service stratosphere here.

If I knew more about what you are looking for I could give specific recs. Feel free to memail me.

Unless you are driving in, the van will pick you up you at the Tuscon airport. The driver will have cold water ready, because it will be ridiculously hot.

You will not need to touch your bags. They will drop you at check in and take your bags directly to the room.

Food: They serve three meals daily, all delicious, all healthy. There is a snack bar open all day, just off the main dining room. There is also a snack bar by the pool. Eat anything you want whenever, although you will want to sign up for a dinner time -- there are sign up sheets outside the dining room. (Adult beverages are extra -- added to your bill.) There is a full bar where they put out cheese an fruit pates every night. There were many days when I forwent dinner and just ate the appetizers and drank wine in the bar. Again, they will accommodate pretty much anything you want.

You also sign up for activities outside the snack bar. (If they are full sign up anyway. They often add capacity if there are enough people.) Activities are focused around the early morning and evening. Afternoon is really, really hot. Plan of hanging by the pool and sipping a drink.

The unfamiliar think of it as a spa, but honestly, it's one of the very best places to pursue fitness activities. There are multiple hiking and biking excursions every day. All equipment provided (except shoes, bring athletic shoes -- or buy them on site).

They have challenge activities that generally involve climbing poles and balancing precariously on various apparatus. DO NOT BE AFRAID of any of this. I have done many of them and they are not geared towards experienced or particularly athletic people. I cannot emphasize enough how safe and accepted you will be in pushing the boundaries of your experience. I have seen numerous people fight through serious acrophobia to complete some of the challenge activities. It is a very cool thing to see.

My main advice: do anything that interests you. This is the perfect opportunity to safely exit your comfort zone. Do not back off of anything out of fear.

Or just suck down drinks and get massaged. It is, quite literally, all about you.
posted by dzot at 8:49 PM on July 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Everyone is who is not immediately leaving for an active sport will be swanning around in the provided bathrobes. Seriously, you'll see bathrobed folks on the trails, in the restaurant, in the bar. Oh, and be aware that although you are not tipping for individual services, there is a walloping service charge tacked on to your bill at the end of your stay (18.5% resort fee + 14% tax).

I've been to a handful of destination spas and Miraval is the only one where people had lots of different reasons for being there: outdoors adventure, weight loss, spa treatments, escape from city grind, honeymoon. No one, from the management to the other guests, cares whether you're there on a Rabelaisian binge or an ascetic retreat. They provide nutrition information for all food served, but no judgement AT ALL if you want to hork down eight key lime tartlets and a bottle of white wine for dinner.
posted by apparently at 1:01 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Just checking back in.

It was amazing.

I really wanted to just be pampered and be all by myself for a while and this was the perfect place for that. Even though they said they were almost full to capacity, there were often times when it seemed almost no one was around. In a good way.

There weren't people hanging out in their robes, but I got the gist that that was because the Spa Village was being renovated and was no longer right by the pools. Not having been there before, this didn't bother me, but I think it did bother some repeat visitors.

In case anyone finds this question (and the answers) by searching because they're looking for info about Miraval, both above answers are really accurate.

I can't think of anyone I *wouldn't* recommend Miraval to.
posted by INTPLibrarian at 7:49 PM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

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