For wellness-minded travelers, yoga sessions and spa treatments have long been the universal standard. Recently, however, self-care routines have been expanded in a variety of ways — with the very definition of wellness evolving to encompass so much more.
This new approach to not-so-new mind and body trends has included a shifting focus to incorporating wellness into daily practices as well as seeking new in-the-moment experiences more often.
Because we believe wellness is a subjective effort with many facets, we've come up with some of the top places to relax, reflect and rejuvenate in Greater Phoenix.
YogaBack to Top of List
Embrace Your Inner Yogi
The truth is, yoga trends come and go. So, whether you're looking for a new studio to check out during your stay or just a trendy new experience while you're in vacation mode — both of which offer health benefits, regardless of your skill level — you'll find exactly what you're looking for in Phoenix.
Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga
There's something magic about combining yoga with the element of water — not to mention the added ambiance. Greater Phoenix is home to a wide variety of pristine resort pools as well desert lakes that challenge you to a SUP yoga sesh. Pro tip for all you full moon aficionados: Check out Go Paddle AZ for a brilliant full moon/sunset kayak tour of Lake Pleasant, too.
Riverbound Sports Paddle Co.
1425 E. University Drive, Ste. B-102, Tempe
Go Paddle AZ at Pleasant Harbor Marina
(classes are temporarily postponed, but individual rentals are available)
8708 W Harbor Blvd., Peoria
Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa
(available to guests and members only)
5700 E. McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley
If you've never heard of the poses "Goat Bridge" or "Goat Hug," chances are pretty good you've never done goat yoga — so now's your chance to get all baaaaamaste with these cute companions in a socially distant outdoor studio. Please note: Classes fill up fast and booking one month in advance is recommended.
AZ Goat Yoga at Welcome Home Ranch
26601 S. Val Vista Drive, Gilbert
Goat Yoga PHX
2209 N. 99th Ave., Phoenix
If you know more about your friends' horoscopes than they do, this one's for you. Guests are invited to take their spiritual, emotional and physical well-being to the next level with custom Zodiac Yoga and Sound Healing. Held outdoors, on the scenic rooftop deck at Mountain Shadows, these one-hour sessions incorporate horoscope insight, including the perfect poses based on your sign. Class is followed by a mini sound healing session with Tibetan healing bowls to create vibrations that relax both body and mind.
But wait, there's more. Time your stay accordingly and you can also catch Cocktails Under the Cosmos, astrology-themed cocktail hours to celebrate such events as supermoons and meteor showers — all with an expert astronomer (and telescope) as your guide.
5445 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley
Have you ever imaged the butterfly pose surrounded by butterflies? Aptly referred to as Yoga in the Rainforest, this experience at Butterfly Wonderland takes place inside the 10,000 square-foot conservatory, which is home to 3,000 tropical butterflies and lush vegetation with flowering plants. This hour-long class — scheduled to resume March 8 — guides you through a series of poses to help build strength and gain flexibility. Breathing and meditation techniques throughout the class will help you find peace and steadiness. Modifications and adjustments are available, so you'll feel welcome and supported regardless of your skill level. This class is recommended for ages 18 and up; mats not provided.
9500 E. Vía de Ventura, F100, Scottsdale
Hot SpringsBack to Top of List
Take A Dip in the Hot Springs
There are few things as magical as a dip in desert hot springs. While water temperature can change with the seasons, the experience will leave you feeling rejuvenated year-round. Within 50 miles of downtown Phoenix, you'll find two very different soaking experiences to choose from.
Castle Hot Springs Resort
Untouched for nearly 40 years, this natural gem in the Bradshaw Mountains reopened as an adult-only, luxury resort in 2019. While you can't go wrong with any of the all-inclusive treatments and excursions here, the Zen Wellness Package invites you to immerse yourself in a customized program for balance, harmony and well-being — including a 60-minute massage, a personal elemental assessment, private and small group yoga and meditation classes, guided nature walks, healing soaks in the restorative thermal waters, balancing protocols from master-level instructors and guidance on maintaining balance post-visit. The renovated property is home to only 30 bungalows and cabins, so booking well in advance is critical.
5050 East N. Castle Hot Springs Road, Morristown
El Dorado Hot Springs
This super secret spot is almost unnoticeable from the nearby I-10. Behind overgrown palms, other flora, fences and weathered decor lies a rustic oasis. Once inside, check-in is low key: You'll likely be greeted by any combination of the peacocks, ducks, chickens and quail, then make your payment and get directions to the private soaking pool you reserved — yes, reservations are required.
There are five distinctly different pools to choose from, depending on whether you're in the mood for the shady Duck Pond or the sunny Desert Vista. Each area is usually quiet, private, accommodates four to six people and offers chairs for lounging while you're not soaking. Less ideal, but still an option, is the common area that hosts variety of smaller tubs in a secluded, but shared space (people are coming and going at their leisure and in whatever attire they deem appropriate for soaking).
41225 Indian School Road, Tonopah
GardensBack to Top of List
Reflection & Mindfulness
As digital detoxes continue to gain momentum, so do spaces that invite your whole being and evoke every sense. At these spots, it's not out of the ordinary to wander without your phone or headphones (but, fair warning, the photography is irresistible). Either way, these places make being in the quiet of the present moment that much easier to achieve and sustain. So, go ahead and focus, breathe, walk, or whatever helps you reach your inner Zen.
Desert Botanical Garden’s Contemplation Garden
Most visits to this 140-acre outdoor exhibit of over 50,000 plants naturally evoke a sense of calmness, but you can take it to the next level at this multisensory space. The Contemplation Garden is treasured spot where a meditative labyrinth, shaped in swirls of terrazzo, is flanked with seating and a large, reflective water feature mirroring the image of the surrounding cactus on the surface. It’s also a favorite of the birds, too, who are often found perched on the edge for a sip of water. The garden is also home to five thematic trails that illustrate topics such as conservation, desert living, plants and people of the Sonoran Desert, and desert wildflowers — so plan to stay for a bit.
1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix
Elsie McCarthy Sensory Garden
Developed to stimulate sight, sound, smell and touch, this sensory garden invites your senses to engage with specific plants and trees for texture and scent, water features for sound, dramatic visuals — especially during evening lighting — for sight and touch.
The garden contains five points of interest, including the Wisdom Garden; the Contemplation Garden; the Reflection Garden; the Story Totem Garden, featuring sculptures by artists Joan Baron and Robert Miley; and the Celebration Garden, where you'll find four unique labyrinth rocks to explore.
7637 N. 55th Ave., Glendale
Japanese Friendship Garden
Located near downtown, this 3.5-acre authentic Japanese stroll garden will transport you from the hustle and bustle of daily life to a tranquil and serene haven that feels a world away. Take your time along the path and you will encounter flowing streams, stone footbridges, a 12-foot waterfall, a pond with over 300 colorful koi fish, more than 50 varieties of plants, a tea garden and tea house and, perhaps, even a Tai Chi class.
Also known as RoHoEn — Ro means Heron, a bird symbol of Himeji City; Hō is the Japanese word for the mythical Phoenix bird; and En means garden — the garden is a sister city project between Phoenix and Himeji, Japan.
1125 N. Third Ave., Phoenix
SpasBack to Top of List
Not Your Average Spa Day
Spas in Phoenix aren’t just known for overlooking the desert: They’re known for using the desert. While some destination spas take their cues from luxurious European and Asian practices, others utilize botanicals found in the surrounding Sonoran Desert and take inspiration from Native American traditions (here are 10 desert-inspired spa treatments to get you started). And, depending on what treatment you’re looking for, chances are you’ll be met with plenty of options. Here are a few standouts.
Because touchless spa services — including cryotherapy, compression therapy, infrared saunas, hyperbaric chambers and float tanks — offer relaxation and recovery without any contact, they are gaining momentum as treatment options. For increased safety, call ahead and see what options are available to you.
Aji Spa at Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass
Named after the Pima word for sanctuary, this 2020 Forbes Five Star Award-winning spa offers everything you'd expect while celebrating Pima and Maricopa culture and traditions through design, story-telling art, music, gardens, programs and treatments developed from ancient rituals. Here, such ingredients such as red clay from the Gila River and the Cholla cactus bud bring a local aspect to this purifying and rejuvenating experience.
5594 W. Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Phoenix
Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa
Acclaimed by Forbes and Travel + Leisure, this spa is known for its serene luxury and dramatic desert views. Here, a very Sonoran Desert experience awaits you, as the indoor-outdoor treatment rooms give way to a tranquil meditation garden and soothing reflection pond. Begin your rejuvenation by choosing from Asian-inspired treatments, body therapies and more, and then relax and enjoy the lavish spa amenities, including the Watsu pool and peaceful Sanctum suite.
5700 E. McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley
CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa
Nestled in the high Sonoran Desert, CIVANA is a wellness-focused destination that beckons those who seek the journey. Here, guests are invited to choose from more than 70 complimentary weekly fitness, personal growth, therapeutic and spiritual classes to suit your individual needs. So, whatever combination of hiking, yoga, sound bathing, meditation, nutrition guidance you're looking for, it can be entirely customized here. Additionally, the spa features healing through water via its hydrotherapy thermal circuit of hot and cold pools, cool waterfall shower and Sanarium sauna offering humidity and five climate zones.
37220 Mule Train Road, Carefree
AcupunctureBack to Top of List
Healing Through Acupuncture
This list is loaded with ideas, but perhaps they hit different after so many months of working from home, social distancing and sheltering in place. To that we offer acupuncture, the benefits from which have been known to successfully treat back and neck pain, migraines, anxiety, depression, insomnia and so much more — because you don’t need any of that in your life once it’s time to travel again.
Joya Spa at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia
Montelucia is Spanish for “mountain of light,” and an acupuncture treatment here is as healing as it sounds. Upon arrival, you'll be greeted by your journey coordinator who will escort you to the Joy of Intention room where you're invited to place both hands on a 55-pound quartz crystal, inhale deep breaths and exhale stress and negative energy from the outside world. Then choose from five healing stones — Tiger Eye, Blue Lace Agate, Rhodonite, Rose Quartz or Hematite — (or let one choose you) to set the tone for your day. Now you're ready for your acupuncture + acupressure treatment. Of course, there's a bevy of other selections here, too. Pro tip: Day passes include admission to the Joya Terrace with rooftop pool, sauna, steam room, whirlpool and relaxation lounges.
4949 E. Lincoln Drive, Scottsdale
As an acupuncture and wellness studio that's focused on what goes in and on your body, Mount Sunny is (understandably) catching on in its central Phoenix spot. Sure, you can find acupuncture plenty of places, but here it's more approachable, no-nonsense and beyond trendy. Book an acupuncture sesh for $90, cupping for $40 or both for $110. Just be sure to scope out the gift shop on your way out.
826 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
DIY ZenBack to Top of List
For those who wish to clear a personal space, set intentions, meditate, heal, or just take a little namaste with you, you’re in luck. These shops offer a wide variety of essentials for creating Zen and maintaining a Phoenix-inspired pampering routine. Here’s where to shop for candles, sage, crystals, soaps and skincare.
Stardust & Sage
New to downtown Phoenix's Roosevelt Row Arts District, this Black-owned crystal shop and spiritual botanica serves to demystify aboriginal healing while raising vibration frequencies through crystals, stones and smoke cleansing sticks — including Palo Santo, eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, cedar and sage. Not sure where to start? Just ask. Or check out the kits that pair items for specific uses, including chakra balancing.
610 E. Roosevelt St., #136, Phoenix
This boutique offers a seemingly endless assortment of the trendiest Phoenix-inspired gifts, so count on finding candles, sage bundles and even turquoise jewelry here. But, for that spa-fresh face, check out the line of offerings by LUA Skincare. Skin tonics include Wildflower, Rose Mint and Desert Garden, which brings the magical scent of the desert with all of the wild scents from plants of the southwest: orange blossoms, creosote, white grapefruit and aloe vera.
10 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix
If browsing scrubs, salves, soaps, salts, masks and oils is your happy place, look no further. Here you'll also find items ranging from smudging and offering bowls to antianxiety crystal sets and jewelry — along with just about any souvenir your heart could possibly desire. Look for The Ultimate Calming Kit by Liv Rocks, which includes a sage bundle for smudging, a Palo Santo stick, an amethyst crystal, lepidolite, green aventurine and a feather. Or keep up that browsing and build your own.
1001 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
The Sonoran Desert has a distinct vibe and one of the best ways to capture it and take it with you is creosote bundles. Phoenix General is known for sustainably harvesting branches of the creosote bush. Wrapped them in hemp, these bundles are intended to hang in the shower, where the humidity activates the sweet, earthy aroma reminiscent of a desert rain. Both of these locations also showcase well-curated collections of incense, essential oils, diffusers, candles and more. Get to know a little bit more about the owners here.
Phoenix General Uptown
5538 N. Seventh St., Phoenix
Phoenix General Downtown
214 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix