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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Spas relieve meeting stress

Courtesy Miraval Resort and Spa

There is growing evidence that renewing our energy rather than trying to pack more into finite hours is a better way to increase productivity.

That message clicks with a number of resorts around the country that cater to business clients. Their beautiful spas, long a lure for leisure travelers, are finding ways to enhance business meetings with a gentle touch.

Miraval Resort and Spa
Tucson, Ariz.
Across the country, the 117-room Miraval Resort and Spa in Tucson, Ariz., is all about wellness and finding balance in one’s life. It, too, has some innovative ways for groups of from eight to 35 people to achieve it.

The Equine Experience, for example, was developed by a man who has a background in therapy for humans through horses.

As people groom, lead and give commands to horses, he watches what the horses pick up on.
“It’s our most popular group event,” said Kelley Siefert, director of national accounts. “It’s an intimate opportunity to see yourself as others see you, through the horses. In a way, it’s like looking in a mirror.”

Depending on what each group wants to achieve, the resort spa also uses culinary classes or physical challenges like rock climbing and a wiggly 40-foot Giant’s Ladder for problem solving and building trust.

The area’s Native American heritage also plays a part. Tony Redhouse, a Navajo, works with meeting groups in a variety of ways, from talking circles to entertaining in full regalia to leading drumming or yoga sessions.

Even during meetings, the resort stays true to its philosophy, described as “Life in Balance.” In addition to 6,500 square feet of indoor meeting space, there are meeting spaces around the spa pool or kiva fire pits. Small groups can also meet in two- or three-bedroom villas, with glass walls that face the Santa Catalina Mountains.


Alderbrook Resort and Spa
Union, Wash.
Another spa resort defined by its surroundings is the Alderbrook Resort and Spa, two hours west of Seattle on Washington’s Kitsap Peninsula.

Alderbrook is celebrating its 100th anniversary, harking back to 1913, when it opened as a tent camp on the Hood Canal, a 60-mile-long glacier-carved fjord surrounded by the Olympic Mountains.

Today, the Alderbrook’s tents are long gone. The remade resort opened in 2004 with an upscale Northwest-lodge feel, 77 guest rooms and 15 two-bedroom cottages.

The resort has, however, kept its connection to nature. Around 7,000 square feet of event space includes 10 meeting rooms and outdoor function space on lawns and decks. A 54-foot yacht accommodates meetings, small receptions and tours.

Alderbrook’s eight-room spa offers treatments like the Hood Canal Starry Night body wrap; staff will conduct stretching sessions during meeting breaks.

Locally harvested seafood like oysters, shrimp and Dungeness crabs are outstanding there. Guests can go out to the beach, gather oysters and bring them back to eat. Better still, the resort’s elegant restaurant will pair the seafood with fine local wines during multicourse dinners.

The resort has its own marina and water activities, including paddle boarding. Golf is available next door at a course consistently ranked as one of the top 25 in the Northwest for spectacular scenery and playability. And the small town of Union, within walking distance, has small shops and a comfortable pub for after hours.

Special centennial events each month this year will highlight timbering, oystering, arts, the influence of Native Americans and other aspects of the area’s history.