By Christy Krueger
Visitors Drawn to Desert for Relaxation, Renewal
The well-being of Tucson’s residents and its tourists is one of the hallmarks of the region’s economic health and vitality.
“People come here to be in the sun and away from the cold,” said Mary Rittmann, VP of communications and tourism for Visit Tucson. “There’s something rejuvenating here, and it’s not just the traditional definition of wellness – relax and rejuvenate – but it’s broader: an intellectual wellness plus walking and hiking.”
In fact, Visit Tucson created the 10-year Metro Tucson Tourism Master Plan in 2018, laying out goals for the future, and “wellness is a key focus,” Rittman said.
The region’s two destination spas, Miraval and Canyon Ranch, are world-renowned and attract international visitors who want a unique wellness experience. Guests know these two resorts pull out all the stops, offering services and programs that may not be found anywhere else on the planet. Both have been consistently ranked as top worldwide spas by such publications as Travel + Leisure, Forbes Travel Guide and Condé Nast Traveler.
While Tucson’s two destination spas draw people from around the world through their guest-centric innovations, the local resorts have picked up on the in-house spa trend and have made this amenity part of their ever-growing offerings. These include the Hashani Spa at JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa, the Sonoran Spa at Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa and the newly expanded Elements Wellness Center at El Conquistador Tucson, a Hilton Resort.
Resorts often package spa treatments with dining and multi-night stays for more bang for their guests’ bucks. Resort spa services and treatments range from haircuts and manicures to massages, facials and body wraps. Some therapies use products from the Sonoran Desert such as Tubac Golf Resort & Spa’s prickly pear body treatment and its mesquite vichy infusion.
While Visit Tucson doesn’t receive economic impact numbers for the region’s resorts and destination spas, as they are grouped under accommodations, the resort spas are an important amenity that guests look for just as they like tennis courts, pools, golf and dining, Rittman said.
“Your stay at a destination spa has an economic impact, but it’s sourced larger to keep the business anonymous,” she said.
“We definitely talk about Miraval and Canyon Ranch being signature properties for each of their brands,” Rittman said. “And we talk about the fact that two of the top destination spas in the world are here in Tucson. That means this is a place that is naturally known for wellness. It’s not by coincidence that these two are here. We have sun and energy. We do support the idea that the Sonoran Desert is a place for wellness.”