The Spa at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

by Julie Cohn

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The Spa at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

{I was invited, as a guest, to experience The Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain spa, but my opinions are 100% my own.}

This spring, I’m showcasing a few of the many wonderful spas in Arizona, and the first spa I will feature is the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain.  I wanted to start with this resort because of the fantastic new tennis program they are offering at the resort this spring (which I will tell you about later.)

I don’t know if it’s the gorgeous weather here in Arizona, or the feeling of serenity one feels amongst the desert landscape, but Arizona has long been a favorite destination for spa-lovers. Many of the resorts, such as The Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, offer both destination and day spa options.

I’ve had a longtime love affair with day spas.  Years ago, while staying at the Ritz Carlton Buckhead (Atlanta), I had my very first spa visit.  I was at the Ritz Carlton for business (a large convention I was in charge of).  It was Valentine’s weekend, and I was not able to spend a lot of time with my boyfriend, who had traveled with me (and some friends) to Atlanta.  I was stressed, with little time for leisure, and even less for romance.  Unbeknownst to me, my boyfriend arranged for me to have a few spa treatments at a local day spa, to have a few hours break from the stress.  That first visit, a massage and facial, was total bliss.  From that point on, there was no looking back; I was a spa junkie. Fortunately, in my many travels, I have had the opportunity to experience some of the most beautiful spas in the world.

As I drove onto the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain property, I immediately felt a sense of tranquility.  The resort is built into the majestic Camelback Mountain, so it is  not the typical Scottsdale glitz and glamor; the elegance of the resort is its ability to blend into the mountain, and let the desert scape and Arizona sky capture the beauty.

You really does feel “one with nature” here.  The spa facilities are Asian-influenced, and the treatment rooms reminded me of the bedrooms at Taliesin West (which were also Asian-influenced).

I checked in, was given a clean pair of flip flops and fluffy robe, and led to my locker, where I changed my clothes for my visit.

After changing, I waited in the lounge to be called for my first treatment.  I was alone in the lounge, and reveled in the morning peace and quiet.

The open windows of the lounge overlooked pools of water and stone, and the morning breeze moving through the curtains was enchanting.

The Spa at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

My therapist led me to a softly illuminated room.  The quiet strain of a new age song drifted through the room, and the morning breeze, from more opened windows, moved the curtains in rhythm to the song.

After I chose a scented oil for the therapist to use, she kneaded my sore muscles; soft at first, then deeper.  Before I knew it, the hour was over, and it was time to leave.   An hour earlier, I had so many thoughts rushing through my mind, but now all I could think about was the peacefulness of the mountain.

After I was led back to the lounge to wait for my next appointment, I nibbled on almonds and dried cranberries, and sipped cool water.  The lounge was busy now, with six other women waiting for treatments, so it was quite noisy.  I was happy to retire to the quiet of my next appointment away from the din.

My facialist explained the skincare products she would use on my skin, asking if I had any healthy issues.  Because I have lupus (and therefore sensitive skin), she switched out a few of the products for milder ones.

In addition to the facial, she massaged cream into my hands and feet, then placed them in heated mittens, so the lotion could sink into my parched skin.  Believe it or not, I actually fell asleep during the facial, it was so restful.  At the end of the hour, my face felt silky soft, and my mind cleansed.

I took some time to use the jacuzzi and steam room before I left the resort; I wanted to enjoy the peace and quiet for a little bit longer.

The resort has a gorgeous infinity pool for spa visitors to use; I took a peek, but did not use the pool.

The Spa at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

One of the newest programs available at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain is a yoga/tennis workout called Zennis.

The program is offered every Friday from 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.  Sanctuary tennis pros, including Horst Falger, instruct a movement-based tennis clinic , emphasizing the the principles of sports yoga, along with functional tennis stretches.

Photo courtesy of Sanctuary Camelback


Home to five deco turf championship tennis courts, the Sanctuary is ranked in the top five tennis resorts in the country by Tennis magazine.  The tranquility of the Sanctuary blended with the action of tennis makes the Zennis program a perfect addition to the resort.  I was not able to experience Zennis, because I came to the resort on a Saturday, but spoke to other guests who did try the program, and they loved it!

The Zennis program is $50 per person.   The Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain currently has several day spa packages available.  Hint, hint….a spa package with the Zennis program would make a wonderful Mother’s day gift!

For more information, visit their spa page.   For more information about the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, visit the main website.   You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

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