Surrounded by suargos cacti in the Sonoran Desert, CIVANA isn’t just a wellness retreat, it’s a spiritual experience. Appropriately located in Carefree, Arizona just a short drive from Scottsdale, the holistic resort sits on an epicenter of positive energy. The mid century modern property has turned over many times throughout the years as both a hotel and film location, but has found its true purpose in CIVANA. Views of Black Mountain and the dazzling Arizona landscape creates a bubble of quiet peace around the land.
Each guestroom is thoughtfully designed with nature in mind. Beds face into a windowed balcony framing the picturesque setting and reusable water bottles are provided on arrival to cut down on waste. An array of complementary classes that range from intimate hikes to sound baths are available on site to guests that want to craft their own path to personal wellness. Each guest’s journey is different. Some come seeking spiritual peace, some physical health, and some just crave rest and relaxation. Whatever your body and soul are seeking, it can be found at CIVANA.
The hotel’s new 22,000 square foot spa blends beautifully into its natural surroundings, careful to respect the wildlife around it. Inspired by the Hohokam Tribe who once occupied the land and invented irrigation, the spa is focused on the healing power of water which is incorporated into many of their offerings, like the Watsu massage. Before treatments, guests are invited to enjoy the Aqua Vitality Circuit, a hot/cold contrast routine that enhances the positive effects of a spa treatment. Below, CIVANA CEO Maggie Lang walks us through her favorite pieces of the hotel.
What’s the most requested room?
Our Tranquility Suite. It lives up to its name. Designed in a soothing, neutral color palette, it allows a focus on the colorful terrain in the majestic Sonoran Desert and dramatic Arizona sunsets outside.
What makes it so special?
To start, you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone that doesn’t love its spa bathrooms; with its serene design, immersive spa tub and overhead rain shower it’s the perfect place to soak and relax after a day of yoga, hiking, mountain biking or fun in the sun by the pool. Nice bathrooms tend to be one of the most beloved parts of a resort room experience and Tranquility Suite does not disappoint here. That said, the suite is also designed with a relaxing mid-century modern design approach, focused on minimal clutter and distraction. We wanted to ensure that this was a suite that wasn’t grandiose and overwhelming, but rather serene and inviting.
What is the rate?
$650 per night.
What room is your personal favorite?
Though I love the Tranquility Suite, room 2215 is my favorite. Views are an important part of a vacation experience and this one doesn’t disappoint. It’s a King Spa room facing the majestic northern Continental mountains, which light up in hues of red as the sun rises in the morning. Due to the rolling layers of mountain peaks, the large cacti littering the horizon and the way the occasional clouds cast shadows, it adds a sense of interesting depth and dimension to the landscape. While Arizona is famous for its sunsets, sunrise here is equally breathtaking and colorful and 2215 gives you a front row seat.
2215 also overlooks our new 22,000 square foot spa, which was an extensive renovation adaptive reuse from an old opera house. The Spa and its lap and therapy pools are surrounded by giant Saguaro cacti and other succulent varieties native to the Sonoran Desert. The view and juxtaposition of the gorgeous modern spa with the ancient desert landscape is inspiring.
Our comfortable King bed in 2215 sits in the middle of the room facing the outdoors. Though rather unusual, this was very intentional in our design. The outdoors is the first thing you see when you wake up and the last as you go to bed. As you wind down from your day of our wellness programs and classes (or golf or pool time – you name it), sit outside on your patio with some herbal tea and enjoy a show from Mother Nature as the sun sets on Black Mountain. Even the black birds of the desert simmer down and appreciate the fiery sky at dusk. It’s an exhale moment.
Did I mention that 2215 (and our other Spa rooms) have the same amazing spa tub as Tranquility Suite? I’m a big fan of the bathtub. CIVANA is all about wellness your way, and baths (accompanied by a glass of good Cabernet) are a part of mine. I teach sunrise meditation classes whenever I’m at CIVANA so it’s important for me to wind down at night and get centered after a busy day. Our soothing rooms, tubs and views help me get there.
Any fun facts about the hotel or rooms?
CIVANA sits on 22 acres of gorgeous Sonoran Desert and its design marries its iconic mid-century modern legacy with a fresh modern vision. The resort, originally built in 1963, was built and designed by Jimmy Wong, who was greatly inspired by the famous modernism architect Pierre Koenig. The town of Carefree, just north of Scottsdale, was named from a notion of being “free from care” and organized with the spirit of gentle living and preservation of its natural beauty.
Carefree used to be the center of a movie studio where the New Dick Van Dyke Show was filmed, and as a result, our resorts used to host notorious guests like Orson Welles, Lucille Ball and often Dick Van Dyke himself.
Koenig’s architectural style was grounded in natural expression of materials without ornamentation or distraction. When CIVANA underwent its extensive renovation in 2017/2018, including our new sustainable state-of-the-art spa, this approach was honored. You’ll find clean modern design, with nods to the earth and the elements that surround us. Our design and spaces are meant to relax the mind; allowing you to tap into what brings you joy; be that sitting by one of our fireplaces watching the sunset with a glass of wine or sweating it out in an athletic TRX class. What I hear the most from people who arrive here is that they feel “a sense of exhale”, and I agree – it’s inevitable and tangible.
CIVANA is a wellness destination that believes that choice and contentment is at the core of well-being. Every experience, and need, is different depending on where our guests are in their own unique journey. As such, we wanted to design and offer beautiful open spaces, an expansive spa rooted in healing through water, calming wellness studios with clean lines, relaxing pools and inviting guest rooms that allow for exploration, play and relaxation.