How to Get There:
Civana Wellness Resort sits conveniently in what feels like ‘the middle of nowhere’. In reality, it is a fairly quick and easy 45 minute drive from the Phoenix Airport. Rent a car or Uber (cost ~ $40-50 one way) and you will arrive in paradise in no time. You can also set up transportation one-way or round-trip with Civana’s dedicated car service. It is through a 3rd-party and cost ~ $95 one-way from the property to the airport (at least from our experience). Although a bit more pricey than an Uber or Lyft, we found this option to be way more dependable – especially given our 7:45AM flight time, slim pickings for ride-share drivers near Carefree and a guaranteed nice car and respectful driver!
On that same note, if you are looking to explore other cities then I highly recommend renting a car. Besides walking into town, we really couldn’t explore any surrounding towns. I would not depend on Uber or Lyft as there are very few drivers available by the resort. So – if you are looking to travel into Scottsdale, over to Sedona, or anywhere else in the beautiful state of Arizona, plan accordingly.
The Wellness Resort and Spa:
If you are looking for a true reset and a place to disconnect with the outside world stressors while connecting with yourself, look no further than Civana Resort. Here, you won’t find over-stimulation or loud music playing but instead you step into a peaceful ambience the moment you walk into the lobby. From the interior design work to the desert oasis that lies right outside your patio door; the entire place emits a sense of zen and calm.
There are two options when you are booking Civana; a-la-carte or all-inclusive. I can’t speak to the all-inclusive as I booked through my Chase Rewards points and that was a-la-carte. (also- I don’t know if all-inclusive is an option all year round or if there was just a special going on during my time of booking so make sure to check it out and see if it would make financial sense for your trip!).
When I say ‘a-la’carte’, I am essentially talking about the restaurants and spa services being separate from the rest of the resort costs. The class schedule which changes throughout the year and seasons can be found here. All of the classes with the exception of a few select/specialized offerings are included in your resort fee/reservation cost.
Classes such as their Yin Yoga, Bands & Buns, Morning Meditation and Sound Healing were all ‘free’ in our already paid for trip. Mindful Mixology (which included alcohol) did cost extra per person and all the spa services are paid for separately as well.
What to Expect on your Wellness Getaway:
As I mentioned above, you can expect to completely unwind for the entirety of your stay on this wellness getaway. Fill your days with however much activity you like (or nothing at all!). Eat on-site every meal or go off and explore the local town. Create your own self-guided walk around the streets and neighborhoods surrounding the hotel property, take a dip in the heated pool, relax your muscles in the hot tub, enjoy clean wine at the resort bar, play tennis, squeeze in a high-intensity-interval-training class .. or do all of the above during your stay.
The staff was absolutely amazing from the very moment we stepped inside the lobby. From checking us in and providing us with our own personal wellness ”journal’ to reflect on during our stay, gifting us with our very own water tumbler (hello fresh, clean, purified water stations all over the property!); to guiding us to our hotel rooms and explaining the lay of the land, they were always available to answer or help in any way they could.
During COVID times (which I know we are all hoping and praying will end soon!), the class sizes are limited, the hotel is at a lower capacity, and spa services’ book up quick. In addition, I would recommend you make reservations at Terras for dinner.
Two Weeks Prior to your Wellness Stay
Approximately two weeks before your stay begins, a resort wellness activity coordinator will call to set up all your classes, dinner reservations and spa services. We just so happened to be visiting during (1) limited COVID capacity, (2) valentines day and (3) Presidents Day weekend so it was much harder than normal to get into all the classes / spa times that we wanted.
That being said, we ended up getting off a majority of the class wait lists and booked for the spa services we wanted.
Wellness classes for EVERYONE! Seriously, there was a class offering for every person’s preference.
For the yoga junkie, try out their Aerial Yoga, Wall Yoga, Yoga for Expanded Awareness, their Yin Yoga and more.
Looking more for the emotional and mental reset versus the physical exercise? Sign up for the Daily Gratitude Circle, Morning Meditation, Sunset Sound Healing or Nature Immersion hike. (all of which will leave you in a serious state of relaxation, zen and a focus on the present moment)
If none of the above is up your alley, then maybe you are an exercise junkie looking to get your heart-rate pumping. In that case, try out their TRX Mix, Bands & Buns, Rise & Ride Cycling and finish by working out those muscles with their Myofascial Release class.
I wish I could have tried them all. Being ~ 7 months pregnant made it a bit more difficult to join in on the higher intensity options but I absolutely LOVED my daily meditations, yin yoga on the outdoor lawn, sunset sound healing and more. Better yet, they were all doable classes for both my mom and I to enjoy together.
- Nature Immersion Hike: I truly had no idea what to expect for this but I just went ahead and signed up. We were taken off property, about a 15 minute van drive into the Sonoran Desert. Here we wandered slowly through the stunning scenic desert while being guided in mindfulness exercises. From seated sound sensory meditations, to engaging all 5 senses, to learning all about the Saguaro cactus and the power of nature; it was extremely informative and enjoyable.
- Mindful Mixology: This class cost an extra $35/per person but we thought it was worth it. This is how we kicked off our time at Civana upon arrival. We were taught how to make their classic lemon-honey-gin cocktail with the cleanest of ingredients. Only ~2-3g of sugar and so dang delicious, we learned how to be true mixologists! After the gin cocktail, the bartender made us all their special hibiscus-infused margarita which was also phenomenal. If you are pregnant like me or chose not to drink alcohol; the experience was still very fun! They have Seedlip as a substitute and I really couldn’t tell the difference.
- Sunset Sound Healing: Bundle up and sit back for a relaxing and unique experience led by an expert sound healer. Complete with burning incense and crystal singing bowls and gongs to clear out the bad energy.
Wellness-Inspired Food and Drink:
If you follow along my journey here, you know how much I value nutrition and clean eating. I am a big believer in the idea that if you “put crap in, you’ll get crap out” (for lack of a better description). Therefore, the same goes for consuming healthy, nutrient-filled food and drinks that allow you to feel energized and glow from the inside-out.
There are two on-site restaurants at Civana; Terras and Seed. Lucky for us, we loved every single food and drink item on the menus so we spent our 4 nights enjoying their full variety of food offerings. The menus are both plant-forward but there are meat options. They can also cater to those with dietary restrictions (think dairy-free, gluten-free and so on). Even their alcohol selection is made up of clean wines and high-quality liquor brands.
SEED CAFE + MARKET
We started every day at Seed and it never disappointed! The menu changes seasonally but during our stay, our favorites were the Brain Booster Bowl (dragon fruit bowl with hemp seeds, coconut, hemp-chia granola and more), the Wild Mezze Frittata, and the Sonoran Breakfast Burrito (packed with chorizo mushrooms, pasture raised scrambled eggs, avocado, herbed potatoes and salsa. Oh and don’t forget to ask for their spicy in-house sauce!). The lattes are delicious and as you can see from my photos, we rarely missed an opportunity to drink one of their smoothies whether for breakfast or for lunch.
Another always-changing, seasonal menu. We shared and tried something new every day. It’s tough to pick favorites but if I had to choose…. the superfoods salad (lacinato kale, shredded veggies, almond ricotta, apple, spiced sunflower seeds and toasted sesame date dressing), Vadouvan Kitchari Bowl (cleaning and warming Ayuverdic-inspired bowl of goodness!), and the chicken pesto lovers sandwich. Smoothie wise, you can’t go wrong with any of them but I kept going back to the Greenvana (green apple, lime, ginger, spirulina, spinach, kale, cilantro, banana and kiwi) and the Funky Cacao (oat milk, hemp seeds, maple syrup, avocado, cacao and banana).
Get hungry a little earlier than your dinner reservation? Head over to the Terras bar for happiness hour from 4-7PM daily. The menu changes year round but while we were there we were able to try their beet hummus, mushroom-lentil pate, and avocado smash plates for $10/each. If you’re going to just pick one, 100% try the mushroom-lentil pate. Just trust me on it! It was amazing and served with the best pretzel bread crisps baked in-house. Their clean wine, cocktails and mocktails are all slightly discounted during this time too.
Seasonal Menu + Desserts:
I feel like a broken record but I was just so pleasantly surprised with every single food item that we ordered at every meal. The dinner service was always topnotch and the actual food itself was full of unique + nourishing flavors.
A few of the ‘must-try’s in my opinion include the oven roasted sunchokes (with pickled ginger aioli and spiced sunflower seeds), the pizza of the night (always changing – dairy free and delicious though!), fire roasted cauliflower (served over quinoa with red pepper jam, pickled walnuts, and tahini), and their Maitake Mushrooms entree (with spicy mole, pan seared masa, avocado and almond lime crema. Another unique one but just trust me on it!)
Moving on to the final course, dessert. We tried all 4 of their dessert options and enjoyed every single one. The 4 options available during our stay were the chocolate beet cake, coconut flan, sunflower cacao tart and tofu citrus cheesecake. Of all four, I would have to say the Coconut Flan (with carrot caramel and candied carrots with ginger) and the Sunflower Cacao Tart (with chocolate ganache, toasted seeds and chocolate sauce) were by far our favorites.
R&R – Spa:
I have talked about the resort itself, the classes, restaurants and now, last but not least, the spa!
If I hit the lottery, you better believe I would have tried every spa service on the ‘menu’. However, while trying to stick to a budget and not go too crazy, we had to pick and chose what services to indulge in. I ended up getting the 60-minute Prenatal Nurture Massage and Revive Pedicure and my mom enjoyed a 60-minute Signature Spa Facial. All 3 of these services were to die for and I would recommend any one of them in an instant.
Other Spa and Salon services offered include Reiki Energy Therapy, the Marine Oxygen Facial, a Sports Massage, the Sonoran Sea Facial and more!
One more thing worth mentioning, if you book a spa service, you also get access to the private pool, poolside food service, and all the other amenities in the spa.
*Please note, amenities are a bit more limited right now due to COVID*
For more Arizona travel inspiration, check out my bachelorette weekend guide in Scottsdale, Arizona. If you’re looking for an outdoor hiking weekend then my 3-day Havasupai guide will be right up your alley.