The Spa Biltmore At The Arizona Biltmore

by Julie Cohn

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The morning of my visit to Spa Biltmore, I was (again) stuck in traffic, so-called ahead to inform them I would be a few minutes late.  Upon arrival, the reception staff greeted me cordially and advised me that my appointments had been moved 15 minutes ahead.  I was surprised and impressed at the care they took in accommodating me, with no concern for my late arrival.  I quickly found out that customized care is the norm at The Spa Biltmore at the Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

An attendant showed me to the locker room so I could change, chatting with me along the way about the busy Super Bowl weekend a few days before. I was surprised that Spa Biltmore was able to accommodate my reservations after such a busy weekend, yet they did not “blink an eye” when I asked for this date for my visit, which happened to be the day before my birthday.

Spa Biltmore Jewel of the Desert Massage

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My first appointment of the day was the Jewel of the Desert massage, which uses Body Bliss aromatherapy oils to relax and energize the body.  I was led to a small room with a heated massage table and warm blankets to cover me in the cool room. Sandy, my masseuse, explained what she would be doing with each of the aromatic oils, scented with the essence of Rosemary, Jasmine, Rose, Amber, Peppermint, Sandalwood, and other natural ingredients.

As she began her massage, I noticed she focused not just on the major muscles, but on the smaller muscles and tendons, such as in my hands and feet.  It was apparent that she was well-trained and enjoyed what she did, and did not just “go through the motions” of massage; she actually cared about my experience. Sandy used a different oil for each part of my body, focusing on the Hindu Chakra points, occasionally asking if her touch was comfortable.  I do not prescribe to a Hindi philosophy, but the different scented oils she used were heavenly to smell, and afterward, my muscles did not hurt as they do with some massages.

The piece de resistance?  Sandy did a Cranial Sacral Balancing on my head and neck.  I know it may sound odd, but I truly felt as if every bit of stress and worry drained out of my body when she did this. I could feel my body melt into the massage table!  If you have a chance to have the Cranial Sacral Balancing done, it is worth every penny.  After my massage, Sandra gave me a few minutes to steady myself and put my robe on, then led me back to the relaxation room for my next treatment.  Bottom line:  This massage was hands-down the best massage of my entire life.

Spa Biltmore Hydrafacial

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I did not have to wait long in the relaxation room, as my esthetician, Sheila, took me to a small facial room, explaining the Hydrafacial procedure as I settled into the facial chair.  The entire treatment took 90 minutes, during which she cleansed, exfoliated (removing dead skin cells), and hydrated my face, using the Hydrafacial resurfacing technology.  She also did a hand and foot massage, using hydrating creams.  The Hydrafacial is considered more effective and less invasive than Microderm treatments, and the nutrients are able to go ten layers of skin deep to hydrate the skin.  This was my first Hydrafacial, so I did not know what to expect, but after the treatment, my skin felt incredibly clean, smooth, and plumper.  I tend to have a lot of redness in my face because I have lupus, but my skin looked brighter, less red, and more radiant—I actually glowed!  I definitely recommend the 90-minute Hydrafacial session instead of the 30-minute session, as the esthetician is able to do more treatment and focus in on problem areas more.  Bottom line:   I loved the Hydrafacial and will get this again!

Lunch At Frank & Albert’s

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Southwest Chicken Salad at Frank & Albert’s

After my facial treatment, I went back to the locker room to shower and dress, then met with the spa manager, Elana Evans and the Director of Spa and Recreation, Leslie Johnson, for lunch. Lunch was a delicious Southwestern Chicken Salad (with grilled shrimp added) at the Arizona Biltmore’s legendary restaurant, Frank & Albert’s, named after famous architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Albert Chase McArthur, who consulted (Wright) and designed the Arizona Biltmore (McArthur).  Somehow Elana and Leslie found out my birthday was the next day and surprised me with a fun birthday present full of spa goodies, including my favorite oil from my Jewel of the Desert massage, Body Bliss Inspired oil.  What a wonderful surprise!

Spa Biltmore Renovation Makeover

At lunch, Leslie and Elana discussed the new “makeover” of Spa Biltmore.  A new spa menu was introduced to customers in October 2014, including the Hydrafacial Skin Resurfacing Treatment, Nu Face Microcurrent Lift, and the High-Frequency Light and Oxygen Therapies.  New treatments at Spa Biltmore include the 75-minute Turquoise Sage Stone Full Body Massage, and the 75-minute Volcanic Sand Meets Red Clay Detox.  They have enhanced their couples massage services as well and emphasized that every treatment can be customized to individual tastes (as I experienced myself).

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In addition, the entire spa is undergoing a floor-to-ceiling makeover, in order to create a relaxing atmosphere for spa guests, while keeping with the original architecture and design of Frank Lloyd Wright and Albert McArthur.

Relaxation Room

Relaxation Room

“The spa has been transformed with changes from our name and ambiance to our innovative treatment menu and wellness concepts,” explained our Director of Spa and Recreation Leslie Johnson.  “Our guests will find a new resource to be inspired, be active and be well.”

Leslie and Elana were proud to acknowledge that many of the products they use in treatments are natural, organic and vegan, including the Body Bliss, Ilike, and Farm Fresh products.  They also pointed out that many of their products are specialized for high-end spa care, including the La Bella Donna Mineral makeup, Davines hair products, and SpaRitual nail lacquers they use in the Spa Biltmore salon.

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Paradise pool

In addition to regular menu treatments, Spa Biltmore offers monthly specials, usually corresponding to the current holidays.  Spa guests have access to the fully-equipped fitness center, offering yoga, Pilates, and other fitness classes, as well as cardio fitness equipment, tennis courts, and bicycle rentals.  Guests also have access to the sauna, steam room, and whirlpool, as well as the resort pools, including the Paradise pool, with its 92-foot water slide, swim-up bar, and poolside cabanas.  The Arizona The salon offers manicure, pedicure, hair, and make-up treatments, including bridal and prom makeup.

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Poolside cabanas

{I was invited as a guest of Spa Biltmore to experience some of their treatments.  My opinions are 100% my own.}

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For more information about Spa Biltmore, please visit their website.  You can also find the Arizona Biltmore on Facebook and Twitter.  

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Lara 02/19/2015 at 2:42 pm

That hydra facial is really intresting. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of one. The pool…. swoon. Packing a bag now!

Karin 02/19/2015 at 3:22 pm

Wow, looks amazing! I think it’s time to schedule a spa day…

deb 02/19/2015 at 5:20 pm

This looks like such a lovely hotel. I want to come to AZ just to stay here. Seriously, it’s negative temps here, that pool looks so inviting! Oh, and maybe one of each of the spa treatments. I think a girl’s weekend getaway is in order very soon.

Jill (mrschaos) 02/19/2015 at 7:49 pm

I want to be there. That looks so dreamy!

Shobha 02/20/2015 at 12:57 am

I’ve been there! It is indeed fabulous. pre-kids I didn’t even notice that they had a water slide into the pool. Now it would be one of the things I check for before booking a hotel!

Barb 02/20/2015 at 4:13 pm

I love, love, love the Biltmore. I have never had the chance to visit their spa but I am so making time for a visit there next time I am in Phoenix. Wow. Thanks for the heads up on the great spa Julie!


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