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Fantasy Fitness Spa: Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

The style of this chic spa resort is modern-mountain zendo, not howling coyotes. Its chef beat Bobby Flay on Iron Chef. And its fitness program is outta sight.


Today concludes Fantasy Fitness Spas of the West week, during which we whisked you away to our five favorite spas. (More precisely, the five spas we’ve visited recently and loved.) Given that our former life was dedicated to writing about spas, you can take our picks pretty seriously.

And we’re ending on a mountain high note—at the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain. Here are three awesomely memorable experiences worth visiting this chic resort and spa for.


It’s a boutique-hotel-style resort for healthy people. And New Yorkers.

The style of this 105-room resort is modern-mountain zendo, not howling coyotes. The infinity pool and spa are Dwell Magazine-worthy (see above). And my Spa Casita guest room had an awesome soaking tub.

You should leave your room for pool time, biking to then hiking up Camelback Mountain, and lingering at the spa. From coddling facials and energy work to Watsu (water Shiatsu), the treatments and therapists will leave you feeling mountain high. —Melisse Gelula

Beau MacMillan Elements at Sanctuary on Camelback
Chef Beau MacMillan's mod-American cuisine

1. Dinner by Iron-Chef-Winner Beau MacMillian
Elements is packed with monied locals here for MacMillian’s creative Modern American menu, devoted to organic produce, sustainable seafood, and hormone-free meats. There’s also Asian-influenced spa cuisine, with vegetarian and gluten-free options. I stayed here for nearly a week and was blown away by pretty much every meal.

2. Climbing Camelback Mountain
It’s a 1.25-mile, 2,704-foot ascent, and the first time I did it, local geriatrics passed me. There are no better fitness drill sergeants to get you up it in lightning speed than Melissa Branta and Mike Masood, two of the uber-competent trainers on staff here. (Others include Olympic swimmer Misty Hyman, who kicks off the 3-day Triathlon Prep Program here.)

Reformer Pilates at fitness spa
Reformer Pilates

3. Super-Sculpting Pilates Reformer Classes
I’m the kind of person who loves Reformers but looks like a flopping fish out of water on them. While that was no different at Sanctuary, Kara Thomas gave me great advice on keeping up with the class, a group of seriously fit women.

Room rates start at $459 per night, 800-245-2051,