CIVANA Wellness Resort Review: Disconnect to Reconnect in the Sonoran Desert

Julie Diebolt Price Avatar
Entrance of the CIVANA Wellness Resort and Spa in a sunny morning.

Tucked among more than 20 acres of the Sonoran Desert, CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa is a destination wellness resort in Carefree, Arizona, near Phoenix. It’s a great place to reconnect and reinvigorate your senses in a beautiful natural setting.

Spring in the desert is a magical time for Mother Nature, and the cactus blooms were stunning when I was there. There are cacti over 100 years old and more than ten varieties on the resort property.

Cactus blooming in CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa during spring.
Blooming Cactus in spring. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Offering personalized wellness experiences and empathetic hospitality, CIVANA allows guests to create an impactful and meaningful wellness retreat for themselves. You can unplug and relax or go deep into self-discovery and wellness.

Experience Scottsdale hosted me. However, all opinions are my own.

CIVANA Wellness Resort is 27 miles directly north of Scottsdale and 34 miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX). The airport offers rental cars and ride-sharing.

Read More: Top Arizona Resorts for Fun in the Sun

Upon Arrival

I was enveloped in a simple yet elegant atmosphere when I arrived, making check-in a breeze. I received an insulated water bottle to fill at the FloWater alkaline water stations throughout the property. Guests are encouraged to stay hydrated, especially in the desert.

The lobby of CIVANA Wellness Resort and Spa.
CIVANA Lobby. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

I also received a Go Explore booklet that contained a map of the facility and What To Know about Civana.

First Things First–Setting An Intention

Having a clear intention or goal helps guide our actions and directs what we pay attention to. Guests are encouraged to make a plan and write it in the booklet. The plan will help us stay calm and focused in the present moment during our visit. Having an intention increases our overall sense of well-being and connection to the people around us.

Quiet Zones

Quiet Zone signs in strategic locations remind guests to be mindful and present.

Accommodations

CIVANA Wellness Resort boasts 184 guest rooms on two floors, pillow top mattresses, and premium bedding.

The accommodations feature rooms with a king bed and 500 square feet, a double queen with 350 to 400 square feet, and studios with two queen beds or one king bed in a separate bedroom. Wheelchair-accessible rooms are 500 and 510 square feet in size and feature two queen beds.

The botanical path in CIVANA Wellness Resort and Spa.
CIVANA Botanical Path. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Hotel Amenities

The CIVANA Wellness Resort and Spa offers these amenities:

  • Smoke-Free Property
  • Air Conditioning
  • 24-hour Front Desk
  • ATM
  • Bar
  • Breakfast Available
  • RV/Bus/Truck parking
  • Valet Parking
  • Free parking
  • Business Services
  • Concierge
  • Dry Cleaning/Laundry Services
  • EV Charging
  • Early Check-in May Be Available
  • Late Check-out May Be Available
  • Fitness Center
  • Free WiFi
  • Hot Tub
  • Banquet Facilities and Meeting Space, 15,000 square feet
  • Pet Friendly
  • Pools– outdoor
  • On-site Restaurants
  • Room Service
  • Spa
  • Tennis Courts

Note: The concierge desk offers complimentary bikes for exploring the bike trails. Carefree is a short ride away on Cave Creek Road.

My Accommodations

My king-size bed accommodations had a balcony overlooking a mindful, quiet zone and the Spa. I enjoyed sitting on the balcony, especially in the morning, when the soft light, birds, and breeze created the perfect retreat experience.

A king bed room with a view in the CIVANA Wellness Resort and Spa.
King Bed Room With a View. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

The spacious bathroom had a deep-soaking tub with a separate shower.

Soak in the tub at the CIVANA Wellness Resort and Spa.
Deep Soaking Tub. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Room Amenities

  • Hairdryer
  • Designer Toiletries
  • Climate-Controlled Air Conditioning
  • Coffee and tea maker
  • Flat-screen TV

The Spa

CIVANA’s state-of-the-art 22,000 square foot spa offers the ritual of “taking the waters” with aqua therapy immersions, including a tepidarium, hot/cold walking pool, cold plunge shower, and sanarium (the only one in the continental United States).

CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa hydrotherapy.
Hydrotherapy. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

I will admit that I didn’t do well in the cold plunge. Determined to at least try it because I’ve seen someone else perform the feat, I couldn’t dip into my shoulders. My ankles were aching within seconds, and I couldn’t wait to escape into the warmer waters steps away. Maybe next time.

CIVANA Wellness Resort and Spa women’s spa quiet room.
Women’s Spa Quiet Room. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

On my next visit, I will allow more time in the Spa to visit the sauna and steam rooms, swim in the 25-meter saltwater pool, and book additional restorative spa treatments.

CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa relaxation room.
The Spa Relaxation Room. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price
Relax in the relaxation room beds in CIVANA Wellness Resort and Spa.
The Spa Relaxation Room Bed. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Fitness Center

The Fitness Center is open daily. Guests can choose from over 100 movements, personal growth, and spiritual classes each week.

On the day I arrived, I attended a manifestation workshop. It was a good introduction to introspection and prepared me for other wellness activities during my visit.

Wellness classes include:

  • Guided Labyrinth Walking Meditation
  • The Manifesting Mindset
  • Inner Visioning Breath Journey
  • Numerology

Fitness classes include:

  • Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced trail hikes
  • Pilates
  • HIIT
  • TRX Mix

Yoga classes include:

  • •Aerial Yoga
  • Myofascial Release
  • Restorative Yoga
  • Chakra Yoga
Outdoor yoga at the CIVANA Wellness Resort and Spa.
Outdoor Yoga. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

The Labyrinth

The Labyrinth at CIVANA Wellness Resort enhances right brain activity, spiritual connection, and mindfulness of the sensory experience and helps deliver an overall sense of calm.

After I completed the early morning ceremonial walking meditation in the labyrinth, I relaxed in a hammock in the area next door and let the sun warm my face.

CIVANA Wellness Resort and Spa labyrinth.
CIVANA Labyrinth. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Morning and Evening Rituals

Guests are encouraged to cultivate an attitude of gratitude by participating in morning and evening rituals. The flows help create a roadmap for the day, affect positive changes, and give mental clarity.

The morning ritual is an intention-setting ceremony in which you chart your emotional path for the day and manifest the meaningful experiences you want to create.

The evening ritual is a gratitude circle ceremony performed at sunset. During this ceremony, you bring closure to the events of the day and acknowledge the positive outcomes.

The spa pool at CIVANA Wellness Resort and Spa.
The Spa Pool. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Outdoor Pools

The Resort Pool & Jacuzzi hot tub is in the center of the property. Countless lounge chairs, cabanas, and umbrellas make your pool visit comfortable.

The 25-meter saltwater outdoor pool in the Spa building has a sundeck and lounge chairs.

Both pools and the hot tub are handicapped accessible.

Food and beverages are available at both pools and delivered poolside.

Have lunch at the CIVANA Wellness Resort and Spa pool.
Lunch at the Spa Pool. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Food and Drinks

Seed

Seed Café & Market offers cuisine that keeps you and your body feeling good with superfoods and critical nutrients. Hyper-seasonal offerings feature predominantly plant-based, flavorful salads with protein, healthy wraps, and a fresh juice bar. Seed is proud to serve food grown locally.

I ordered the Golden Lassi, my favorite anti-inflammatory and vitamin C beverage. Combining mango, pineapple, oat milk, coconut yogurt, maple syrup, turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon is like a decadent dessert that is good for you.

The Brie, Fig, & Apple Grilled Cheese Panini called to me…and I answered the call. Fig jam, arugula on noble ciabatta, and chips were delicious and sophisticated comfort food.

Terras

Terras highlights colorful, veggie-forward meals, but it offers a broad selection of menu options to meet anyone’s cravings. The regionally-inspired cuisine is free of GMOs, hydrogenated fats, hormones, and preservatives.

Have terras appetizers at CIVANA Wellness Resort and Spa.
Terras Appetizers. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price.

Our group enjoyed the delicious farm-to-table produce (Chopped Kale Salad GF VG, Grilled Za’atar Carrots GF NF VG, Wild Mushrooms sauteed with rosemary GF NF VG, and Honey Roasted Tomato & Burrata Flatbread V for appetizers), grass-fed beef, sustainable seafood, and decadent desserts.

Terras filet mignon entrée served at the CIVON Wellness Resort and Spa.
Terras Filet Mignon Entrée. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price.
Terras chocolate and berries dessert served at CIVANA Wellness Resort and Spa.
Terras Chocolate and Berries Dessert. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price.

Happiness Hour

I tried my first Martini mocktail and would probably not order it again. I prefer the real thing.

Pet and Children Policy

Pets are not allowed, except for service animals. Children older than 14 are welcome.

Final Thoughts

CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa is the perfect destination to immerse yourself in a spa experience. Use it to rejuvenate or as a home base for exploring this part of the Sonoran Desert. You’ll win either way.

CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa
37220 Mule Train Road
Carefree, AZ 85377 USA
Phone Number 877-946-3998
www.civanacarefree.com

Check-in is at 4 p.m.

Check-out time is 11 a.m.

Major credit cards accepted

Currency is USD

24-hour cancellation policy

Julie Diebolt Price is an award-winning professional photographer, educator, author, and travel writer. She writes about two things – photography and travel (along with a little food and beverage). Julie educates and mentors aspiring photographers. As a journalist who loves to travel, she creates memorable experiences and shares them with words and pictures.
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