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Posted by on Jul 16, 2009 in Spa Reviews | 1 comment

InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa, Paradise Valley, Arizona

InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa, Paradise Valley, Arizona

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Even in a state that has more spas per square mile than any other, Joya at Montelucia is unique. For example, the walkway leading to the spa is modeled after the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. Upstairs, the dramatic dark blue arrival dome is an exact replica of the starry night sky over Granada. The spa suites, available for couples, bridal parties, or girlfriend getaways have an Arabian Nights quality.

InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa, camelback view

Designed by Sylvia Sipielli, the spa is a 31,000 square-foot, two-level facility with 5,200 square feet of outdoor space, 19 treatment rooms, a roof-top pool, lounges, a restaurant, salon, fitness center and the 1,500 square-foot Joya Bazaar. Five deluxe couple’s suites are well and truly luxurious. The Grand Rendezvous Suites have private terraces, outdoor Jacuzzi and shower and signature bath service; the Palace Suite lives up to its name, with a king-size daybed, Jacquzzi, fireplace, flat-screen TV and signature bath service.

The spa is an enchanting place, beautifully lit and imaginatively decorated. The menu is voluminous; in addition to a long list of Moroccan-inspired face and body treatments for both men and women and nutritional and lifestyle coach, there are many classes, such as Martial Arts Training, Moroccan Belly Dance.

The spa menu includes mineral and clay wraps, customized massages, Diamante y Oro (Diamond and Gold) treatments featuring real gold and diamond dust, henna tanning and tattooing and Moroccan-inspired skin and body treatments. A standout is the Hammam-style bathing ritual that uses traditional herbal black soap and includes a circuit in the warming room, steam, cold deluge and sauna.

Joya Fitness is open 24 hours a day; it’s equipped with 19 cardio and 18 strength machines and has a spacious movement studio where the classes are offered.

The Joya Salon a full-service destination beauty salon that offers the services of celebrity stylists and features signature Zafiro hair care products along with those by Shu Uemara.

The Joya Bazaar is a cut above the usual spa boutique, for it carries unusual Moroccan crafts—like a handmade chair encrusted with semi-precious stones ($1485)—as well as high-end gift items, skin care products, jewelry and fashion forward clothing and accessories.

The 235 guest rooms and 40 suites reflect the atmosphere of luxury that pervades the $325 million resort. Guest rooms feature flat-screen televisions, high-speed and wireless Internet access, individual climate controls, well-stocked mini-bars, in-room coffee and tea service, feather beds and spacious working and dining areas. The bathrooms stock high-end amenities, such as products by Ermenegildo Zegna. The casitas have terrace patios with mountain or pool views, while the private Camelback Wedding Suite, which looks as if it might have come from a grand palace in Andalusia, offers separate bride and groom bedrooms on either side of a large living room and an event lawn for the wedding ceremony.


InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa, front entrance at night

InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa,
front entrance at night

Joya Hammam Ritual, InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa

Joya Hammam Ritual,
InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa


Surprisingly, Montelucia is a good fit for couples, for families and for older couples who might enjoy privacy and a kid-free environment. That’s because the 23-acre property is divided into discrete areas called “villages.” For example, a couple might enjoy the privacy of an end unit in the Bocce Garden Village, while a high-energy family might be comfortable in accommodations near the Kasbah Pool. For the kids (ages 5 and up), there is Planet Trekker, a cheerful facility loaded with the newest technology, like x-boxes and Mac computers, along with low-tech favorites like basketball, table tennis, air hockey, and arcade games.

And for guests who prefer getaways that include golf, there is privileged access to the following area courses: Troon, North; TPC Scottsdale, Talking Stick, Quintero, We Ko Pa, Grayhawk and the Blackstone Country Club.

Dining options are varied. The Kasbah Poolside Bar serves light fare: sandwiches, salads, an excellent Angus burger, and an international menu of French fries– twelve kinds, from New Zealand Chippies with Tartar Sauce to Shoestring Fries with Camargue Salt and Rosemary. I know that “fries” and “spa” might seem incongruous, but trust me, these fries have such a feel-good component that they might well be listed under “treatments.”

The signature Prado Restaurant, inspired by the Michelangelo-designed Villa San Michele in Tuscany, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner; the specialty is wood-fired grilling. For snacks and light fare, there’s Crave Café, which serves gelato, quiche, Panini, Lavazza coffee and wine by the glass.

InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa; 5641 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley, AZ; 888-627-3010; montelucia.com

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