Woo-woo retreat center, not a spa. They are selling Tao religion under titles such as "finding yourself", "Recovery Series", "revitalizing detox". They are not hiding the Tao centered training, just making it more attractive to paying tourists.
I attended a "Finding Your True Self" weekend. It was a mix of standard emotional encounter techniques and Tao "energy work", bowing, tapping on your body, etc. 20 people in the group, three were men, all with their wives...
Be aware when they say yoga, it is not "downward dog" yoga. it is "Korean Yoga"; shaking, jumping, tapping on yourself with a bit of stretching incorporated in it. Lots of "vortex's" and energy field talk. Ilchi Lee is the founder, before you book anything here, read his book "The Call Of Sedona".
The plus side, it is a beautiful place. The food is wonderful, if limited. Most of the greens coming from the gardens and greenhouses on the retreat grounds. Food is limited to organic fish and vegetarian, but includes eggs and cheese. There is no restaurant, just a dining hall with several items at each meal eaten at long communal tables, with the food included in the cost of your stay. No shoes allowed in any of the buildings except the welcome center.
Accommodations are spartan, but clean and the beds are comfortable. Be aware, this is not a hotel or resort, rooms are small, walls are thin and services are nonexistent. Distractions, like TV, telephone and internet, are not provided. Verizon wireless is the best bet for cell service, connecting for voice maybe half the time I was there, and not much for data. This is a place to get away (retreat) from EVERYTHING, not a place to go if you expect to check email every two hours. It is 11 miles down a forest service road that takes 30 minutes to travel, just to get to a paved highway, so no running to town for a quick anything.
Claims to be at one with nature, but the desert is heavily irrigated and planted with many non-native species that will die out when the water stops flowing, trying to make a huge oriental garden out of the desert.
All this sounds negative when I re-read it, but I had a very pleasant time. I would have preferred to skip the training and enjoy the desert sun and hiked the surrounding hills, but I was one of the husbands in attendance. When I com back I will do just that. The staff is pleasantly (surprisingly?) normal, very enthusiastic, and dedicated to the place. The location makes it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We are located in pristine land in Sedona, Arizona, an area long known for natural healing and spiritual awakening. Surrounded by red monoliths, Native American ruins and majestic mountains, our Retreat Center is open for group retreats, spiritual retreats and other programs for holistic healing and meditation. Our Retreat Center offers 163 acres of beautifully landscaped land honoring Mother Earth’s treasures. Designed to work with the healing energy of Sedona, you can relax and rejuvenate body, mind, and spirit. ... more less