First-Ever Spa Experience

By Jason Nugent, Expedition Photographer, @jasonnugentphoto

Photos by Jason Nugent and Phil Lindsay

In many ways, Arizona and I are a match made in heaven. As an expedition photographer, I look forward to opportunities to spend time in beautiful mountains, warm climates, and brilliant sunshine. What I don’t always get the opportunity to do, however, is also visit a property like The Phoenician. Most of the time I am spending nights in a tent outdoors, sleeping on air mattresses, and generally putting my body through the wringer.

The Phoenician spa entrance

I recently had the chance to spend a few days at The Phoenician. A luxury resort nestled against Camelback Mountain, the property features a myriad of things to do, including a gorgeous golf course, swimming pools, a fitness facility that I took advantage of every single day, and incredible suites with breathtaking views.

The thing that intrigued me the most, however, was the fact that The Phoenican features a spa. I have never been to a spa, or had anything remotely close to a spa experience or treatment. The resort website describes the spa as “a collection of exclusive offerings, transformative in nature – effecting peace, purity and strength well beyond the spa experience.”

Now, this sounded quite excellent to me. My wife has gently suggested that I take advantage of experiences like this for years, and so I decided that the “Body and Soul” massage treatment sounded exactly like what I needed.

The Phoenician driveway lit from the sunrise

Michael, my masseur, was incredibly friendly and professional, explaining exactly what the treatment entailed. In a quiet room with gentle music playing softly in the background, I was asked to lie face down, close my eyes, and take a few deep, cleansing breaths as he used essential oils to help ease tension and calm my mind. At first, the treatment involved gentle “pushing” up and down the sides of my body. The rocking motion that this creates is incredibly relaxing, and I soon became very relaxed. As he worked, I asked him questions about the treatment, but also about himself. This seems like such a minor detail in many respects, but I found that knowing a bit about him made me feel less like a “client”, so to speak, and more like a friend. He was awesome.

As the treatment progressed, Michael began concentrating on my arms, legs, and back, in turn. With essential oils, hot towels, and judicious amounts of pressure when necessary, he removed all of the stress and lingering tension from my body. When he quietly mentioned that he was now finished and would leave the room in order to let me get dressed, I had a hard time believing that the body I was in was originally mine. I felt like a new person, and after saying goodbye to Michael I left The Phoenican Spa with a sense of clarity and focus that I haven’t had in a while.

ceiling sculpture hanging down in resort spa
lobby of The Phoenician

If you find yourself in Scottsdale, possibly staying at The Phoenican for a while, I urge you to explore the treatments offered at the spa. I am so glad that I took my wife’s excellent advice.

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