Scottsdale has plenty of resort spas, but no true destination spa experience. The Copperwynd in Fountain Hills is aiming to play in that market, walking a line between traditional resort and destination spa with its Akara Wellness Retreats.
The Akara Wellness Retreats were originally conceived to be multi-day experiences where guests could start with base packages like Akara Wellness, Akara Adventure, Akara Detox or even Akara Romance and customize to their hearts content. As the hotel is going through a major expansion to add nearly 100 rooms, the focus for the retreats this summer is on the local market and day-long retreats. I recently spent the day immersed in the Akara Experience.
The day-long retreats are a good deal for locals. For $399 you receive one private fitness class, access to all group classes that day, an APP Personalized Program including a 3D body scan, lunch at Flourish and one spa treatment and a manicure or pedicure.
My day begins with a private Pilates Reformer session taught by Kara Thomas, Director of Health and Wellness. Kara asks me a few questions and does some physical assessments to create a class tailored to me. Knowing that I have a very slight scoliosis in my back, she creates a program that if done on a regular basis, would help restack my spine into a straighter alignment. The reformer session also focuses on strengthening my sadly weak quads.
Next is the 3D Body Scan. The scan uses technology to asses your body shape, composition and wellness. However, as a certified health coach, who has done lots of assessments, I don’t feel there is enough knowledge about the way the technology works to make this a very effective tool. The machine is skewed by the fact that I’m wearing yoga shorts and a bra that is designed to pump up, rather than flatten out. But the biggest flaw I see is that it doesn’t seem to take into account gender, measuring a female’s waist in the same place as a male’s waist. Every girl knows that girls curve in at the waist and a man’s waist sits lower. The number it gives me for my waist is nearly 4 inches larger than my actual waist, and that number skews many other crucial numbers in the testing. I don’t get why the manufacturer wouldn’t refine the program to make it accurate for both genders. For someone who has never done any physical assessments, this test would give them a picture of their health, taking into consideration a margin of error. Perhaps it’s a case of some data is better than none, but I was happy when Thomas said they would also be adding other assessment tools soon. Currently, they offer participants the opportunity to also take the measurements manually and compare the two sets of data. I didn’t have the chance to do it, but I’m sure that would help other participants get a much better picture of their fitness.
On any given day, Copperwynd offers four to 12 fitness classes and Akara guests can participate in any session they wish. Classes include Zumba, Barre Plus, Outdoor boot camp, spinning and a variety of yoga classes including a candlelight yoga class that has a musician playing acoustic guitar throughout. Namaste!
The elevated location of The Copperwynd means there are gorgeous views of The Four Peaks and lunch on the patio at Flourish is a perfect place to drink them in. With a chef who trained under Kevin Binkley, the food is an underrated gem. While there are several healthy salads on the menu, there are also special Akara items like the Akara Chicken Wrap. The retreats can accommodate special diets and allergy restrictions.
The Akara retreats have a good balance of mind and body features woven in. My afternoon is spent poolside before my Amethyst Awakening Massage. Inspired by the amethyst mines in Arizona, this massage channels the calming energy of amethyst into a lighter, relaxing style massage designed for relaxation more than releasing tight muscles. For a deeper tissue massage after a morning of working out choose the Blue Sage & Arnica Massage.
I end my day with a very relaxing pedicure, excited to get my toes sandal weather as the 90 degree days seem here to stay.