/ The Phoenix Traveler
Phoenix — By Heather Wright Schlichting on March 18, 2010 at 7:30 am
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Rock the Casbah at Joya Spa

The exquisite Joya Spa at the InterContinental Montelucia Resort (map) in Paradise Valley, is an old-world import reminiscent of a Moroccan palace.

Handmade Moroccan tiles, carved-wood furniture, copper bathtubs, silk pillows, and strands of Bedouin jewelry accessorize the decor. With 19 treatment rooms on two floors that feature a salon, gym, and shop—it reminds me of the endless winding pathways that make up a real Casbah (or walled marketplace) that are all over the large cities of North Africa.

As you enter you pass a purification fountain meant to begin your transition from the real world to the constant pampering of spa reality. The overall atmosphere makes you feel as if you’re in a dream.  And let’s face it, the real world is so overated.

You know you’re in a special place when the spa’s body care creams are created by a local alchemist.  The organic substance marries gemstone extracts and a fragrance extracted from night-blooming cactus flower.  Used in the 90-minute Joyambrosia Body Bliss, this is a scrub and massage treatment with a heavenly scent.

The Diamond Experience facial uses Natura Bisse, a high-end Spanish line of products, made of crystal orbs that are rolled across your skin. According to my friend, the treatment evened out her skin tone and diminished her dark under-eye circles.

A traditional Moroccan bathing ritual, the Hammam is not your typical rub-a-dub-dub.  First, there’s no tub, just a tiled room with streaming faucets and perspiring walls. The multi-step cleansing technique requires a chemist’s brew of hot and cold water, olive oil soap and a mud-like paste. At Joya the Hammam Black Soap Body Cleansing treatment includes an aromatic steam, refreshing cold douse of water, a whirlpool, and relaxing sauna.

A treatment room

If you’re looking for a great workout, you’ll be inspired by the views of Camelback Mountain from this innovative indoor and outdoor workout space. The gym offers a great variety of treadmills, recumbent and upright bikes, a radiant machine with wireless headsets and professional trainers to guide you through your exercise routine.  Joya has also partnered with a local yoga studio, At One Yoga.

As a former yogi, I can personally vouch for their caliber of classes and instructors.  Montelucia also hosts exclusive yoga retreats at special rates.

If your budget allows, book your treatment in one of the five spa suites. The size of a guest room, some rooms have a queen-size bed to relax in between services.  You can also take advantage of the outdoor patios and soaking tubs.

Moroccan inspired relaxation room

Also divine is the relaxation room overflowing with the sweet smell of candles.  Filled with comfortable furniture and oversized pillows, all that is missing is a hookah pipe.

After a long, hard day of other people making me feel absolutely wonderful, I truly enjoyed the chaise lounges on the Joya Terrace, a rooftop spa-pool that offers amazing views of Camelback Mountain.  Here you can order lunch from a menu of global cuisine.

As a spa junkie, I found Joya an exotic experience that lives up to its hype.  I’ve mentioned the Montelucia in previous posts as being a standout property for beautiful mountain views, great restaurants and amazing decor.  Joya Spa is the perfect fit for such an exclusive resort with its unique body treatments, inspiring workout room and views from rooftop cabanas that would make anyones day a trip to paradise.

Photos courtesy of Intercontinental Montelucia Resort

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