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RED MOUNTAIN SPA
St. George, UT
web: redmountainspa.com
email: spareservations@redmtn.com

By Roberta C. Stone, Correspondent

About Ivins, St. George and Washington County // The ancient Pueblo Native American tribe known as the Virgin River Anasazi inhabited this area for th:ousands of years, mainly in cliff dwellings and caves. Petroglyphs etched in the surrounding rock walls proclaim their existence. It wasn't until 1776 that European settlers entered the area when two Spanish Catholic fathers (Dominiguez and Escalante) ventured into what is now St. George to establish a mission. In 1826, Jedediah Smith, a self-proclaimed mountain man and fur trader, explored the area on his way to California, leaving in his wake, grandiose tales of bravado. In 1858, three hundred Mormon families from the southern United States, established cotton farms in the area. The idea was to establish self-sufficient colonies of Latter Day Saints who would supply needed materials to other colonies in the Utah settlements, so they did not have to depend on the Eastern states' products. The profusion of cotton farms that sprung up during this time resulted in the St. George area becoming known as "Utah's Dixie." Later, in 1874, silk production was also introduced and a great number of mulberry trees were planted to feed the silkworms. The trees still dot the area today. The colonies hardly succeeded, though due to harsh weather conditions and river flooding. Many of those settlements are now ghost towns, many of which are tourist attractions. Today, Ivins and St. George are thriving desert towns due mostly to the explosion of retirees populating the area and the young families transplanted from all over. Residents and tourists are lured here because of the dry desert climate (the average yearly temperature is 60 degrees) and the towns' proximity to some the planet's most beautiful natural wonders millions of years in the making.

About Red Mountain Spa // The 55 acre facility is located some 3000 feet above sea level on a flat, lava-filled desert mesa spilling into a bowl of red rock cliffs that spire up as high as adjacent Pine Mountain at 10,000 feet. It is dramatic and starkly beautiful, especially at sunrise and sunset when the terra cotta sandstone absorbs the orange of the sun. It is strategically situated at the gateway to Snow Canyon State Park, whose cliffs and canyons are the spa's natural playground. Nearby are Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and The Grand Canyon, places they take you to on a regular basis. If the natural wonders aren't your thing, nearby are outstanding golf courses, like Entrada, a championship Johnny Miller course, mineral pools, tennis courts, bike trails and swimming holes. The nearest town is St. George, which offers an array of things to do. And if complete fantasy is your thing, Las Vegas is only 120 miles away.

Red Mountain is an adult camp you never want to leave. It has a nice campus like feel, with all spa services within walking distance from your room. There are 211 friendly and accommodating staff members to cater to every need, with 40 professional guides to take you over the mountains and through the canyons. Signs everywhere say,"Red Mountain- Choose your adventure." Spa guests can choose from an assortment of services on hand in the weekly activity schedule, like trekking in the great outdoors, relaxing or doing laps in the two swimming pools (one indoor-one outdoor), flexing your muscles in the myriad of exercise classes, learning the art of wellness and good cooking through hands-on lectures or classes or pampering yourself in the beauty spa, which features a full service salon. The spa offers several special packages too. There is a Teen Program for kids 12 and over where they can stay for 4-5 days for a fee of $119.00 a night. Mother and daughter packages are offered periodically during the year. In addition, Red Mountain puts out a monthly calendar with special packages corresponding to the time of year. For instance, in February, there is a Rock and Romance Package, a couple's hiking and picnicking fantasy, while in January, they offer a week of cooking with celebrity guest chefs called Spa Chef Fantasy Camp. (Forget Las Vegas)

Lodging is spread nicely over the campus-like facility which has 116 guest rooms in nine buildings interlaced with rolling landscape and curving pathways that meander through lush gardens and rushing waterfalls. The spa houses up to 202 guests in a variety of accommodations ranging from deluxe villas with fire places, king size beds and bathrooms with Jacuzzis to standard but comfortable guest rooms for the budget minded. All rooms are in close proximity to all spa services and most have beautiful views of the surrounding vistas. Complimentary robes are included with your stay to get you to and from the spa building in comfort. Returning guests can earn points, which translate into reduced fees and increased privileges.

Entertainment // The Native American influence is part of the American Southwest and the spa recognizes that fact by offering ceremonial activities, like the Sunset Ceremony or the Stone Circle Fire Ceremony to end the day on a peaceful note amid the backdrop of the red mountains. There is a pottery class once a week in the artsy town of Kayenta, where a select few can re-live the Demi Moore/ Patrick Swayze "Ghost" scene by throwing a piece of clay onto a wheel with "Unchained Melody" playing in the background of your mind. It is a wonderful night out and a great bonding experience with your fellow spa-goers. Best part- They send the pottery home to you. Unbroken. Star party- Explore the southwestern skies without the glare of city lights. Spectacular on a clear night. Las Vegas- Needs no explanation. Theatre: Tuacahn Theatre offers Broadway in the Desert. Set in a natural amphitheatre this outdoor theatre is just the ticket for a starry summer night. Interesting dinner menu compliments the beautiful natural surroundings. It is a short drive from the spa. St. George Musical Theatre Broadway shows too.

Dining // Cuisine Dining is on site in the Canyon Breeze Dining Room, where guests tend to eat family style in a pleasant southwestern atmosphere indoors, or outside on the stone terrace replete with adobe fireplace. Red Mountain has three healthy GOURMET meals a day in. A healthy breakfast buffet is served daily featuring a fresh fruit bar and juices, unusual and tasty hot and cold items. A hiker's breakfast is offered for those returning from early morning excursions. Coffee, hot and cold tea and water are always available, as is fruit. Lunch is also buffet and always features fresh fruit, yogurt, sandwiches, and hot and cold selections. Chef Jim Gallivan always prepares a wide range of dishes to appeal to every diet and taste. Cards with dietary information accompany every dish, which helps diners make thoughtful choices. The kitchen is very accommodating to special dietary needs as well. There is also a great sandwich and juice bar with the best smoothies. If you are not there for lunch, the chef will pack you a great boxed lunch.

Shopping // Red Mountain Outfitters is the on-site supplier of outdoor gear (naturally) for your next trek. There is a pleasant, trained staff to help you too. Good cookbooks and other gift items are available, as well as needed sundries if you forget your toothbrush. Need a shopping fix? St. George has several malls and outlet stores to fill your every whim. River Road Shopping Plaza, Ancestor Square (quaint shops), Red Cliffs Mall, Zion Factory Stores and Phoenix Plaza are just a few of the places available to "shop till you drop." The art town of Kayenta is interesting and unique. Of course, there's always Las Vegas.

Activities // For the outdoor enthusiast, there is mountain biking (bikes are supplied) kayaking, rock climbing, slick rock, geo-caching (a high tech, physically challenging treasure hunt), cycling, (I recommend the Kayenta coffee cruise a three hour leisurely ride to a desert community and a good cup of java) back country wilderness trips and an incredible and diverse hiking program that offers three levels of treks for every ability. (Trekker three hikes are not for the faint of heart) Daily morning hikes are popular, free and there are over 40 different hikes over 30 miles of terrain to choose from. All expeditions are led by well trained, friendly and knowledgeable leaders who know the terrain, the wildlife and provide some interesting anecdotal history of the area.

Weekly guided trips to Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyon National Parks are wonderful, challenging and a must for people who want to experience a whole day of spectacular scenery and hiking. Guests can also hire a private guide for the day to choose their own private adventure. With great emphasis on fitness and wellness, the spa offers a variety of nutrition related activities, like cooking classes, mindful dining,(eating slowly) Smart Shopping (going to a supermarket to pick out nutritious food choices) and nutrition seminars.

To get in touch with one's spirituality, Yoga, Tai Chi, Meditation, Acupuncture and Iridology (a holistic approach to emotional, mental and spiritual well being) are just a few of the choices. Daily lectures on a myriad of subjects are interesting and informative. The spa offers health tests for your heart and bones and ways to strengthen them with the myriad of fitness classes, like Pilates, spinning, stretch classes, dance classes, (NYC ballet workout was a real challenge, but there's also salsa and hip hop) and swim classes (the noodle workout was a big hit).

There is a state-of-the-art weight and strength fitness room chock full of machines and gadgets to satisfy the Arnold Schwarzenegger crowd. Relax freaks can lounge by the pool or on the several hammocks and chairs scattered around the property, or soak their aching muscles in the warm Jacuzzi tub set in the midst of a flower garden. Or, they can take advantage of the spa services offered in the way of massages, (there are eight different ones) body treatments (there are seven choices) facials (there are eight) or nail treatments, (manicures and pedicures) hair care and body waxing.

Places to see // Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyon National Parks are awesome and must sees. Snow Canyon State Park is in Red Mountain's backyard with unusual slot canyons, red slick rock and a variety of wildlife. Nearby towns of St. George and Kayenta have shops, activities and attractions Las Vegas is also an option.

How to Get There // Red Mountain is located only 90 minutes (120 miles) north east of Las Vegas. You may fly into either the local St. George airport (via Sky west/Delta Connection and United Express) or Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. Shuttle van service to and from Las Vegas Airport is available through St. George Shuttle. Driving from Las Vegas McCarran Airport: Take I-15 North to St George. Exit left on Bluff St. (Exit 6) follow Bluff St. north approx. 7 miles. Turn left at Snow Canyon Parkway and drive 3.5 miles. Red Mountain is located on the right. Turn right at the Red Mountain sign (before the Snow Canyon Rd. intersection) to arrive at Guest Services.

Tips // Drink a lot of water, especially in the summer months. This is the desert and it is hot and dry. Always take water on any excursions. Apply ample sun block for the same reasons as the water drinking. If you are partaking in strenuous activity, do it early in the day to avoid the heat. Wear comfortable, but high-tech hiking shoes that are already broken in to avoid blisters. Some hikes are on sloped terrain and require good gripping shoes. Wear a hat and bring a light jacket Winter and spring mornings can be cooler than you think.

By Roberta C. Stone, Correspondent

I just loved this place, and I know this is because I didn't want to leave. My room was comfortable with a great view of the desert and red mountains that give the spa its name. The hikes and hikers were awesome, challenging and scenic. Because most activities involved mixing with others (even dinner is a family affair) I met a wonderful cross section of people; a woman who worked in Bosnia for the U.N., a personal trainer from Michigan who has returned for the past eleven years, this time bringing 30 of her clients with her, and a former Olympic cross-country skier who competed at the 1972 Innsbruck games all interesting and unusual.

I once saw a movie called "McKenna's Gold" where two groups of cowboys (the good guys and the bad guys) were looking for a hidden canyon with solid gold walls, but the only way in was at first light when the sun made a grand entrance that lit up the passage with blinding red-gold rays. If you missed that five minute interval, you missed the secret canyon and the chance to get McKenna's gold. The Red Mountain Spa is McKenna's gold. Find it. It's worth it.

DESTINATION SNAPSHOT

LOCATION: ST. GEORGE, UTAH
ROOMS: 116 (incl 24 villa suites)
CLOSEST MAJOR AIRPORT: Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS)
RESTAURANTS: ALL INCLUDED NATURAL AND FRESH MEALS


WEBSITE:
redmountainspa.com

EMAIL:
spareservations@redmtn.com
PHONE:
877.246.HIKE (4453)