Heidi Lamar didn't know much about spas when she first purchased Spa Lamar. As she explained to reporters from Skin Inc., "not coming from a spa background, there were things I didn't know I couldn't do." Unhindered by industry conventions or previously fixed ideas, Heidi set about filling her 14,000-square-foot spa with innovative amenities—from a luxurious waterfall-fed pool to an onsite yoga and dance studio. She also cultivates locals instead of the typical resort crowd, banishing cacti from the decor in favor of a Caribbean-style ambiance that, as she told the Arizona Republic, caters to those who already live in Arizona and want to get away to a tropical island. Today, her media-lauded spa is the largest privately owned spa in Scottsdale and is frequented by locals, including members of the Phoenix Suns Dancers.
Before treatments that include massages, acupuncture, mani-pedis, and facials, guests garbed in fluffy complimentary robes duck into the steam room. They sample wholesome lunches and fruit plates from the tropical tea bar and relax in the sauna while waiting for a haircut or warm algae wrap. Sunbathers float around the pool on loungers, whereas others simmer in a bubbling whirlpool. Unlike many traditional spas, Spa Lamar is completely coed, making it an ideal place for couples that are on a first date or permanently trapped together inside a horse costume with a broken zipper.
Karve Studio's muscle-sculpting workout sessions combine elements of Pilates, yoga, free weights, and ballet-barre conditioning to provide quick and striking results. The classes are set to lively music, and over the course of the hour-long sweat session your instructors will guide you through a challenging series of non-impact strengthening, stretching, and conditioning exercises designed to burn fat as you increase muscle and flexibility. Classes are upbeat and motivational and aim to leave students tightened, toned, and wandering the world in a lean yet muscular physique. Consult Karve's schedule for a workout that suits you, and call ahead to reserve your space.
After studying under Bikram Choudhury, the father of Bikram yoga, Sumit Banerjee decided to bring the heat to his own class style—an amalgam of Bikram- and Ashtanga-inspired postures. The Sumits Yoga signature class steers students through deep stretches performed in a toasty studio. Aided by the heat, these movements help students hone both balance and strength.
Though Sumit champions the physical benefits of the practice—muscle toning, detoxification, and the ability to someday fry an egg on one's forehead—the true object of his style is “the simple pleasure and self-reward that comes from quieting our minds." To honor this, he emphasizes introspection and spiritual awareness over perfect technique, allowing guests of any experience level to participate.
No matter what season it is outside, inside Bikram Yoga it feels like an Arizona summer. Rather than being the quirk of a homesick lemur studio owner, the thermostat at the yoga haven always reads at least 105 degrees to help students' bodies stretch deeper, detoxify, and avoid injury during difficult poses. Every yoga session features the exact same series of 26 poses over the course of 90 minutes. The instructor helps advanced students make their poses more challenging, and beginners ease into the positions as the whole class works to control breathing and maintain balance. Classes meet seven days a week in the mornings, evenings, and at lunchtime.
Jim Keegan, the founder of Yoga Nirvana, draws on his studies in kinesiology and biomechanics to help visitors obtain inner peace and healthy bodies. Before opening his own studio, he served a nine-year stint as the head yoga teacher at Arizona State University and continues his teaching career through international workshops. Jim and his fellow instructors guide students through classes such as Ashtanga for beginners, Kundalini yoga, power yoga, and mediation. Sore students can ease their tired muscles by scheduling an appointment with the studio's licensed massage therapist. In addition to group classes, Jim offers private lessons and whisks pupils away on all-inclusive yoga retreats.
Yoga at the Village is for the yoga-curious. Classes are upbeat, full of humor and without the I-can-do-a-headstand pretension that’s common in neighboring L.A. studios. Owner Elyse Briggs ensures an ego-free environment...any class for any "level" of ability.