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Healing Spa, Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort, AZ

At the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort’s spa, we experienced something rare:
a session with a Native American healer. After the thoachta treatment, a combination of light touch, Native American ritual and centering techniques, we felt so good that next year, we returned to the spa with our adult children.

Overly analytical, Matt and Alissa remained skeptical until they too experienced their sessions. The 2500 acre resort, located about twenty minutes from Phoenix’s airport, spreads out on land belonging to the Pima and Maricopa nations, members of the Gila River Indian Community.

For us the 17,000 square foot Aji Spa is the resort’s jewel. All spas pamper, soothe and primp, but few incorporate treatments that rejuvenate at a powerful level and fewer still make available to the public the skills of a Native American healer. Belen Stoneman, a member of the Pima nation, possesses a gift.

She does not cure diseases; a session with her will not rid you of cancer, diabetes or even the common cold. Stoneman does not work at that level. Instead, she employs the ancient techniques and knowledge handed down to her by generations of healers to further well-being. After her thoachta session, a combination of light touch, Native American ritual and centering techniques, we felt wonderful—energized but peaceful.

We’ve reviewed spas for decades and have never experienced anything like this. Stoneman works at a level unavailable to ordinary therapists. Her sessions are pricey, but, we think, worth it.

The Aji Spa, touted as having the “only authentic Native American spa menu in existence,” offers less intense and less expensive treatments that incorporate the Pima and the Maricopa’s use of indigenous ingredients and techniques. The Sacred Salt Wrap (Ongam Hobin), for example, employs oil made from creosote and some wraps and scrubs feature native herbs and local honey or mud.

Like many Phoenix & Scottsdale area resorts, the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa offers golf, pools and scenic views. From the resort’s lobby, a panoramic view of the rugged, rust colored Sierra Estrella Mountains greets you.

The rooms blend Southwestern style with such Native American touches as woven throws, pottery and baskets. We think the food at Ko’Sin, the main restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, is average and also moderately priced. But the Sheraton Wild Horse Resort offers another surprise with Kai, its signature restaurant that’s rated Five Stars by Forbes and Five Diamonds by AAA. Entrees include grilled buffalo, pecan crusted lamb, quail and sea bass.

Spring and summer are hot in the desert; uncomfortably so in Arizona. That’s why room rates plunge. If you’re looking for some special rest and recreation, stay indoors at the Wild Horse Spa Resort. Nurture yourself with a memorable spa treatment and nourish yourself with a delectable dinner.

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