Review: Miraval Berkshires

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The Miraval Berkshires had caught my attention since before it opened in July. Travel restrictions, Miraval’s BOGO promotion, and Hyatt’s 25% rebate for awards presented the ideal opportunity to visit this brand new property. As with any new property, I expected some hiccups and growing pains, but came out pleasantly surprised.

About Miraval

Miraval operates wellness resorts in Arizona (near Phoenix), Austin, and now the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. Hyatt acquired Miraval in 2017 and integrated the brand into its World of Hyatt program, making Miraval properties available for award redemptions through the World of Hyatt program and allowing members to earn points and elite night credits with stays.

Stays at Miraval resorts include all meals and many activities, such as yoga sessions, fitness classes, guided hikes, and ropes courses.

Stacking Miraval’s BOGO Promotion and Hyatt’s 25% Off Award Redemptions

Hyatt is offering a buy one get one free award sale at Miraval properties through the end of 2020. When using points for one night, guests receive a second night free. Reservations for this promotion must be made over the phone.

Award stays at Miraval properties include a $175 resort credit per person per night. This can be used towards activities and spa treatments, among other things. Under the BOGO promotion, however, the $175 credit is not available for the free nights.

In addition to the Miraval promotion, World of Hyatt is offering a 15% off award redemptions booked through January 4, 2021 (25% off for holders of the Chase World of Hyatt credit card). As a cardholder, my wife will have 25% of the points used for our stay credited back to her WoH account. The 25% off comes as a rebate, so you actually have to use those points first to then have them credited back to your WoH account.

Hyatt charges 45,000 points per night for a standard room at the Miraval. Each additional guest costs 20,000, since all meals are included with the stay. With the BOGO promotion, our six-night stay came to 195,000 Hyatt points, 25% of which will be credited back to my wife’s account. The final cost was 146,000 Hyatt points for two people for six nights.

Spending less than 25,000 Hyatt points per night at a Miraval property is an incredible deal. For context, many Park Hyatts cost 30,000 points per night with no meals included. A six-night cash stay for two people for our dates was going for $688 per night under their grand opening special. The standard rate was $898!

Stacking Hyatt promos for an even cheaper stay was easier than stacking rocks at Miraval's zen garden!

Booking our Stay

I booked by calling the Miraval general line (855.234.1672). Long wait times have been reported for booking with Miraval and my experience was similar, with a 15-20 minute wait time. I gave the friendly agent my dates and asked for award availability using Hyatt points. Once he confirmed availability, I mentioned the BOGO promotion, which he said I could use.

My wife had a lot of Hyatt points from signing up for the Chase World of Hyatt credit card earlier this year. For the remaining amount we needed, I transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards to her World of Hyatt account while on the phone with the Miraval agent. Chase transfers to Hyatt are nearly instantaneous. The agent and I each saw the points show up on the account within one minute of the transfer.

After booking our reservation, the agent suggested that we review the schedule of activities and call back to schedule our activities ahead of time. As a safety precaution, Miraval is limiting the number of groups in each activity to facilitate social distancing. He said that because of this, sessions were filling up sooner.

My wife and I called back to book our activity sessions a couple of days later. After that, we tweaked our schedule a couple of times via email, receiving responses within 24 hours.

Checking In

The property was easy to find and looked beautiful as we approached from the road. We arrived late in the afternoon and were the only ones checking in at that time. Check-in went smoothly. We were required to sign waivers relating to all the activities, wearing masks, and acknowledging Miraval’s electronic devices policy, which requires cell phones to be on silent mode at all times throughout the property. It was lovely to not hear cell phones ringing during our stay.

Upon check-in, guests receive a reusable water bottle and their choice of either a tote bag or a crossbody bag to carry throughout the property. My wife chose the tote and I opted for the crossbody bag. Both are of pretty good quality and were helpful to carry a few necessities throughout the day, such as sunscreen, sunglasses, and a light jacket.

The front desk attendant handed us a booklet with resort information and all of the activities, and highlighted a couple of important locations on the resort map. She also gave us our schedules of activities, and showed us where the resort’s experience planners are located. Experience planners are in charge of booking activities for guests.

The lounge area by the front desk, with decor that is reflected throughout the resort.

The Room

Miraval's 100 rooms are spread out among different cottages throughout the grounds. Each cottage is a standalone building with about 10 rooms each. Because of COVID-19, housekeeping places a sticker on the room door and door frame indicating that no one has entered that room since it was deep cleaned for guests’ arrival.

Our room was a standard king bed room on the first floor with a nice outdoor patio facing the mountains. The room was spacious and had plenty of closet space. I found it a bit too dark in the evenings, since it lacked overhead lighting.

The highlight of the room was the incredibly comfortable bed. I had read the hype surrounding Miraval beds and it lived up to its reputation. Laying down on this bed each night after a full day of activities felt amazing.

Now I understand why so many people rave about Miraval beds!

I was surprised to see bulk toiletries in the shower. This was disappointing for a high-end property and kind of odd in light of COVID-19.

Because of COVID-19, housekeeping is not coming by on a daily basis. However, guests can request housekeeping to come by as needed to remove trash, replenish towels, etc. This had not been explained to us at check-in, but would have been nice to know. Eventually we did learn that since we were staying six nights, housekeeping would do a deep clean of our room halfway through our stay.

Rooms are located in different cottages spread throughout the property. All cottages have indoor connections to the main buildings, so guests don't have to step outside.

The Grounds

The resort covers 380 acres and is split into two areas on opposite sides of a road. The main side of the property includes all of the accommodations, pools, the restaurant, and fitness center, and is where guests spend the vast majority of their time. The buildings in this area are all interconnected through a series of temperature-controlled pathways to help guests avoid rain and the cold New England winter. The decor throughout the property is elegant and very minimalist, bordering on austere. Some places like the snack bar are pretty cozy while others are less so, like the restaurant.

Relaxing by the pool was great even on days when it was too cold to jump in.

The other side of the property has the farm, driving range, and many of the outdoor activities, like the ropes course and hatchet throwing. Guests only access this side of the resort for scheduled activities.

As expected, the property smells brand new throughout. The fitness center was very spacious and allowed guests to keep large distances from each other while exercising. I never saw more than two other people at the gym at any time. In addition to the main outdoor pool, Miraval has a three-lane indoor lap pool that requires reservations. The outdoor pool was a nice place to relax in between activities even on days when it was too cold to swim outside. With fall beginning to arrive, fitness classes regularly took place outside near the pool during our stay.

The resort also shares part of the grounds with the Wyndhurst Manor & Club, which is a separate Hyatt property. Wyndhurst and Miraval share the same golf course and driving range, but Wyndhurst has separate restaurants and pools. Miraval guests can access the Wyndhurst restaurants, but those are not part of the Miraval all-inclusive package.

The Wyndhurst is a separate Hyatt property at the same location. A peak inside this Gilded Age mansion is well worth it.

Activities

Miraval offers a broad variety of activities, such as yoga sessions, fitness classes, cooking demonstrations and lessons, guided hikes, and outdoor experiences such as hatchet throwing, ziplining, and ropes courses. Most activities are free. Our $175 credit could be used towards any of the activities that cost money.

Some activities are offered more often than others. The current schedule is always available on Miraval’s website and in the booklet distributed at check-in.

Once at Miraval, you can also change your schedule by visiting the experience planners near the front desk, or by calling the front desk. Throughout our stay, we changed our schedule a few times both in person and over the phone. I only ever saw one experience planner on site at a time. It would have been nice to see at least two planners on site since it is pretty common for guests to want to add or drop activity sessions during their stays.

Guests are transported to many sessions via Miraval-branded vans that pick up at a designated location that is easy to find. The whole process is well-organized and ran smoothly throughout our stay.

Guests have many opportunities to interact with farm animals on property.

The one serious issue we had was when the guide for one of my wife’s farming activities didn’t know a session was scheduled for that time. A staff member noticed my wife waiting at the pick-up spot and when my wife said what she was waiting for, the staff member immediately radioed the guide. The guide showed up within a couple of minutes and was very apologetic.

Except for this one incident, you couldn’t tell the resort had only been open for two months. Sessions started on time, vans showed up when they had to, and guides/instructors made sure to wrap things up on time so folks could make it to their next sessions.

Between my wife and me, we experienced almost all of the activities Miraval had to offer. My wife did plenty of yoga, meditation, hiking, and fitness classes. I took the “adult summer camp” approach, with archery, hatchet throwing, ropes courses, ziplining, and paddleboarding. I did try one of the cooking classes as well. We split up for most of our activities, but did have some sessions together, like kayaking and visiting the property’s farm and barn, where we interacted with some of the farm animals. Many guests raved about the beekeeping session, but that didn’t fit our schedule, unfortunately.

We both enjoyed every single activity that we did. My favorites were hatchet-throwing, archery, and paddleboarding. The guides and instructors were fantastic and showed genuine interest in making sure guests were enjoying themselves.

While kayaking, we saw a bald eagle, geese, and a black bear, and about 20 turtles hatching on the shore when we came back.

Food

Harvest Moon is the restaurant on site, which offers farm-to-table breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Next to it is the Roost, which offers grab-and-go snacks throughout the day, as well as sandwiches and salads for folks who want a faster lunch. The Roost also offers coffees, tea, smoothies, and other beverages, as well as alcoholic beverages in the evenings. As an all-inclusive property, the only thing you have to pay for is alcohol.

Overall, the food at Harvest Moon was great. The restaurant has a fixed seasonal menu but offers different specials each day. Portions are small, so it’s common for guests to order multiple dishes. There was plenty of variety for each meal. As a wellness resort, there is a big focus on healthy eating, including plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. One of the culinary highlights were pastries and other sweet treats available at the Roost, especially the lemon bars and their home-made snickers bars.

Service at the restaurant was by far the weakest part of our entire stay. On multiple occasions our coffee orders arrived after our breakfast dishes. One morning, our coffee simply never came even after we ordered it again. We also had one dish never show up at breakfast. We noticed similar problems at other tables throughout our stay.

At dinner, if we didn’t order our appetizer, entree, dessert, and drinks in one go, servers would forget to come by and take additional orders. Our entrees arrived lukewarm a couple of nights as well, meaning they had been sitting ready for a while with no one to bring them to the table. The managers at the restaurant seemed unaware of these shortcomings and rarely stepped up to help in any way.

There is one possible explanation to the weak restaurant service. With the pandemic delaying Miraval’s opening significantly, we learned that the resort was late to hiring restaurant staff. Meanwhile, other resorts in the Berkshires had already reopened and hired or re-hired experienced servers, which limited Miraval’s hiring pool.

Whatever the reason, this level of restaurant service is disappointing for a high-end property charging over $800 per night. Here’s hoping the Miraval Berkshires improves its restaurant service soon. It would be unfortunate to have poor service distract from great food at an otherwise excellent property. As disappointing as the restaurant service was, the restaurant is not the resort’s main draw. It would have been a much more serious issue if the poor service had affected the experiences and activities Miraval is known for.

Final Thoughts

Overall, our stay at the Miraval Berkshires was great. The property is beautiful throughout and kept very clean. The resort offers a variety of activities and experiences, led by terrific instructors and guides. Despite having been open for only two months, the Mirval Berkshires operates well, especially with regards to activities and experiences. The resort’s only big weakness is the restaurant service, which is something that can and should be addressed quickly. Despite poor service, the food offered at the property is great.

The ongoing BOGO promotion and points rebate make staying at the Miraval Berkshires an outstanding deal. The extra 10% rebate for Chase World of Hyatt credit card holders (for a total of 25% back) make this even cheaper. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we extended our stay by two nights, again using the BOGO and rebate promotions. If you are looking for a place to unplug, relax, and enjoy the outdoors, the Miraval Berkshires is an excellent option.

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Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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