Rendering courtesy of CIVANA
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Carefree Resort undergoing $40 million renovations


Tara Alatorre

CAREFREE – The Carefree Resort is getting a $40 million makeover, and will be reopening as a CIVANA branded sustainable wellness resort sometime this February, becoming the company’s flagship property.
By mid to late February CIVANA says the remodel will be near complete, with 198-rooms available, including two tranquility suites, new fitness studios, and a new healthy menu for the restaurant and cafe. The new menu is being vetted currently with a Ph.D. nutritionist to ensure everything on the menu is healthy, sustainable, and locally sourced where available.
The CIVANA group considers itself the future of wellness travel brands by offering an ala carte wellness destination model that makes it more affordable and accessible, said Rianna Riego, CIVANA’s Chief Brand and Wellness Officer, in a phone interview.
Riego explains that 21 million households seek a wellness-oriented leisure experience, but only 10 percent of these households can afford to stay at the established wellness resorts.
“That means there are 19 million people who are underserved,” she said while explaining CIVANA’s business model and mission. “That is really what we are offering, it is accessible wellness travel.”
At CIVANA, guests can stay for one night and have the option of adding on food and beverages, spa, or private fitness class options, while having access to a schedule of daily complimentary classes.
The resort was originally designed by Joe Wong in the early 1960s, who was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, and one of the premiere mid-century architects in Arizona, according to the resort’s website.
“What we are trying to do is return the language of the design back to its mid-century origins,” she said.
Renovations at the resort started this past August, and CIVANA has already renovated and reopened the lobby, restaurant, and 100 rooms. Currently they are in the process of gutting the Red Door Saloon that will become a spa café, as well as renovating a portion of the meeting rooms, ball rooms, and event space, which will eventually become fitness, yoga and spin studios, a café, plus a world class spa.
The resort is also revamping the landscaping, removing old, abandoned pool casitas and other unused outdoor space to create an open environment where guests can walk around the property taking in the mountain vistas.
“So it really becomes 23-acres of a park-like setting where you can walk around a campus and do your yoga in the yoga energy center, or go to the state-of the art fitness center, or go to the spa,” Riego said while explaining her excitement about CIVANA launching its flagship property in Carefree.
The grand opening will likely happen this upcoming October when the spa opens.
“We consider ourselves the next generation of wellness travel,” she said. “We are the future of wellness travel.”