15 things to know about staying at Hyatt’s brand-new Miraval Berkshires
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Instead of flying to the Greek islands or jet setting to Asia, this summer — and, more generally, this year — is about safe and responsible domestic travel.
That’s why I was so excited to learn that a brand-new Miraval resort was opening in the Berkshires. This adults-only well-being oasis is just a short drive away from many metropolitan centers in the Northeast, making it an especially convenient option for a quick getaway.
And that’s exactly what I did. My fiancée and I checked in exactly three weeks after opening day, and what follows are 15 impressions from my stay.
For now, it’s a fantastic redemption
For those not familiar, Miraval is a collection of resorts and spas that belong to Hyatt. The brand now has three properties — a flagship in Tuscon, Arizona, a newly-opened outpost in Austin and now one in Lenox, Massachusetts.
Unlike most other Hyatt properties, Miraval Resorts are billed as wellness centers with food, non-alcoholic drinks and many activities included with your stay. As such, Miraval isn’t assigned a category within the World of Hyatt award chart. Instead, free nights cost 45,000 points for one guest per night. A second adult can be added for an additional 20,000 points per night.
At 65,000 points per night for double occupancy, rates are steep. (Paid rates are too; most start at $1,000++ a night.)
But right now, there are some lucrative promotions that make for a fantastic redemption. Through the end of the year, Hyatt’s offering buy one night, get one free for all Miraval award stays. On top of that, through Oct. 8, World of Hyatt members and cardholders can get up to 25% of redeemed points rebated back after the stay. Plus, award redemptions also include a nightly $175 resort credit too.
Short on Hyatt points? You can easily transfer some instantly from Chase Ultimate Rewards at a 1:1 ratio, which means holding Chase cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve allow you to earn points which can be transferred to your World of Hyatt account to use for stays. The Sapphire Preferred is offering a 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening.
Another option to consider is the World of Hyatt Credit Card, which is offering a sign-up bonus of 30,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 more Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spend on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening.
Safety is truly the number one priority
Miraval and Hyatt aren’t taking any chances with safety — and that showed during my recent stay.
Masks are required in all indoor public spaces, and thankfully every guest (and staff member) I saw abided by the policy. Additionally, there were hand sanitizer stations available at every corner.
The cleaning staff was great about constantly sanitizing high-touch surfaces like door handles. Indoor and outdoor dining tables were blocked off for social distancing, and rooms were only cleaned on request.
Plus, since the property is quite spread out, I rarely got within six feet of anyone — indoors or outdoors!
You’ll get your steps in
At 380 acres, the first thing you’ll notice about the property is that it’s massive. Individual two-story cottages are home to just a few rooms each, and each cottage is spread throughout the property.
There are plenty of outdoor sidewalks and walking paths connecting each of the cottages with the main public areas. But everything is also connected indoors too. That’s great for the winter when it’ll likely be too cold to spend time outdoors.
Almost everything is included
When you book a Miraval stay, almost everything is included, whether you’re paying cash or redeeming points. This includes all meals in the Harvest Moon restaurant. In addition, the Roost Cafe offers a selection of pastries, healthy snacks and an assortment of wellness drinks (think: coconut water and kombucha) for free.
You’ll only need to pay for liquor, spa services and some activities.
Every guest receives a tote bag and reusable water bottle at check-in, which doubles as a great memento from your stay.
The activities are excellent
Every Miraval property offers a wide range of activities, including fitness and meditation classes, cooking and cocktail demonstrations, outdoor adventures like ropes courses, archery, beekeeping lessons, nutrition lectures and more.
Most of the activities are free, though some are chargeable.
We thoroughly enjoyed all of our activities, but the two highlights were Cocktails in the Kitchen with Chef Adrian and the Falcon Ropes Course with James.
The property is gorgeous
Speaking of the property, it’s quite picturesque.
You’ll find trees and beautifully manicured lawn at every turn. Since the Miraval is set atop a hill, you’ll also have unobstructed views of the nearby mountain ranges.
The central area of the hotel houses the Harvest Moon restaurant, Life in Balance Spa, outdoor pool, Body Mindfulness Center (i.e. the gym), resort shop and Roost Cafe.
The arrival cottage where check-in and activity planning is conducted is located just as you enter the property.
Across the street from the hotel is the golf pro shop, driving range and main outdoor activity center with a ropes course, archery court, apiary, pottery classrooms and more. You can either walk across the street or take the shared resort transportation.
And the rooms are great, too
The hotel was designed by legendary interior designer Clodagh, and I really liked the vibes. The design blended well with the bucolic surroundings.
Our Miraval king suite was located in Cottage 19, far away from the resort’s central artery.
As you entered the suite, there was a sealed sticker indicating that the room hadn’t been touched since housekeeping sanitized it.
There was a small living room at the entrance with an L-shaped sofa and large TV, which led to the hallway and bedroom.
Along the hallway were two closets with a safe, fridge, coffee machine and refrigerator.
The double-vanity bathroom featured a gorgeous walk-in shower (with six water jets), a freestanding tub and a separate toilet. Toiletries were in large, reusable containers — perhaps one of the biggest health hazards for a COVID-era stay.
The sparsely-furnished bedroom had just a king-sized bed, chair and television and a small veranda with two chairs overlooking nearby mountains.
The beds are what dreams are made of
The highlight of the suite was most definitely the plush bed.
It was easily one of the most comfortable I’ve ever tried. Seriously, if you visit this hotel, I’ll bet that you’ll have one of the best nights of sleep in your life.
Pack your patience
Visiting a newly-opened hotel is risky. Sure, you’re going to be one of the first to experience the property, but you’ll also have to face possible service issues during your stay. There are inevitably kinks that need to be worked out, and the Miraval Berkshires was no exception.
Throughout our stay, there were quite a few service failures. Fortunately, we went in knowing what to expect (other TPGers visited the property before us) but had we paid top dollar, I would’ve definitely been frustrated.
My pre-arrival booking and activity planning process was nothing short of a phone-tree disaster. Admittedly, I was booking a complex reservation with a new promotion, but it took hours to get everything sorted out. And then, Miraval asks that you pre-book activities before arrival. That process also took hours — both to pick out my desired activities and to get a representative to actually book them for us. Also, note that you can’t book Miraval awards directly with Hyatt customer service.
But back to the property.
Check-in and checkout both took much longer than they should’ve.
Food service was all over the place. Each time we sat down, we’d be asked what we wanted to drink. And most times, it took a few reminders to get those drinks.
Additionally, we heard from a nearby table that there were lunch specials (in addition to the daily rotating buffet). Our server never once proactively offered the specials, and each time we needed to inquire what they were. Food prep times were also wildly inconsistent. Some days it took a few minutes for entrees to arrive, others it took 30 minutes or more.
The service mishaps continued throughout the stay. Activities weren’t in the places that they were supposed to be, and no one communicated changes to us.
The list goes on, but what’s important is to pack your patience and set your expectations. It’ll take some time for the hotel to iron out these kinks.
And pack a bathing suit
In addition to packing your patience, don’t forget a bathing suit.
The main resort pool is open and had plenty of chaise loungers for relaxation.
There’s also an indoor Olympic-sized pool available by reservation only.
The spa also has an indoor/outdoor pool, whirlpool, sauna and steam room, but all are currently closed due to COVID.
Prep your stomach
Though the food took forever to arrive, everything we tried was fantastic.
Breakfast and dinner were a la carte, and lunch featured a rotating buffet and three a la carte specials.
All meals were served in the Harvest Moon restaurant, which features both indoor and outdoor seating. Portions were quite small, so make sure to order a lot.
Some of our favorite dishes were the shishito peppers, homemade veggie burger, striped bass filet, all the tasty and fresh salads and the delectable (and healthy) desserts.
The food was most definitely a highlight. I just wish that the breakfast and dinner menu changed throughout our four-night stay.
The gym’s amazing
As you’d expect for a wellness resort, the gym is a highlight.
There were plenty of brand-new treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, weight machines and free weights. Due to the coronavirus, many machines weren’t available, but at least those that were functioning were always spotless and separated from others.
The gym also has two large multipurpose rooms and a pilates studio for those participating in some of the yoga, spinning or stretching classes offered.
As is the spa
It’s not just the gym that’s amazing. The spa is too.
Unfortunately, most of the spa is currently closed due to the pandemic. Treatments in one of the spa’s 28 rooms are still available, but the public facilities are temporarily shuttered.
When it reopens, the spa will be a great place to relax.
There’s another Hyatt hotel on the property
The Wyndhurst is category six property with free nights starting at 25,000 points per night. It features 11 rooms in the historic Cranwell Mansion, as well as 36 rooms and suites spread across a few cottages. There’s a family-friendly outdoor pool, golf course and fitness center available to Wyndhurst guests.
Drive your own car
In addition the hotel property, there’s tons to do nearby. The hotel offers a shuttle service, but we used our own car to get around.
This allowed us to hike on our schedule and go off property for dinner. Towns like Lenox and Great Barrington are just a few minutes away, and I’d highly recommend checking them out during your stay.
But if you don’t have access to a car, the hotel offers shuttles to the Bradley International Airport, as well as nearby Amtrak train stations by request.
If you’re located nearby, I’d highly recommend a stay at the Miraval Berkshires — especially with the ongoing points promotions.
Though it’s far from perfect, it’s a great getaway for those who need some rest and relaxation amidst the craziness that is 2020.
All photos by Zach Griff/The Points Guy
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