Hyatt’s Miraval Berkshires Wellness Resort. Bottom Line Review

5

Readers may remember that I had hoped to visit Miraval Berkshires, but it didn’t work out (see: Miraval Berkshires Resort. My failed attempt to double-dip deals).  Fortunately a member of the Frequent Miler Insider’s group, May May Hu, did go and wrote up a complete review of her experience.  With her permission, I’ve posted her review here, but I’ve taken the liberty of summarizing key findings at the top to keep this consistent with our other Bottom Line Reviews.

Everything that follows (except a few italicized inserts by me, Greg) is in May May’s words

Miraval Berkshires Wellness Resort. Bottom Line Review

Bottom Line: Great stay, food and service, interesting activities, we will definitely return.

What I liked most: I appreciated the variety in the activity/class schedule as it provided options to guests at different skill levels. Even during classes, several instructors made it a point to tell us to try our best if they noticed we were struggling and couldn’t keep up with the movements/exercises.

What I liked least: The combination of Miraval and Wyndhurst on the grounds took away from the serenity of the stay. When classes were held outdoors next to the Millhouse/BMC buildings, we would see golf carts driving around to the first hole or families walking past.

  • Points Price: Standard rate is 65,000 points per night for two adults (During Hyatt’s BOGO promo, you can get two nights for the same price).  May May, though, booked a points + cash rate for a King room: 32,500 points plus $166 per night.
  • Point Value: Good.  The point price is very high for a Hyatt, but cash prices are usually extremely high and include hefty resort fees (which you do not pay when paying points). The Hyatt BOGO deal makes the point value fantastic.
  • On-Site Dining: Breakfast was the best meal of the day – the chefs prepared our eggs perfectly and the dishes were portioned well. Lunch was good since it was buffet style and we could try a little bit of everything, but it wasn’t particularly memorable. Dinner was probably our least favorite meal.
  • Service: Excellent
  • Resort fee: None when booking with points.
  • Hyatt Elite benefits: My Globalist gift was a bottle of wine, a small box of chocolates and a card

Miraval Berkshires Booking

My friend and I were looking to take a long weekend for a girls’ getaway. I was itching to take a trip after multiple COVID-cancelled trips throughout 2020 and this seemed like a good vacation option. My friend had already visited the other two Miraval properties and I had accompanied her to Miraval Austin in 2019 so we were very excited to try this brand new property.  I emailed my Hyatt concierge to search for award availability after I read several reviews online about the long telephone hold times. The concierge was unable to find availability for my original preferred dates (we only wanted to stay 2 nights) under the current Miraval BOGO promotion but informed me that there was both an all-points option and a Cash and Points option available for a King Guestroom, both with a minimum booking of 3 nights. I booked 3 nights for 2 guests at 32,500 points plus $166 per night, for a total of 97,500 points and $498. With the current 25% award rebate promotion for World of Hyatt Visa card holders, I’m expecting to be credited 24,375 points at some point in the future. Also, since I didn’t book the Miraval BOGO promotion, we each had $175 of resort credit per night (a total of $525 per person) to use during our trip. I didn‘t want to take my chances on suite availability upon arrival so I applied a suite upgrade award to my reservation.

After the reservation was confirmed, we did our research on pre-booking activities at the resort. Most food, drinks and activities were included in the room cost. The items that required an additional fee were alcohol, spa services, a handful of activities/classes per category, and private sessions. The activity schedule is set on a monthly basis so we were able to download the schedule for the dates we would be there and look at what was available. Once we narrowed down our activity list, I called the Miraval Experience Planning number to book our activities and spa treatments. Not everything was available so we booked what we could and waitlisted some activities. The Experience Planner emailed our itineraries after the call and I adjusted our activity schedule several times over the following weeks over email.

Location / Property / Check In

It was an easy and scenic 3 hour drive from NYC to Lenox, MA, where Miraval Berkshires is located. Miraval Berkshires Resort and Spa and the Wyndhurst Manor and Club share the same property. All buildings on the Miraval portion of the property are connected through a series of covered walkways, which were valuable when morning temperatures were in the low 30’s during our stay. The Wyndhurst buildings are scattered around the central Miraval buildings. Valet parking is offered at the hotel (I forgot to ask if we could self-park).
At check in, I was thanked for my loyalty as a Hyatt Globalist. We were offered the choice of a Miraval branded tote bag or sling bag and were given a printout of our activity schedules. The front desk agent went through the check in process and had us sign a form confirming that we understood the Miraval digital device policy.

The guest relations manager came out to greet us after we completed our check in. She handed me a tote bag (my Globalist gift – in the bag was a bottle of wine, a small box of chocolates and a card) and gave us a tour of the property’s common areas. She then showed us two suites so we could choose which one we preferred.

Miraval Berkshires Room

We were first shown a Miraval Suite Queen, room 1700. Located on the ground floor of the building, there was a door to the bedroom and a small outdoor patio seating area outside the living room. The bathroom had two sinks, a bathtub and separate shower. The room was decorated very nicely and the bones of the room retained the character of the previous resort (in other words, NOT renovated).

Room 1700 was a bit too dark for my personal preference so we ultimately selected the second room we were shown: Junior Suite Queen, Room 2123

Our top floor (there are only 3 floors) corner room had a view of the Millhouse and parking lot, but also had an amazing view of the mountains past the parking lot. There was bench seating under one of the windows in the room, along with a small round table and a chair. There was also a small alcove on the side of the room with a television and two chairs. The closet held 2 robes, 2 pairs of slippers, a safe and a mini fridge.

The bathroom had 2 sinks, a bathtub/shower combo, and bath products are in refillable bottles mounted on the wall. Due to us being on the top floor of the building, the sloped ceiling in the bathtub area restricted the shower curtain from fully extending to the end of the bathtub.

The location of the room was absolutely perfect. We were located in between the two buildings where most of our fitness/yoga classes took place (BMC and Millhouse) and were a short walk to the Harvest Moon restaurant, the Roost Cafe/Bar and the Life in Balance spa.

The beds had extremely fluffy pillows, a fluffy comforter and a pillow top mattress with a decent firmness under the pillow top. The bed was comfortable to sleep in, if not a bit hot from the comforter, but the pillows flattened too much after I put my head down.

Miraval Berkshires Food and Drink

Breakfast Menu

All three meals are served in the Harvest Moon restaurant and they offer indoor and outdoor seating. Breakfast and dinner are a la carte (the menu didn’t change while we were there) and lunch is buffet style where servers will put the food you select on your plate. Lunch and dinner offer daily specials and there is a separate dessert menu at lunch. You can order alcohol during meals and it will be charged to your room. Servers always informed us of the specials once we were seated, would come by regularly to check on us during the meal and offer refills on drinks if they noticed we were running low.

Dinner Menu

Breakfast was the best meal of the day – the chefs prepared our eggs perfectly and the dishes were portioned well. Lunch was good since it was buffet style and we could try a little bit of everything, but it wasn’t particularly memorable. Dinner was probably our least favorite meal – of the entrees, we had a variation of the steak and the salmon at our “Just Cook for Me” dinner so didn’t want to order it again, and the remaining entrees didn’t interest us. We did order almost every item on the appetizer list one night for dinner and enjoyed all but one dish. We sampled half of the desserts and froyo/ice cream options throughout our stay and they were all pretty good.

We ordered room service one night and the food was delivered in less than an hour in the cutest picnic baskets! Each dish is placed in a cardboard container and napkins, utensils and condiments are placed in the basket. One thing to note – there is a room service charge, I think it’s $15 plus tax.

The Roost Cafe offers grab and go meals, snacks, coffee, juices and smoothies all day. We would stop by there throughout the day for coffee, juices and smoothies between activities and grab snacks and treats (hummus, yogurt, fruits, cookies, etc.) throughout the day. We didn’t get a chance to try any of the breakfast and lunch grab and go options as we ate lunch in the restaurant throughout our stay.

The Roost Bar opens at 2 pm daily and they had menu with a short cocktail list and wine list. On our last night, we decided to stop by the bar for a drink. The bartender was super friendly and offered to make a “bartender’s choice” cocktail for me since none of the menu options drew my interest. I was very happy with the drink he made for me and wish we hadn’t stopped by so late as I definitely would have ordered a second round.

Miraval Berkshires Activities

We pre-booked several complimentary fitness and yoga classes and hikes for our stay. As some were unavailable when we pre-booked, we sat with an experience planner after we checked in to ask about availability for some of the classes we wanted and she was able to adjust our schedule to book those classes. We visited with an experience planner daily as we would cancel and rebook activities based on how we were feeling that morning. You can also call experience planning from your room but we had to route our call through the front desk as our phone was acting up the day we used that option. One thing to note – there is a cancellation fee if you cancel an activity less than 4 hours before a class is supposed to start.

Activities we booked: Cardio drumming, stretch and relax, Zen bootcamp, kickboxing, qigong, several yoga classes and a hike. We enjoyed all the activities we booked and the activity instructors/guides for the most part acknowledged that guests would be at varying levels of proficiency for certain activities so just asked us to do our best. The instructors would make a point about mindfulness with each activity but I didn’t feel like it overshadowed the activity itself.

To utilize our resort credits, we booked a culinary experience, an outdoor adventure activity and several spa treatments.

Hatchet throwing

This activity is held in the outdoor activity area on the other side of Lee Road. Even though it is technically walkable from the resort, you have to wait for a van to pick you up. The activity was limited to a maximum of 8 people. The instructor started the activity with skill-based training and ended with mindfulness/intention messaging. We really enjoyed this activity and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

Just Cook for Me

Just Cook for Me First Course

This meal takes place in the Life in Balance Kitchen area where they hold the culinary classes. The meal consists of a 4-course menu with wine pairings. We only had 8 guests during our seating and were placed at 4 large tables of 2 guests per table. The food was good and the chef made the rounds to chat with all the guests. Even though part of the experience is watching the team prepare our meals in the kitchen in front of us, the food didn’t taste that different from the food offered in the Harvest Moon Restaurant. So although we enjoyed the experience, we wouldn’t choose this in the future.

Just Cook for Me Second Course: Salmon
Just Cook for Me Third Course: Steak
Just Cook for Me Dessert

Massage

I booked the Deep Mountain Massage on two separate days with different technicians. Due to differences in massage technique, I enjoyed one of the treatments more than the other. I can’t speak to the spa amenities as they were closed when I visited.

The indoor lap pool has three lanes and you need to book a 1 hour reservation to utilize it but we didn’t see it used at all during our stay. We didn’t use the outdoor pool because the temperatures dropped during our stay. We did, however, sit by the pool when we had some down time between activities. There were plenty of tables, lounge seating areas and pool loungers to use in the pool area and it was easy to distance from other guests.

COVID-19 Considerations at Miraval Berkshires

There were hand sanitizers placed in all common spaces and all staff wore masks correctly. We saw staff wiping down door handles and other high touch surfaces.

The Miraval bag you receive at check-in includes a pocket-sized hand sanitizer.

Excerpt from the welcome letter in our guest room:

To ensure limited room access from our colleagues, we are practicing an “opt in” protocol for housekeeping services to limit exposure in guest rooms. Your room will be serviced every 5 days unless you contact the desk and “opt in” for service or towels if needed.”

Harvest Moon Restaurant

Guests’ hands are sprayed with hand sanitizer at the entrance by the hostess before bringing you to your table. Tables are spaced out with signs on alternating tables stating that the table is intentionally vacant to promote physical distancing. I noticed immediate cleaning of tables in the restaurant once guests finished their meals.

Activities

You can remove your mask for outdoor activities as long as participants are spaced 6 feet apart. Indoor activities require a mask to be worn throughout (this was tough for the fitness classes). Indoor fitness and yoga classes have a maximum class size of 8 and some rooms have social distancing boxes taped to the floor. Some outdoor activities (hikes, any activities located on the other side of Lee Road/Route 20) require you to ride in a van to the destination. No social distancing is possible as all seats are filled if the activity is fully booked.

Life in Balance Spa: Excerpt from the welcome letter in our guest room: “All saunas, steam rooms and Jacuzzis are closed and locker rooms are available with limited service. We highly recommend to show up for any spa services in your robe due to the limited changing facility.”  For massage treatments, both the massage therapist and guest need to wash hands once entering the treatment room. The massage therapist wears a mask and gloves throughout the treatment and the guest is given a disposable mask to wear during the face-up portion of the massage.

Check Out

A letter was left under the door on our last night with details on baggage pickup from our room the next morning. We inquired with the front desk on what we were supposed to do if we had activities planned after checkout time and we were informed that we could go to the front desk to have our key cards extended until 5 pm on checkout day to continue to take advantage of the activities and amenities. Luggage pickup was prompt on checkout day – our letter said pickup would be at 10:30 am and someone knocked on our door at exactly that time.

When I went to the front desk to review the final folio, I noticed that the folio is created for each guest, not for the room, since activities are booked by guest name. If you are a World of Hyatt member and the other guest is not, you should ask the front desk agent to transfer the other guest’s charges to your final folio so you will receive the credit for the room’s eligible spend.

Overall Impressions

One observation that my friend had about Miraval Berkshires being different from the other two locations was that the gender ratio was more male during the weekend portion of our trip (we checked in on Saturday) and changed to more female at the end of our trip (we checked out on Tuesday). This is most likely due to the golf course and driving range that is on Miraval/Wyndhurst property as we noticed it was very busy (lots of golf carts) when we explored the property on our check in day. We did see quite a few guests during our stay but at no point did it feel crowded or did we feel like we couldn’t properly social distance from others.

Every staff member we interacted with was professional, friendly and helpful. We were both happy with all aspects of our stay and are ready to plan a return trip, hopefully when the remaining spa amenities open.

I hope this review is helpful for those who are on the fence about booking here. It looks like they’ve resolved most of the issues from earlier reviews.

Thanks May May Hu for providing this in-depth review of the Miraval Berkshires! -Greg

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