Miraval plans to bring its distinct flavor and signature programming to a 500-acre historic estate in Somerset County, New Jersey, just an hour from New York City. The historic home was built in 1912 for a wealthy family, and was once owned by the King of Morocco. Miraval at Natirar is expected to open in 2014.
Miraval is following the model of Canyon Ranch, which started with a destination spa in Tucson and opened a second location in Lenox, Massachusetts to make visits more convenient for its East Coast clientele. The two spas have a different style. Canyon Ranch has a more serious medical program, and Miraval has more team-building and psychological challenges.
Natirar already has a celebrated farm-to-table restaurant called Ninety Acres, which opened in 2009 and is supplied in part by Natirar's own 12-acre farm. The gorgeous dining room is located in the property's original carriage house, with a culinary and a wine school. Natirar is Raritan spelled backwards. The Raritan is a major river of central New Jersey.
When complete, Miraval at Natirar will boast an 86-room luxury hotel with suites in Natirar's original mansion, a state-of-the-art 20,000 square foot spa, a 10,000 square foot wellness pavilion, a 4,000 square-foot yoga center, a restaurant featuring Miraval spa cuisine, and meeting facilities.
"We've always believed that the Miraval experience should not be limited to those who have the opportunity to visit the resort in Tucson, and have continuously looked for ways to bring the Miraval mindset and lifestyle to new people in new places," said Jean and Steve Case, owners of Miraval. "The Natirar estate is an opportune setting to create a new experience that is uniquely Miraval."
Miraval at Natirar will offer signature Miraval activities including The Miraval Equine Experience and Quantum Leap, nutritional counseling and wellness lectures, as well as spa treatments that reflect of the East Coast location.
According to a 2009 article in The Star Ledger, Somerset County purchased the 500-acre Natirar estate from the family of former King of Morrocco Hassan II in 2000 for $22 million. It signed a 99-year lease for 90 acres and the mansion with Warren-based developer Bob Wojtowicz and Virgin Airlines billionaire Richard Branson in 2003. The rest of the land is a county park with miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails.
Darryn Fitzgerald, senior account executive for Nike Communications, which represents Miraval, said details of the deal are still being worked out, but Branson is out of the picture. "By virtue of the partnership with Miraval, Steve Case will have a minority ownership position going forward," she says.