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Well Q&A: The Journey Forward with Jim Root at Mii Amo

In 2001, my husband, kids and I took a trip to Sedona, Arizona, where we stayed at the magnificent Enchantment Resort.  I was not yet working in the spa and wellness industry, but I was already a total “spa junkie.” A new destination spa called Mii Amo had just opened on the grounds of Enchantment so there was no doubt that booking spa services would be part of our vacation. (I’ll never forget that my husband booked a Watsu treatment because I had not heard of it.  Now, nineteen years later, I’ve experienced it in several countries, but he was the very first person I knew who tried it!)

I booked a much-needed massage and spent time in the Native-American inspired crystal cave. The magic and energy of Sedona, Mii Amo and its striking setting stay with me after all these years.  Today, Jim Root, General Manager of Mii Amo and Enchantment Group Director of Wellbeing, tells us more about how Mii Amo has come to be among the Top Rated Destination Spas in the U.S. according to Travel + Leisure Magazine.

Sallie: What gets you up in the morning?  
Jim: A sense of gratitude for the new day and an appreciation of what’s possible.

Sallie: You’ve worked at some of the top wellness resorts and destination spas in the world.  Please tell us what you’ve learned from your time at Rancho La Puerta, Green Valley Spa, Miraval, Meadwood and Sea Island (to name a few!).
Jim: I’ve learned that there is a spa experience for “every-body” and the diversity of spa settings, philosophy, delivery of experiences is something to be celebrated and collaborated on, not competed with. I’ve always advocated for “Spa Community” vs. the Spa Business or Industry.  

Sallie: What makes a wellness travel experience great?  
Jim: Arriving without expectation, opening your mind to release and your heart to receive all that’s there for you and then remembering to bring that simple practice home with you.  At Mii amo, we focus on “Wellbeing” as a personal perspective of the right combination of ingredients that make up a guest’s experience/practice/wellbeing.

Sallie: Congrats! You are General Manager of one of the Top Destination Spas in the US according to Travel & Leisure Magazine.  
Jim: Thank you, and I’m delighted that I’m about to begin my fourth year here!

Sallie: Why do you think Mii Amo won this award? Mii amo has been acknowledged four times, twice in the last three years by Travel + Leisure. 
Jim: We are one of very few Destination Spas in their Hall of Fame. It’s because of the emotional experiences and memorable moments that our team across every department co-creates with our guests.

We don’t try to assess or fix you, but rather offer ourselves and this very special Canyon (Boynton Canyon where we are located) as a resource for you along your continuing Journey.

Sallie: Tell us three things that very few people know about Mii Amo.  
Jim: (1) Even after 20 years, most folks still think Mii amo means something like “My love” when actually it is “Path or Journey Forward” in a local Native American dialect.

(2) Very few people know that you can clearly hear Native American flute music under water in the pool.  It’s a mesmerizing experience.  

(3) The design intention of Mii amo is to blend into the majesty of the Canyon versus competing with it.  The simple lines, colors, textures and materials of Mii Amo evoke that vision.

Sallie: So many of us are seeking balance now and looking for tips to reduce our stress and balance our immunity.  What are some of the most effective “wellness tips” you’ve learned? 
Jim: A well-being practice I use and share is the 1 B and 4C’s…Everything begins (and ends) with breath; a deep, balanced breath that immediately brings a beginning sense of Calm, regardless of the situation.

Calmness starts to quiet the mind and a sense of Clarity forms that I do have options and that I’m not stuck. Clarity supports Confidence that I do have these options and I will do what is called for. Finally, Confidence brings Courage and the strength that now I will act to move in the appropriate directions.

The 1 B and 4 C’s can be an in the moment as a “quick fix” with an unexpected situation or as part of a deeper and longer practice and anything in between.

Sallie: We began with “what gets you up in the morning,” so it’s only fitting that we end with what keeps you up at night? 
Jim: Nothing really keeps me up.  I embrace that tomorrow will be a new day filled with opportunities to make a difference and deal with whatever presents itself. Besides, 1 B and 4 C’s is always there as needed!

Meet Jim Root, General Manager of Mii Amo and Enchantment Group Director of Wellbeing

Jim is a passionate and often-quoted voice for Spa and Wellbeing as a personal lifestyle, a multi-billion-dollar international industry and a community of possibilities.

As the Enchantment Group Director of Wellbeing and General Manager of Mii amo, he stewards the concept and focus for the companies various spa offerings including The Tides Inn in Irvington, Virginia and in the Bahamas at The Cove Eleuthera as well as daily leadership of the company’s flagship and award-winning Mii amo Destination Spa in Sedona, Arizona.

Mii amo has been consistently acknowledged for operational excellence and co-creating transformative experiences for guests since opening in 2001. Under Jim’s leadership, Mii amo has returned to the top of many consumer “Best List’s” and Industry Acknowledgments.

Jim’s 43-year hospitality career has included leadership roles at prestigious and industry leading properties including Rancho La Puerta, Miraval, Meadowood Napa Valley, Sea Island Company and the iconic Glen Ivy Hot Springs.

 A strategic, hands-on executive specializing in refocusing organizations by reconnecting to the core vision, recovering mission, centering the brand, stabilizing operations, nurturing the team and together delivering memorable and emotional experiences that establish new benchmarks of operational and organizational expectations. Jim has been consistently recognized for elevating team engagement and performance in exceeding service expectations for guests, fellow teammates and the community alike.

As a Past Chairman of the International Spa Association Jim continues to be an active and engaged member of ISPA and received the Association’s Dedicated Contributor Award in 2014. He is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

Jim is invested in Spa and Wellbeing as more than just a business or industry but as an integrated community of possibility and a personal lifestyle.

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