If our grandfather was the founder of a global beauty and spa dynasty, we'd spend endless days lazing around the sauna. There might even be palm fronds involved. So it seemed perfectly fitting to find Claire Courtin-Clarins, 24, at — where else? — a spa.
"I was expecting to see a barren desert," she says of first setting eyes upon Miraval in Tucson, Arizona. "Instead, it was this lush landscape filled with life and character." The resort and spa, nestled in the Sonoran Desert, has long been a favored destination for well-scrubbed heels, but thanks to a new partnership with the French cosmetics company and much-hyped renovations, Miraval's newly opened Life in Balance Spa with Clarins is abuzz.
Claire's uncle Dr. Olivier Courtin-Clarins, managing director of the beauty brand, helped develop the new spa menu. But that's not to say Claire and her famous relatives — her sister, Virginie, and cousins Jenna and Prisca (Olivier's daughters), all glamorous fixtures on the transatlantic social scene and genetic proof that beauty products are only part of the equation — didn't provide a sounding board. "As a family, Clarins' business is always a discussion," she explains.
"I love the Grounding Facial," she says of her favorite treatment. "The heat [of warm stones], combined with the Clarins massage techniques, allows the products to be absorbed more effectively. I felt like my face looked younger and more refreshed afterward." She's also a fan of the Naga body treatment, which draws from Thai massage traditions and is attracting rave reviews all around: "The therapist stands on these beautiful silks suspended from the ceiling that he wraps around parts of your body to pull you into these deep, graceful stretches. It feels like dancing together!"
Covetable treatments aside, patrons old and new will likely appreciate the aesthetic upgrades, too: The Mithun architects and Clodagh Design team incorporated glass, stone, water, and native plants like sage and wild lavender to create a space that blends seamlessly into the natural setting, complemented by the stunning backdrop of the Santa Catalina mountains. "As an artist, the landscape and architecture totally inspire me," says Claire, who is also a photographer but had the chance to get in front of the lens for this story. Personally, we couldn't be more inspired to book a facial.
"I love the idea of having a spa in the middle of the desert."
Dress, $1,954, shoes, $1,095, Michael Kors; earrings, $860, braided leather bracelet, $1,150, thin leather bracelet, $435, Hemès; silver bracelets, $195 each, Alexis Bittar; glove bracelet, $1,355, Erickson Beamon.
Jacket, $2,495, Donna Karan New York; bra, $690, briefs, $1,450, Herve Leger by Max Azria; shoes, $995, Christian Louboutin; gloves, $370, Lanvin; earrings, $860, cutout cuff, $1,800, solid cuff, price upon request, Hermès.
Hair: Michael Long at Frank Reps. Makeup: Robin Black at Frank Reps. Manicure: Miraval Spa.
White coat, price upon request, Chado Ralph Rucci; belt, $650, Giuseppe Zanotti Design; choker, $475, Mitchel Primrose; wide leather cuff, $1,000, leather cuff with silver rings, $610, Hermès.
Fur vest, $3,637, Michael Kors; pants, $990, Helmut Lang; belt, $895, Jean Paul Gaultier; clear bracelets, $395 each, silver cuff, $245, Alexis Bittar.
Top, $1,190, Zac Posen; choker, $550, Mitchel Primrose; spike earring, $1,188, Luis Morais; gold hoop earrings, Courtin-Clarins' own. On brows: Clarins Eyebrow Pencil in Dark Brown.
"The talented [team] who designed the spa did a magnificent job incorporating the elements of the natural surroundings."
Dress, price upon request, Yves Saint Laurent; harness, $1,400, Herve Leger by Max Azria; shoes, $1,095, Michael Kors; bracelets, prices upon request, Repossi.
Dress, $2,495, Proenza Schouler; harness, $1,350, Herve Leger by Max Azria. Earrings (worn throughout): Yellow-gold spike earring, $975, white-gold spike earring, $1,188, Luis Morais; ear cuff, $4,680, Repossi; gold hoop earrings, Courtin-Clarins' own. Rings (worn throughout): Knuckle ring, $5,840, Repossi; claw ring & black-stone ring, prices upon request, Stephen Webster; link ring, $2,695, Phillips Frankel; fan ring, $5,014, Deborah Pagani.
"It is funny that I spend hardly any time thinking about makeup or what I'm going to wear, but I tend to spend a lot of time prepping my skin for the day."
Fur coat, $5,000, Quentin Veron; snakeskin top, $2,990, shirt, $890, pants, $890, Reed Krakoff; shoes, $995, Steiger.