As my plane touched down in Tucson last Thursday for my long weekend at Canyon Ranch, I couldn’t help but feel the same. I, too, was coming in hot.. speeding through time and coming to a skidding halt, fumes leaping from my tired body.
After a particularly challenging week, I looked ahead, somewhat trepidatiously, to a long weekend of health and wellness at the renowned Canyon Ranch just outside of Tucson. As my short workweek came to an abrupt end on Wednesday night, I stared at my empty suitcase. And with the weight of my busy life on my mind, I wondered honestly if I really had time to go. Then, a tiny voice in my head piped up and answered, but you don’t have time NOT to go!
(Don’t you hate it when the little voice is right?)
Parenting, growing a business, volunteering, being a friend, wife, and daughter. Many of my friends lead the same lives. We are BUSY with no TIME for ourselves. There is a new trend towards detox types of vacations, whether it’s a reprieve from technology, typical vices, or just life in general. After a long weekend just outside of Tucson, I can say without a doubt that there is no better place for this than Canyon Ranch!
Canyon Ranch is an integrated health and wellness resort, focusing on the entire self- the physical body, the mind, the spirit. They staff physicians, therapists, nutritionists, exercise physiologists, and trainers, all whom are there to look after you and your goals, as much or as little as you need them to. The natural setting of the Sonoran desert just outside of Tucson is gorgeous! There is nothing like hiking and biking through the cactus forests and stunning canyons.
All food and most activities are included in the rates.. The two dining venues feature delicious, nutritious food with the nutritional content listed by each item. There is even a snack and coffee bar so you can pop by anytime for a smoothie or a quick snack, such as homemade trail mix or hummus wrap!
The activities are numerous, and you will never be bored at Canyon Ranch! Cardio, strength, dance, yoga, stretch, mind-body, aquatic.. literally something for everyone at every different level from beginner to advanced. You may start the day with a hike, then attend a “lunch & learn demo” for a healthy and fun lunch, and wind down the afternoon with a stretching class and a massage at the spa.
Everyone at Canyon Ranch wants their guests to relax and focus on their own goals. It is their wish for each guest to be able to take home the tools they learned at Canyon Ranch and continue their healthy journey long after they have departed Tucson. In fact, this is why you will consult with a program advisor either by phone before your visit, or (like me) immediately upon arrival.
A Canyon Ranch driver met me at the airport and transferred me approximately 45 minutes out to the resort. Upon check-in, every guest receives a black tote and a logo water bottle, and yes, everyone carries these everywhere. After leaving my bags in my well-appointed room, I immediately headed over to program advising. Clutching my weekly activity brochure, I went over my goals and what I had highlighted as things I was interested in. My advisor was able to guide me into balancing my stay (“are you sure you want to try FOUR cardio/strength classes in one day??”) and provide more details on the hikes and bike rides. I truly wish I had a week here- I wanted to try everything!!
I ultimately decided to spend my first afternoon at the spa. And so, after a much-needed massage and facial, I felt like a new woman, refreshed and ready to begin my weekend.
7:30am – Dr. Nicola Finley MD, one of the resort’s on-staff physicians who joined the ranch three years ago after 15 in private practice, led a breakfast seminar on the importance of overall wellness and how that impacts our everyday lives. While holding a lively discussion of the components of wellness and how Canyon Ranch can address those for each guest, we enjoyed a healthy breakfast.
10:00am – Fierce! Tabata Workout was my choice for mid-morning. It’s fun to try different things that you may not have the opportunity to at home! They put me through my paces with the fast-paced interval workout, and I headed to the Double U cafe afterwards for a fresh green smoothie (spinach, kale, mango) to refuel.
12:30pm – After some downtime in my room, I headed back to the Double-U for lunch, opting for a tomato artichoke romano salad with a side of shredded salmon. Perfect fuel for..
2:00pm – Buff Booty! With a name like buff booty, this was a class I couldn’t pass up. I am pretty sure, hundreds of squats and leg lifts later, it had achieved its desired purpose.
2:45pm – Bike Ride: Saguaro Sunglow. After being fitted for bikes, helmets, and given a little healthy snack to pack on our bike, we headed about 20 minutes away by van to the Saguaro National Park for an absolutely gorgeous and invigorating 8-mile bike ride. Through the cactus forest and up and over hills, it was heaven to breathe in the fresh desert air while continuing to exert my tired body.
7:00pm – For dinner I chose blistered shishito peppers with chicken, roasted cauliflower, and walnut quinoa salad. My muscles were happy, my belly was happy, my soul was happy today. A fantastic first full day at Canyon Ranch!!
7:00am – The chill of the desert winter nipped at me as I made my way through the cacti-landscaped resort grounds from my room over to the Double U cafe for breakfast. The winter mornings may start out chilly, but give way to bright and sunny 60 degree days. Dressing in layers is essential! I wolfed a quick Greek yogurt topped with homemade granola and a black coffee with almond milk to fuel up for my morning hike.
7:30am – A group of about nine of us gathered in the spa lobby (nerve central for activities here!) for the Level 4 morning hike to Esperero. The ranch prepared each of us a backpack to take that included water and a healthy snack. Esperero is a challenging route in the Sabino Canyon, the trailhead just 10 minutes from Canyon Ranch. After a van dropped us off at Sabino, we hiked.. meandering through cacti and over rocks, climbing a total of 2,000 feet by the time we reached our halfway and highest point of the out-and-back trail. Legs screaming for mercy, we paused to lap up our thoughtfully prepared snack of yogurt, roasted pumpkin and cranberry crunch, blueberry bar, and banana. Then.. back to the start.
12:30pm – We were back at Canyon Ranch and scarfing lunch like we’d never eaten before. Grass-fed lean burger and a side salad perfectly satiated me.
2:00pm – While I was dying to try Zumba, my tired quads won out- selecting instead a “muscle relief” class, which including time stretching with a foam roller. The tiny voice in my head won again- it was much-needed.
3:00pm – Nosh with the Nutrionist: I attended a fun little “snack & learn” presentation by a resort nutritionist on healthy snacking, followed, naturally, by some sampling. Green smoothies and almond butter delight, mmmm!!!
My muscles screamed at me for rest. I was the happiest kind of sore. And I had spent most of the day outside. And eaten super healthy and delicious food. At this point, my Canyon Ranch day could not have been more perfect!!
6:00pm – Dinner was a healthy crab cake with poached egg, and a small homemade (healthy, natch) vanilla ice-cream for dessert. Conversation with new friends flowed, and I felt completely refreshed.
I headed home in the morning, excited to see my family and feeling re-energized to jump back into my daily life.
Don’t we ALL need a reboot? Busy days, being pulled in a million directions.. especially my mom friends.. I understand how you feel at the end of the day after giving so much to everyone else, there is so little left for yourself. I highly encourage you, and anyone in need of a healthy getaway, to check out Canyon Ranch.
It is for- couples, groups, singles.. I saw each of these types of guests here over the weekend. There was the man from Australia on my Esperero hike, a Canyon Ranch guest for the past 30 years!!! (Almost 70% of their guests are repeat.) There was the uber-fit couple in their 50s or 60s I saw frequently working out and on my bike ride. There was the group of three girlfriends from all over the US on a girls trip, who were also on my hike. There was the single girl from Pennsylvania, looking to recharge. (There is even a “captain’s table” in the dining room for singles to join if they wish to dine communally!)
Canyon Ranch generally has a 4-night minimum stay and something for everyone- including specific programming towards goals such as weight loss, spiritual wellness, etc. If you are inclined the visit the northeast US, Canyon Ranch has a resort in Lenox, Massachusetts as well. Feel free to fill out my form under the tab “set sail” for more info or if you’d like to enjoy a Canyon Ranch retreat yourself! I PROMISE you will feel recharged, healthy, and ready to tackle life again.
Finally, guests of Haute Holidays enjoy the following complimentary perks at Canyon Ranch:
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availablity
- Daily Full breakfast, served in restaurant (All meals included in rates)
- An additional $155 allowance towards spa, sports and integrative wellness services per stay
- Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
PLUS Virtuoso guests staying in Tucson or Lenox on a full rate package will receive the following additional allowance to enjoy spa, sports and integrative wellness services:
- 5 and 6 nights receive an additional $300 service allowance + the $50 Health & Wellness allowance as noted above = $350 total additional allowance
- 7+ nights receive an additional $450 allowance +the $50 Health & Wellness allowance as noted above = $500 total additional allowance