Whether you're looking for a relaxing vacation, to make healthy changes in your life or to do a bit of soul searching, Canyon Ranch is the place to go. I had the opportunity to visit the prestigious wellness retreat located in Lenox, Massachusetts with my best friend, Adrienne, and couldn't wait to get home and write a review. Now, home in NYC, I'm still glowing and trying my hardest to maintain the positive energy and healthy lifestyle I embraced there the best I can.
Immediately upon arrival we met with a program advisor for a tour and I was impressed to learn that the campus maxes out at 200 guests, but has 500 people on staff. That right there tells you the type of service we experienced throughout our stay. The property was perfectly manicured and the main building was a mansion built in 1887, Bellefontaine Mansion, located in the heart of the Berkshires.
We then attempted to tackle our guide for the week, which listed the schedule of fitness classes, daily talks and workshops. Each day, from 7am - 8pm it was jam packed with about five options of to-dos per hour. Adrienne and I, of course, wanted to do everything. We're not the kind of people who are familiar with downtime. Therefore, we took about 4 fitness classes and attended 2 lectures each day always starting and/or ending with meditation. Of course, we made time for the spa as well. (Obviously, you know me.) If downtime is what you seek, you can of course, schedule your day accordingly and lay out by the pool or use the spa facilities even if you're not getting a treatment.
I found the four main wellness aspects of Canyon Ranch to be fitness, nutrition, lectures and the spa. Here's a recap of my experience in each.
Throughout the week we experienced several yoga, spin, pilates, stretch and weight training classes. Each class had an instructor, (who of course ate, breathed and slept "Canyon Ranch"), along with a helper, who assisted and corrected movement to ensure everyone was getting the most out of their workouts. Personally, Canyon Ranch yoga was my favorite. They also offered a variety of outdoor sports and activities such as hiking, biking, kayaking and paddle boarding, which made us wish we had more time. Put it this way, there's something for everyone. Yes, even you.
Portion sizes were a wake up call. It's no wonder that more than 1/3 of American adults are obese. There were two restaurants on campus – a main dining room, (which you needed to make reservations for), and a more casual cafe that also holds lunch outside pending weather. I'm proud and excited to say that we were salt, sugar and alcohol free the whole time we were there.
Adrienne and I also individually met with a nutritionist, who was well prepared for our appointments. Prior to our visit, we had to fill out paperwork about our eating habits and lifestyle. It was extremely helpful. Did you know that gluten is a major migraine and anxiety trigger? Neither did I, but guess who's now gluten free?
I was very impressed by the speakers. We attended talks on sugar, miracles, burning fat and self acceptance. What impressed me the most was that all of the take-aways were practical. I'm extremely into spirituality, but even one of the miracles talks by Jerry Posner made sense (post to come soon). Many lectures I've gone to in the past on the topic can seem a bit "out there" to realists (like my husband). We diligently took notes and asked questions and left each feeling a sense of accomplishment and new outlook on life. Thriving.
Upon arrival at Canyon Ranch, you're assigned a locker in the spa to use throughout the duration of your stay. We both had deep tissue massages (I never knew I had pressure points in my armpits) and enjoyed the steam room and jacuzzi. A salon offering manis and pedis along with blowouts, cut and color was also on the property.
The experience was almost surreal. Imagine focusing on strictly on wellness everyday? I'm always excited to try anything that might help me live life to it's fullest and this experience was a luxury. The first thing I did when I got home, was a major pantry clean out and shopped the organic food store up the street for replacements. This week, there truly was no one else I'd rather be with anywhere else in the world.