What do you picture when you think of a wellness spa? You might picture a luxury resort, state-of-the-art facilities, or a beautiful outdoor setting. It’s no secret that Arizona is home to many such locations that each offer their own unique experience. Recently, I was able to attend a wellness retreat at one of the best facilities Arizona has to offer: Canyon Ranch.

In addition to being a must visit destination spa, Canyon Ranch was one of the first pioneers in the wellness field. Today, it’s one of the top destination spas in the world thanks to its pristine setting and revolutionary approach. It’s the ideal place for groups or solo travelers to renew, refresh, and rejuvenate their spirit and begin the path to a healthier life. Here are a few of my key takeaways from an unforgettable stay at this renowned facility.


Going into my retreat I was aware of the many accolades Canyon Ranch has received. What surprised me, however, was just how influential Canyon Ranch was in expanding the concept of a health resort. Mel and Enid Zuckerman opened the resort in 1979 in an effort to bring a health spa to Tucson. Their concept goes well beyond that of a traditional spa. Instead, they focus on immersing guests in an all-healthy environment. Guests have a team of physicians, dieticians, exercise physiologists, and licensed therapists all at their disposal. Today, the resort employs a 3 to 1 guest to staff ratio to help provide a 360-degree approach to wellness.

The Approach

The first thing that struck me during my weekend stay was the beauty of the grounds. As an individual who lived i Arizona for the past 15 years, I’ve taken the natural beauty of the desert for granted at times. That’s nearly impossible to do at a place like Canyon Ranch. It’s set in 150 acres of sprawling Sonoran desert and the towering Santa Catalina Mountains. Far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city, Canyon Ranch is about as serene of an environment as you can imagine. It’s the perfect kind of place for morning yoga, midday meditation, or an evening bike ride.

During my weekend, I was able to take advantage of the many amenities offered to guests. This included spa services, one on one sessions with health and wellness coaches, and fitness classes. Canyon Ranch has tons of programming available for guests, but each stay is individualized to meet their own personal health goals. They also utilize some of the best technology in the wellness field. The Bod Pod, for example, is an egg-shaped screening device that measures body composition. It may have an odd shape, but it’s so highly accurate that it can detect the smallest of changes to body fat, muscle, bones, and organs. I also learned about the Life Enhancement Program. It’s designed for people with more serious medical concerns who are looking to immerse themselves in an all-healthy living environment. This is the ultimate program for anyone looking to make a serious life change.

What I Learned

Okay, I’m going to be honest – I did not expect the food to be anything exemplary. Healthy eating is something that I usually equate with kale chips and juice cleanses. To my surprise, the food served was not only delicious but also came in many different flavors and choices (coconut macaroons anyone?)

Nutrition can often be so overwhelming that it’s easy to avoid. One of the most powerful parts of my stay was meeting with a nutritionist who was able to evaluate my diet. She even illustrated the amount of sugar I consume using sugar packets. This visual representation left me stunned and was a definite eye-opener. Thankfully, the team provided me with the tools I need to change my eating habits. They gave me specific brands and information on the nutritional content on a wide-variety of foods to help me get on the right track. Everything in moderation I always think to myself & fortunately following my stay I have been able to do just that by making sweets & desserts a special treat by indulging just one time per week rather than multiple times every day as I had been doing previously.

Though the nutrition lesson had the biggest impact on me, there are plenty of other wellness topics that are discussed. Many guests come seeking guidance while in the middle of big life transitions like a career change, divorce, loss of a loved one, retirement, etc… Couples also seek out Canyon Ranch in an effort to work together and rekindle their flame. Others come for tips on treating sleep disorders and how to get uninterrupted sleep. Even others come in big family groups to change their approach to health. Many people I’ve spoken with viewed their stay as an investment for their future. Yes, a stay at Canyon Ranch has all the elements of a luxury vacation. But it’s also an opportunity to change your life forever.

Virtuoso Winner for Best Wellness Program: Canyon Ranch

Special congratulations to Canyon Ranch for winning the Best of the Best award for 2017 with Virtuoso for Best Wellness Program. Well deserved as the team here is passionate about living a well balanced lifestyle & have been true pioneers in this industry. I was able to sit with their leaders on the evening they won – and it’s an undoubtedly a huge honor to see them earn this accolade.

Canyon Ranch incorporates a combination of four areas – physical, emotional, spiritual, and medical – which is very unique for a destination spa but that it because it is so much more than that. Your experience here will include a wide range of options that are available to you while providing the very best in wellness. Are you interested in booking a trip to Canyon Ranch? Or perhaps bringing a group of friends or loved ones together to embark on this journey together?  I assure you that you should you spend time here, you likely will end up being a loyal Canyon Ranch goer for years to come as this is a place like no other. Contact me today to start planning your wellness adventure.

*Please note Canyon Ranch also has an amazing location in Lenox, Massachusetts. Great for those of you on the east coast looking for a stress-busting Berkshires getaway. Canyon Ranch SpaClub in Las Vegas is a great option for those wanting to indulge in a world class spa while being their healthiest self in a city that never stops. Canyon Ranch has also changed cruising, as they are the favorite spa on some of the worlds most extraordinary ships including Regent Seven Sea Cruises, Oceania, Celebrity & Queen Mary 2