Canyon Ranch is in the hills just outside of Tucson, near the Sonoran desert and the Santa Catalina mountain range and a short car ride from Tucson International Airport. Not that you need to worry about the drive – Canyon Ranch will deliver you from airport to spa doorstep. The pampering begins here and doesn’t stop – perfect for a mom who is ready for a vacation on her own.
Flying Solo…Or Not
One of the beauties of the Ranch is that, even if you travel solo, you won’t feel any more isolated or alone than you want. You’ll start to see familiar faces as you move from fitness class to lecture to the pool and back again. In my two solo trips (this being one of them), I have never lacked for interesting people to talk to or dine with when I wanted.
The Canyon Ranch grounds and nearby areas have nearly every activity you can imagine. I am partial to the wide variety of fitness classes, the array of free lectures and especially enjoying the pools. As with all three of my trips, I also hiked the nearby Santa Catalina mountains with a group. Nothing can beat the view of the nearby valleys and vistas from the peak destination, and the packs and guides are provided.
The classes range from beginner to advanced. They cover everything from stretching to abs to spinning to yoga to drumming to belly dancing. Some of the people I hiked with did that every day and then spent their afternoons by the pool.
I took advantage of the wide variety – and the expansive natural views of the property in nearly all of the classrooms. It’s hard not to be infused with energy when you are looking at the peaceful landscaping and fantastic fountains. And, there are plenty of times when you need that boost!
An added bonus on this trip was the Turkey Trot 5K. I wouldn’t say that I “competed” really – but I still got a free T-shirt. Even with all of these options, though, lots of the Ranch goers are inclined to skip this level of action altogether!
Here’s where the relaxation and pampering really kick in.
When I am asked about my favorite part of Canyon Ranch, I always say “the food.” Shallow, perhaps, but still true. It doesn’t matter what your tastes are or what restrictions you may have, there is more than enough to go around. That’s where those activities come in handy!
My favorite discovery this trip was fairly mundane by some standards: mashed cauliflower.
How can something so healthy be so darn good? (I would guess that this phrase is said so often around the Ranch it should just be recorded and played back as a sound bite!)
Add that to the perfectly cooked scallops, a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and crème brulee, and I had the best week of food of my entire year.
One of the first things that everyone asks me about when I travel to Canyon Ranch is whether I got a massage. That is not the half of it – or even the third of it.
Yes, the massages are wonderful. The hardest part is choosing which one or two or three you want! Plus, there are so many other relaxing treatments that you may need a massage just from the stress of choosing which treatment, when to book it and how you can fit all that you want to do in before it’s time to leave.
On this trip, I repeated one of my favorites: the Ashiatsu massage. The name of this treatment comes from the Japanese words “ashi” (foot) and “atsu” (pressure). In this massage, the therapist uses overhead bars for balance while massaging with her feet. I know, I know. It sounds a little weird, but it is ah-maz-ing. It was just what I needed after my hike in the morning, and it got me more than ready for the next day’s 5K. Ahhhhhh….
The Best Part
Earlier I said that my favorite part is the food. That is true – if I have to choose.
I’d rather not choose just one piece.
The best part is the entire experience. The feeling that comes from rejuvenating, refocusing and relaxation. The rest that comes from not having to rush to soccer, prep dinner and do the laundry with one hand while working with the other. The release that comes from not being responsible for anything but getting to classes and making my massage appointment.
And, really, that what a trip to Canyon Ranch is about. It’s about “The Power of Possibility” and about putting all the pieces of a healthy and energetic life together. It’s about making it truly yours.
What’s your favorite spa destination discovery? Please share in comments.
Jennifer Peek is a creative business strategist focused on providing left-brained strategy for right-brained businesses. She shares her business brain + insights for creative businesses at FindYourNewGroove.com