Canyon Ranch, A Wellness Wonderland

Purist founder Cristina Cuomo takes a satisfying plunge into the bounty of offerings at two Canyon Ranch locations.
Canyon Ranch Tucson is nestled in the Catalina Foothills. Photo courtesy of Canyon Ranch


By Cristina Cuomo

As a little girl, I would see glamorous, spa-going moms returning from the famed transformative Canyon Ranch, located in Tucson, Arizona, and Lenox, Massachusetts. Decades later, I finally got to visit both wellness resorts, and was pleasantly surprised by how their pioneering integrative approach, drawing on Eastern modalities, yielded effective results for my list of goals. 

Refresh and renew at Canyon Ranch Lenox in the Berkshires. Photo courtesy of Canyon Ranch

Their vast daily schedule of fitness classes, from Pilates to strength training to dance, paired with cooking lessons, tarot reading and spiritual talks, was a wonderful discovery of many things I had never done before, and a rediscovery of beloved pursuits. Both locations offer long hikes and bird walks in nature, great for any city dweller. After all, we’ve written in Purist about the benefits of earthing, or grounding—walking barefoot to neutralize electrical potential—and shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, the notion that taking in the atmosphere of woodlands through the senses can help with anxiety, blood pressure and fatigue. 

Canyon Ranch employs a variety of veteran yoga experts to teach a robust roundup of holistic classes. Photo courtesy of Canyon Ranch

Since I am a proponent of daily walks in the woods at home, I wanted to try new things to fill my dance card at Canyon Ranch. I booked acupuncture and Pilates in advance, while adding on as I explored the menu of opportunities on their comprehensive app, where all my appointments were organized in a calendar. 

Strength training is available at all fitness levels. Photo courtesy of Canyon Ranch

Awaking in Lenox to a veil of snow on the ground, I took a deep dive on back-to-back movement classes—early morning stretching, qigong (ancient art of moving energy), intuitive archery, a pickleball clinic and Buff Booty. I did an angel card reading by the great fireplace in the estate’s grand wood-paneled drawing room, where you can feel the peaceful energy of the seminary that once occupied the castle-like structure. The Eastern and energy treatments at the spa, with seasoned therapists, some sauna and cold-plunging, and a new skin-restoring Augustinus Bader facial with a mini-massage, were all worth returning to seasonally.

Tucson guests enjoy mountain outings. Photo courtesy of Canyon Ranch

In Arizona, I wanted to do things not available in Lenox, and played tennis with my group, basking in the desert sun. I checked out the power pool workout and a synchronized desert drumming session, followed by time at the new Canyon Ranch Vitality center, featuring state-of-the-art wellness equipment like a cell-rejuvenating infrared pod. I then incorporated some afternoon mindful pursuits (that both locations feature) like a hypnotherapy session, a nutrition consultation, a healthy cooking class, and ended the day with a sound sleep in the dry desert air, in a newly renovated room. 

Peaceful lodgings at Canyon Ranch Tucson. Photo courtesy of Canyon Ranch

Bringing a community of Purist friends completed my soul’s adventure, which began as a desire to be more fit in mind and body. They still talk about how yummy the chef-curated meals were. Canyon Ranch found roots as a smoking-cessation and weight-management spa (they continue serving deliciously small portions, to reset your gut), growing into the multi-spa experience that it has become today. As one of the best health and wellness spas in America, Canyon Ranch has perfected an integration philosophy of fulfilling the mind, body and soul through innovative therapies and ancient holistic practices. In an effort to keep expanding accessibility to the wellness world, the Canyon Ranch locations, including one in Woodside, California, and a brand-new next-level Vitality Wellness Club in Fort Worth, Texas, all offer club memberships for day-trippers.