When Canyon Ranch
in the Berkshires opened about a decade ago, Abe and Miriam Friend of Staten
Island, New York signed up for a charter membership. Since that time they have
traveled to the Massachusetts fitness retreat at least twice yearly for a four
night stay. Although they are getting on in years, you wont find them
stretching with "Active Seniors." This writer thought that the exercises for
strengthening and flexibility taught in the class were appropriate even for
sedentary people and that the movements could easily be repeated without an
The Weisses might
instead attend a spinning class, a cardiovascular workout using stationary bikes,
which are more complicated than the ones usually found in homes. First time
participants receive detailed directions on their use. Abe and Miriam fill every
hour with classesnearly 50 are offeredlifting weights, hiking, canoeing
in summer and getting treatments. They also attend evening lectures, such as
guided imagery and tools for living well.
Miriam said, "Our
schedule is flexible because we have our own business. We never go anyplace
else and prefer to come here rather than owning a vacation house. The staff
is great and they make it effortless for you to do everything. If we forget
to bring boots and heavy socks for outdoor activities, they lend them to us."
of Pittsburgh is so enthusiastic about Canyon Ranch that he has memberships
in Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona and in the Berkshires.
Clements, a widower
and private investor, said, "Many men are initially apprehensive about spas,
but their interest grows after the first stay." Clements used the spa as a place
to heal following his wifes death and as a refuge. He feels that he can
choose to be alone or with people, whatever particular mood suits him. He likes
the fact that upon registration everyone is scheduled to see a program coordinator
and a nurse. He sometimes consults with the nutritionist, too.
The comments of Jim
Davis, a single attorney, during his first visit were equally favorable. His
experience, he said, was better than expected. "I had a sense of ease and wellness.
It got to be fun, and it took my mind off work." Although Davis belongs to a
gym in New York City where he exercises about once a week, he had never worked
out in the water." I found hydrofit rewarding," he noted. "It made me feel I
was doing something good for my body." Davis came alone and enjoyed eating and
talking with other guests at the Captains Table.
Canyon Ranch recently
opened a third facility, SpaClub, for day services at the Venetian
Hotel in Las Vegas. For a $25 fee visitors can stay the day to use the equipment
and to take classes including instruction in scaling a 40-foot indoor rock-climbing
wall. SpaClub also features two private spa suites designed for couples. For
$1000 for four hours, you get four treatments, breakfast or lunch and your own
lounge with steam, bathroom and soaking tub. Unlike other destination spas that
concentrate mostly on exercise, diet and beauty, Canyon Ranch offers a complete
program for health and healing. Trained medical professionals provide consultations
and testing in many aspects of well being. Staff specialists also work one-on-one
with guests in areas relating to behavioral health, exercise physiology, movement
therapy and food and nutrition.
|Exercise in the Park
At Canyon Ranch there
are no Draconian regimens, dizzying diets or overly chirpy instructors. The
food is low calorie, low fat and prepared without salt. No one limits your food
intake or forces activities on you. The emphasis is on self-motivation and "taking
the spa home with you."
No wonder the guests
all look so content.
Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires, 165 Kemble Street, Lenox, MA 01240. Tel.
800-742-6494, 800-326-7080. Three day minimum packages begin at
$1,290 double occupancy. www.canyonranch.com/lenox/index.asp