For many guests a visit to a Canyon Ranch property is a budget-bending once-in-a-lifetime treat. For others, faithful pilgrimages are as much a part of them as they air they breathe. These repeat visitors would no sooner miss their regular visits to Canyon Ranch than they would miss their mammograms, physicals or dental visits. Their time at Canyon Ranch is essential to their health. For this lover of all things travel, Canyon Ranch Lenox has been on my bucket list of travel destinations for years. Had I known how close the Lenox property is – it takes me exactly three hours to drive from my home near Syracuse, NY – I would have gotten myself here much sooner.
I fantasize about being a fitness instructor in my next life so I can wear workout clothes to work every day. Canyon Ranch is my kind of place! There are few dress code requirements (no robes in the dining room at dinner) and guests are comfortable wearing activewear throughout the resort day or night. In fact, it’s encouraged.
I arrive just before 11 am and within minutes my car is whisked away by the competent valet staff. I breeze through check-in and am in my room unpacking five minutes later. I’ve studied the guide “This Week at Canyon Ranch” before my arrival and make a beeline for the demonstration kitchen for the gluten-free lunch & learn where chef Dan begins the session by demonstrating the use of a mandolin. We munch on shaved broccoli salad with poppyseed dressing which we learn is made with a base of tofu rather than traditional less healthy creamy ingredients. I’m in heaven! Our next course is a satisfying spicy carrot and ginger soup with a mere 60 calories per serving. Our main dish, a perfectly portioned salmon teriyaki, is flavorful and masterfully cooked. So this is what properly cooked salmon tastes like. Chef Dan explains why overcooked salmon oozes a white protein and I’m sold on his cooking and marinating techniques. The four course meal finishes with strawberry rhubarb crisp at a respectable 115 calories. I’m satisfied but not stuffed. I know I’m eating the right amount because I’m hungry about 3 hours later.
After lunch, I have the privilege of a private hike (to my delight, I was the only guest who signed up) to nearby Basin Pond with seasoned guide Bob Wiley. Canyon Ranch offers 6 levels of hiking that are categorized by time, distance and difficultly. This three mile level two hike is travels through a gently graded forest that crosses cascading streams for the perfect challenge. Not only is Bob a thoughtful hiking guide, but he shares my passion for the outdoors. I hope he didn’t mind that I picked his brain on everything from his mountaineering skills to wilderness first aid to his experiences hiking all the major peaks in the country and visiting nearly all of our nations National Parks. Bob pointed out flora and fauna along the way; the hike was the highlight of my day.
We return to the resort in time for me to retreat to my room for a bit of relaxation and a shower before dinner. The formal dining experience offered a salad bar with the freshest, crispest vegetables I’ve ever tasted, light salad dressing options and outstanding hummus. A trick I learned from a veteran “rancher” at the first-timers table at dinner: ask your server for some gluten-free cranberry oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for a pre-bed snack.
For a nightcap, I enjoy a signature Canyon Ranch massage with Melva in the beautiful, well-equipped spa.
Looking forward to Day 2: A morning canoe/hike, an energetic fitness class and some more spectacularly delicious and healthy food.
As is common in the travel industry, Canyon Ranch Lenox provided the writer with two complimentary nights and one night at a discounted media rate. A stay at Canyon Ranch includes a spa/activity service credit, all meals and snacks, complimentary fitness classes and wellness programing.