Canyon Ranch Spa
in the Berkshire
Photos by Rod Millington
When it comes to time off, retreats that emphasize disconnecting and quieting the mind are all the rage. Anyone seeking such an escape can find one in a luxurious New England resort with plenty of playful recreation and spa options.
One visit to the Canyon Ranch spa resort in Lenox, Massachusetts, and it will be obvious why it’s consistently rated as a top resort destination in the country.
Canyon Ranch has been a trailblazer as a proponent of wellness since its founding in 1979, and has received honors for its spa by Travel & Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler and Town & Country.
Flying from Tampa, the closest airport to Canyon Ranch is in Albany, New York — from there, it’s less than an hour’s drive away through the beautiful Berkshire Mountains and the towns in western Massachusetts that have inspired many well-known singers, artists and writers. Such figures as James Taylor and Norman Rockwell have called the region home.
Packing is easy: workout clothes, fleece jackets, gloves, hats and windbreakers.
The main building at Canyon Ranch is the former Bellefontaine Mansion, a brick-and-marble, Gilded Age estate built by Giraud Foster and Jane Van Nest in 1896. The library and rotunda are the only parts of the mansion spared by a 1949 fire, but the building was rebuilt and expanded to include a 100,000-square-foot spa complex devoted to tranquility. (Indeed, cellphone use is restricted only to the mansion courtyard, the hotel pavilion living room and guest rooms.)
The resort offers more than 200 services, including meditation, stretch and yoga classes, six levels of hiking trails (elevations up to 4,000 feet), indoor and outdoor fitness options and healthy culinary choices. Each season offers special reasons to visit: mountain biking, hikes, canoes and kayaks, sculls and paddleboards, tennis and racquetball, squash and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
One spa package includes complimentary transportation, and all meals and activities. The spa options themselves might seem overwhelming, with choices that include Eastern medicine, lifestyle management, Asian massage therapies, metaphysical classes from tarot to astrology, and late-night massages for two.
This spa is co-ed. Men represent nearly a third of all U.S. spa customers, so forget the stereotype of a retreat with women walking around in white robes. There are plenty of choices for both sexes to soothe their weary bodies and renew the spirit.
Customers travel from around the globe, but craving “time off” and a peaceful retreat is a common denominator. ♦