One of the many lovely things about unforgettable Canyon Ranch is the setting. There are glorious skies, as shown above. Much of the 150 acres of grounds is semi-gardened, with sculptures set in exactly the places you would site’em, if at home (today’s guests at luxury hotels want even better than they have at home, which is a never-ending challenge for operators). There is just a plausible minimum of signposts but the gal quite quickly managed to find the way from club house to spa to her home, room 184. All 165 rooms are compact and very comfortable, with refrigerators, ice buckets and selections of glasses, perfect for the many guests who bring their own favourite drink – no alcohol is served here.
Jack Breisacher, the newly-arrived onsite boss, is in his element. His background includes many years with Marriott, and a spell in army survival, which he certainly does not need at this superbly well-run hotel. There are 800 on the staff here, of whom 130 are in the medical side, and the average tenure of the entire complement is eight years, which shows how they all love it. They also look jolly well. In their free time they can take any of those 400-plus exercise classes on offer, and they can sit in on wellness lectures. I spoke to one restaurant manager who had been here several times as a guest and she was so enamoured of the Canyon Ranch experience she opted to work here, full time.
I admit I was overwhelmed by the food. I simply had not expected it to be so good. Every item is listed not only for calories but for carbs grams, protein grams, fat grams, fibre grams, sodium mg(salt) sugar grams, plus gluten-free and vegan. On arrival I lunched in my room – $6 surplus for delivery: all food, anywhere, is included in the room rate, as are all exercise classes and lectures. I had a superfoods bowl, 350 calories, cauliflower, rice tabouleh, kale, roasted harissa baby carrots, beluga lentils, avocado, cherry tomato, shaved radish, citrus vinaigrette. I opted for Atlantic salmon as a topping, which added a further 170 calories. In its London Vertex ceramic bowl it was, as you can see, pretty as a picture.
Dinner, with Jack Breisacher and Tom Klein, President and COO of Canyon Ranch, was another great culinary, and this time conversational, experience. I had a roast beet salad with burrata, 170 calories, and grilled chicken breast, 140 calories, with sides of broccoli, asparagus and cauliflower mash, which they use to replace the more-usual potato mash. I breakfasted outside, poolside, at the café named for the Double-U Ranch that preceded Canyon Ranch on this spot, and, all too soon, it was sadly time to move on. Tom Klein had meanwhile already left, for Canyon Ranch’s headquarters in Fort Worth TX. He has one other luxury wellness resort, in Lenox MA, to look after, and he has BIG plans… he already also oversees Canyon Ranch spas at sea on 22 ships, and a big Las Vegas spa, at Venetian, which is trialling the company’s first grab-and-go, CR CREAT, concept, and there is lots more to come… FOR MORE ON CANYON RANCH’S FOOD, SEE A VIDEO OF THE GRILL’S LUNCH BUFFET AND SANDWICH BAR