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Ranch Dressing

by Nora Zelevansky

Canyon Ranch is the OG health spa.
The inaugural property opened its doors in Tucson, Arizona, in 1979. A decade later, in 1989, the second location in Lenox, Massachusetts, launched, drawing hordes of clients in Jane Fonda-inspired leg warmers and leotards primed for aerobics classes and cottage cheese breakfasts. Since then, devoted visitors—majority women—have continued to flock here, sometimes biannually, for rest and repose, with a side of weight loss.

This corner of the Berkshires has become a wellness destination in its own right, including other popular escapes for self-care seekers like Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health and, more recently, Miraval Resort & Spa. So, while Canyon Ranch will forever be a well-being pioneer, it remains relevant in this more competitive landscape by continuing to evolve, most recently unveiling a massive renovation, including its cornerstone of guest experience: the spa.

Specific aesthetics aside, the planners had a goal in mind. “We wanted to elevate the sense of place to match our programming,” says Sam Cooper, corporate director of spa. To execute that vision, Canyon Ranch teamed up with Lauren Rottet of Rottet Studio, an architecture and interiors firm responsible for multiple Four Seasons escapes, as well as iconic properties like The Beverly Hills Hotel bungalows and The St. Regis Aspen.

As part of the refresh, Canyon Ranch Lenox also reimagined other elements of the property from some guest rooms—with lush white bedding—to a new fireside lounge to promote a communal spirit and a new demo kitchen for cooking classes. The latest offerings, catering to an influx of men and also younger clients, incorporate contemporary trends: the Culinary Rebel snack bar stocks Matcha Chia Pudding and smoothies with avocado and kale. Lectures focus on metaphysics, mindfulness, gratitude and naturopathy. Still, as white-robe-clad guests wander sedately through the windowed hallways in pairs—friends, mothers and daughters, couples—their North Star is almost always the lauded spa complex.

The doors swing open to reveal a wide-open lofted space with mile-high ceilings featuring inset skylights at the peak, surrounded by a celestial periwinkle blue. On the left is a sign-up area for activities from hikes to forest bathing. On the right is a shiny new boutique showcasing everything from athleisure looks to astrological constellation necklaces, as well as finds from high-end lifestyle brands like MZ Wallace and James Perse.

Downstairs features multiple gym spaces and Pilates studios, as well as a giant indoor pool. On the main level, tucked just past two clocks—set to Lenox and Tucson time respectively—is a bright and airy yoga studio that overlooks the trees. Next door is a sleek skincare boutique with bronze accents and lantern lights— the gateway to the spa’s new facial treatment rooms featuring chic product lines like Vintner’s Daughter, Kate McLeod, and the latest additions, French company Biologique Recherche and, this summer, Seed to Skin.

Inside the primary spa itself, the well-stocked locker room and relaxation lounge have both received an upgrade with neutral tones designed to blend with the environment outside. “The space feels completely different aesthetically, yet we have maintained the nurtured, connected feel one gets while on property,” describes Cooper, who notes that one element she particularly loves is the new windowed hot and cold plunge area at the back. “My most favorite is the beautiful new wet area that overlooks the great lawn. It’s pretty spectacular to be sitting in the hot tub on a snowy day.”

The view is truly lovely. And yet, it’s just another day back at the Ranch.

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