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Wellness Wonderland

Canyon Ranch guides you to your best life, throughout life.

At the age of 40, Tucson, Ariz., builder and real-estate developer Mel Zuckerman was told that his health risks were equivalent to those of a 65-year-old man. He ate too much of all the wrong things, had asthma, didn’t exercise — and had no idea how to turn his life around. 

This was 1978, long before “wellness” was a household word (and a multi-trillion dollar industry). But he made the pivotal decision to change his sedentary lifestyle — and the experience was so transformative that he wanted to help other people do the same thing.

The following year, Zuckerman and his wife, Enid, founded Canyon Ranch in Tucson, a pioneer in integrative wellness: An all-inclusive resort that inspires a well way of life through physical, mental and spiritual experiences. 

Today, Canyon Ranch — now helmed by CEO Jeff Kuster — is considered the Mothership of Wellness. Nestled on 150 lush desert acres in the Santa Catalina foothills, Canyon Ranch is a destination for wellness-seekers all over the world, who arrive to year-round sunshine, desert canyons, and hiking, biking, rock climbing and archaeological adventures in the nearby Santa Catalina Mountains. But the resort is so much more than its exquisite natural beauty. Accommodating up to 240 guests in modern, airy luxury, Canyon Ranch offers an 80,000-square-foot spa and fitness center with 28 spa treatment rooms, three outdoor pools and an indoor aquatic center for laps, Watsu and water therapy. 

These top-notch facilities combine with best-in-class medical, exercise, nutrition and life management practitioners to provide each guest with personalized services. Which basically means: heaven.

It’s true that so many choices — from yoga to wellness talks to meetings with diet and nutrition experts to Juvederm to birdwatching — can be overwhelming. This is why they created Pathways, a program designed to help you get the most out of your stay, curated for each guest. Check out Breakthrough Performance if your regular fitness routine has you plateauing, to help redefine your limits; try Outdoor Escape to explore new outdoor activities and experience a renewed connection with nature. 

After a day, or week, of swinging from the high-ropes course, sharpening your pickleball skills, testing your body composition in the Bod Pod, and working with a Movement Therapist, step it down in the meditation garden, enjoy a photography hike, schedule an ayurvedic treatment (or just a traditional massage) and tucking into a seasonal locally sourced meal prepared by Canyon Ranch’s world-famous chefs (or taking a cooking class with them to learn how to bring Canyon Ranch’s Pretzel-Crusted Chicken with Guinness Vinaigrette home). Unleash your inner Bollywood (or ballet, hip-hop or jazz) dancer with Gotta Dance at the Ranch, led by visiting Broadway veterans and choreographers. Sign up for a class in Intuitive Archery, learn How Uncertainty Helps Us Grow, or release stress with Desert Drumming on a physioball before learning quick beauty fixes for your skin with a resident aesthetician.

Before retiring in 2017, Mel Zuckerman said this about becoming a trailblazer in integrative wellness: “I don’t consider myself a visionary. I consider myself a person who was fortunate enough to have a certain experience that transformed everything about my life,” he says. “Because it happened to me, it dawned on me that if I can have it happen to me, I could make it happen for others, to help people live healthier, happier, longer lives. 

“I wasn’t thinking about changing the world,” Zuckerman says. “As a matter of fact, I do believe that Canyon Ranch has changed the world. It is such a gift to so many people and can be a continuing gift to so many people who can not get the same thing elsewhere. It’s what makes life worth living.”