Wander Well

By Ignacio Maza

Wander Well

By Ignacio Maza

Start 2024 with a mindful escape on one of these paths to optimal vitality.

As the New Year begins, I invite you to follow a different path. Instead of making resolutions you end up forgetting or neglecting, consider investing time in your well-being. Our lives have never been more fast-paced, and the demands on our time all consuming. Today, it’s essential to find tools to not only cope with the pressure, but to rise above it. There are many destination spas and wellness retreats, so which ones are most worthy? These leading resorts have made a profound difference in my life.

Tucson, Arizona; Lenox, Massachusetts; Woodside, California

Over the past four decades, Canyon Ranch has become the leader in integrative wellness, inspiring guests to make a commitment to healthy living and turn intentions into action. It has expanded the concept of what a health resort can be, with a comprehensive and professional approach that includes physicians, nutritionists, licensed therapists, and many other specialists.

“Canyon Ranch expanded the concept of what a health resort can be.”

The goal is to give guests every possible resource to create a plan with a 360-degree approach to wellness that delivers results and sparks positive change. This holistic program of incorporating fitness, spirituality, science-based precision, and prevention methods—all within a rejuvenating holiday—sets Canyon Ranch apart. Having visited Canyon Ranch resorts in both Tucson and Lenox, I discovered many commonalities between the two, starting with the robust programming and wide range of activities and daily group classes. Additionally, both resorts feature superb facilities, including gyms, pools, yoga studios, and expansive spas.

The differences lie in settings and weather. In Lenox, guests experience all four seasons, including fall foliage and winter sports from December to March. One of my favorite activities in the Berkshires is a guided hike through a segment of the Appalachian Trail followed by a canoe ride across two lakes. Canyon Ranch Tucson boasts over 300 days a year of sunshine, giving Arizona guests a varied menu of outdoor adventures nearly every day. The resort is known for its Life Enhancement programs, which are anchored in opportunities to improve brain power or lose weight.

The Lenox resort is more self-contained, spread over a series of inter-connected buildings (the better to cope with any kind of weather), and offering 126 deluxe guest rooms and suites. The Tucson property graces a wider estate, offering deluxe guestrooms in various configurations, one- to three-bedroom Saguaro Suites, and the stylish Casa Grande, with 2,500 square feet of indoor-outdoor space.

Tucson, Arizona; Austin, Texas; Lenox, Massachusetts

Miraval’s motto is that you don’t find balance, you create it. Making its debut in Tucson on a former dude ranch turned recovery center, its beginnings were prescient, as Miraval has helped many guests heal and find balance since its founding in 1995. From the start, Miraval has focused on mindfulness and spirituality, revealing tools to help construct and manifest a better life.

“Miraval’s motto is that you don’t find balance, you create it.

Miraval is known for offering hundreds of options, from outdoor challenge courses and vigorous activities to spa treatments, lectures, and fitness sessions. In addition, it features a wide range of experiences focused on guests’ spirit and soul, delivered by wellness counselors, astrologers, healers, and therapists.

I recently visited the Arizona property, and, from the moment I arrived, was impressed with its tranquility. The estate is shaped roughly like a rectangle, with the Palm Courtyard and culinary kitchen the heartbeat of the property, while guest rooms and suites are arranged in clustered villages. More than 100 guest rooms in seven different categories range from 400 square feet to the spectacular villas, which feature two or three bedrooms, infinity pools, fireplaces, and up to 3,100 square feet. Two major property hubs include the Body Mindfulness Center (gym, classrooms, and Olympic swimming pool), and the Life in Balance Spa, famous for its range of choices: ayurveda, massage, energy and eastern treatments, skin care, and more.

Every day, Miraval Arizona offers more than 50 activities and classes. Don’t miss the celebrated ‘Equine Experiences’ at the Purple Sage Ranch. Celebrating ample time with horses, guests overcome fear and trauma by focusing on being present (it’s not about the horse; rather, it’s about you). I particularly enjoyed early morning hikes, yoga, fitness classes, and Naga, a unique Thai massage using hanging silks for deep stretching. Other standouts include the quality of the cuisine and the variety of each menu, accompanied with wine if preferred. But of top note, the warmth of the staff is unforgettable (there’s no minimum stay, but most guests book four to five nights).

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