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Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires

Health in the Hills

When Michael Mendelson, CEO of C.M. Briddge, an art advisory company, awoke at Canyon Ranch one Saturday early in February, he discovered that a foot of snow had fallen the night before. He was elated. "Maybe I'll be snowed in," he said. "What a great place to be stranded. If you love spas, this is the place to be in a snowstorm."

Unless he wanted to ski or to join a hike he would not have to go outside. Glass-enclosed corridors connect the three centers of the spa: Belle-fontaine, a turn-of the-century mansion, which houses the dining room and the health and healing program; the fitness and treatment complex; and the 120-room New England-style inn.

"Being here gives my life a lift and looking at the outdoors all covered in white while I'm swimming or on the treadmill perks me up more," he added. "In summer the sight of the green lawn and trees from the floor-to-ceiling windows is therapeutic, too."

Hike at Canyon Ranch

Mendelson is a regular at the Ranch. During his earlier visits he said that he felt compelled to do something every hour. "I like the endless roster of activities, but I also appreciate the fact that you can be laid back if you want to. Nobody pushes you to do everything. It's a wonderful place to meet nice people, get recharged, clean out your mind and eat great food."

"Healthy great food," said Mrs. Mendelson.

Canyon Ranch guests choose from a help-yourself salad bar and order from a menu listing several selections, along with their calorie and fat grams, at each meal. Although 1200- and 1800-calorie plans are suggested, there are no food police here, only a nutritionist who answers questions.

Mendelson also mentioned that he likes the attention men get at Canyon Ranch. "Because there are some special classes for men I don't have to feel intimidated by the women who know all the steps and movements in aerobics, stretch and other fitness activities."

Tom Stoner, former CEO of Stoner Broadcasting, which is now merged with another company, also greeted the snow with delight. He was on his eighth Canyon Ranch visit. He comes to the Ranch because he feels that it has the "leading edge in terms of holistic health." Stoner likes the "mind, body, spirit" approach to health. He said, "I learn something every time I come. There's a lot of room here for self-improvement and I participate in the health and healing program as well as the fitness side."

Although American spas traditionally catered to women, Canyon Ranch has changed all that. Mendelson said, "I love the facials."

Stoner added, "I take herbal wraps as well as massages." 

Ask a woman why she is at a spa and more often than not she will say, "to lose weight." Mendelson and Stoner never mentioned it.

Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires, 165 Kemble Street, Lenox, MA 01240. Tel. 800-726-9000. Three-night packages (minimum stay) are $1,113 per person including two spa and sports services and a $90 credit towards health and healing services. www.canyonranch.com

Spring 1995