Sunday, August 22, 2010

Au Revoir Canyon Ranch

Weight on their scale when I arrived: 131.6 lbs
Weight on last day: 128.1 lbs

Not bad for eating the most delicious food and barely working out.
My normal meals:

Egg white omlete with spinach, mushrooms, feta cheese, breakfast potatoes, fruit with mint and passionfruit juice (under 400 cals)

Fish tostada or grass fed all beef hot dog with coleslaw and artichoke fries, or veal bacon with avacodo mayo and heirloom tomato BLT on GF bread (all under 400 cals)
Gluten free oatmeal cranberry cookie (170/2)

lara bar (somedays)

Braised short ribs with mongolain bbq sauce, mashed white sweet potato and bok choy or
Lamb chops with kale, plantains and corn relish (under 400 cals each)
Creme brulee or Raspberry cheesecake mousse (under 200 cals each)

Spa services:
Hot stone mani/pedi
Deep tissue massage
Contour and lift facial

Stretch class
Buff booty ballet (x2)
Let's Dance class
Meditation and Breathing
2x 20 mins on tm
20 mins on step mill
my own abs and yoga

I enjoyed the tropical rain forest showers, igloo, herbal laconium and ice cold towels in the spa.

Then why might I not come back for my next planned trips?

Throughout this entire trip I struggled to find my peace. I thought it was just me being unable to relax, forcing it too much. I had such high expectations for this trip, maybe it was just not fair to ask it to meet them.

Don't get me wrong, I eventually found my peace. I am going home with not only a renewed sense of energy, but a renewed sense of focus as well. I realized how good my body feels with the right fuel, maintenance and relaxation. Those goals met, check.

However, it feels ridiculous to say that this wasn't a wonderful vacation, because it was. But the essence of Canyon Ranch was lost and I noticed. I noticed in a big way.

The essence of this place is to take your health and awareness to the next level. It is so different from a Ritz. At a Ritz you can lay by the pool, get spa services, relax and have great meals. That is not the goal of Canyon Ranch.

There is an air around here that makes you want to read about ways to meditate, love yourself and learn about living a present life (all books in the gift store). You are surrounded by people on solo trips in workout clothes and moving on between classes. The staff is reassuring and calming. Tea is handed to you at every room you enter. A haven of breathing and thinking.

or at least it used to be.

This trip, this trip made me feel like I was anywhere else in the world. Cell phones were used everywhere as their 'no cell phone policy' was not enforced. Children and families made this feel like Disney World. They claim it was never a policy to not have children under 14. But I swear that was one of the draws when I initially came. I could get over that if they had pools open for adults only, but they only had one, that didn't get much sun. The service as far as room cleaning and turn down service was horrible. Even a Holiday Inn has the maid come daily right?

And the spa, apparently is open to the public this month and was unaccommodating (despite my booking my appointments before I arrived) and packed. These plus a lot of other little things that I really wish I could have just glossed over. In the past, I have. The service is never spot on but because of the aura that was Canyon Ranch, I never cared or focused on it.

This time, I could not gloss over. Because in addition to the poor service, something else was missing - the essense of Canyon Ranch. I am not picking to be snobbish or a diva. Honestly, those things don't phase me when I am at a Ritz (well, they don't happen at the Ritz). But here, here was supposed to be special.

How can I expect to zen out when there is a cell phone ringing next to me at dinner?

Again, it's just because of the so called focus of this place that these things matter so much.

Was it a great trip? yes, of course. Do I regret coming? come on, I'm not an idiot. Will I come again? not sure. Would I recommend it? not like I would have a year ago.

I look forward to seeing my family. I look forward to them meeting their new mommy. You know, the nice one that didn't cry all the time. The one that made fresh foods. The one that didn't groan and moan every time she got up out of the chair. The one that could get out of bed in the morning.

I can't wait for them to meet me again.


  1. I'm sorry to hear all of the downers. I didn't experience any of that last year - there was hardly anyone there. We sometimes had the spa to ourselves! I hope this isn't a permanent change down there.

  2. Well the food sounds fabulous but I'm bummed it wasn't everything you knew it to be. Always interesting how society changes even in places that always hold a higher standard.

  3. Dear Keely

    I read with great interest your latest blog describing your recent stay with us. While I am excited to see that you were able to achieve many goals and intentions you set out for your stay, I am also very concerned with the experiences that made you feel that we lack the essence of Canyon Ranch and that lead you to question a return visit.
    We set out to incorporate and share the Canyon Ranch mission elements of inspiration, motivation and education in everything we do on a daily basis. Our wellness business in Miami beach does not only include a hotel & spa but also offers the Canyon Ranch expertise and lifestyle to members of a living community. As such, we welcome families with young adults, in hopes to be able to reach out to the next generation early on so we can teach, inspire and motivate them while their minds are still wide open and bad habits have not yet set deep roots.
    During the summer months of July & August, we participate in a county wide spa promotion that makes a selected number of services available to a much broader audience. This not only supports our goals of inspiration, motivation and sharing of knowledge but also allows us to keep many of our loyal staff employed during otherwise slow business periods.
    Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa Miami Beach was intentionally designed to operate somewhat differently than our immersion resorts in Tucson and Lenox, primarily to account for the urban setting, the permanent residential component and the supporting need to have some services and facilities open to the public. While this presents some unique challenges it should and cannot compromise the mission and essence of Canyon Ranch. It certainly does not explain operational and service shortcomings, that is simply never acceptable.
    We are taking your observations seriously and will include them in our operational planning and staff training sessions. I hope that the achievement of your goals and our concern for a true Canyon Ranch experience will earn us a return visit from you. I am certain you will notice a genuine and sincere effort on our part to meet your expectations.

    Healthy regards

    Matthias Kammerer
    Managing Director

  4. Matthias,
    I am incredibly impressed by your recognition and response to this post.

    I very specifically wrote this summary of my trip after I had already talked to one of your concierges. I spoke with her regarding the poor enforcement of the cell phone restrictions, the pools being filled with children and the overcrowded spa that was unaccommodating. Although she expressed concern, she explained that there would be someone else to contact me the next day regarding my statements.

    All I really wanted to hear was that if your policy's have changed and this was the experience I could expect. If so, I would like to not recommend it so highly to everyone I see like I have been for 2 years and go back like I had planned in February.

    When no one contacted me to defend the changes, I decided that it was fair to write about my experience. I hope that the main point of this post is to say that essence that made this trip so special in the past was lost.

    Your hotel and spa has had such a special place in my heart. My previous two trips have left me in such a state that no other vacation has ever achieved. This last trip had me so frustrated and annoyed during my stay that I think I am more upset that my heaven away from home has been lost.

    I really wish when I made my reservation they would have explained the policy to be open to the public and that my trip would be a different experience. I definitely would have waited a couple of weeks to get the Canyon Ranch experience I know and love. Then maybe no maid service would not have phased me.

    Thanks again for your attention to my concerns,