Canyon Ranch shapes up

By Heidi Koopman

Special to the Arizona Daily Wildcat

Few students can afford a $1,300 getaway to Canyon Ranch, a world-class health spa in southern Arizona.

But sharing the experience with a parent may cut the cost in half. And several students do just that each year, Canyon Ranch spokesmen say.

Whether your goal is to recuperate from semester finals or learn how to balance your stressful life, Canyon Ranch, located in northeast Tucson, claims to have the answer.

This health spa can help you learn how to relax and create a healthy lifestyle you can weave into your busy schedule.

Who would have thought hundreds of people would pay thousands of dollars each to flock to the desert every month to get in shape? Apparently more people than you'd think.

Suzanne Welcher, a Canyon Ranch employee and a University of Arizona fashion merchandising and marketing senior said, "I was amazed at the clientele visiting the Ranch on a regular basis."

She has seen a number of celebrities, such as Montel Williams, Sigourney Weaver, Donna Karan and Julia Roberts, as guests at the ranch.

The Canyon Ranch experience was designed to maximize relaxation while helping guests at any level learn how to live healthier lives. A program coordinator is ready to sit down with each guest upon arrival to plan out a specific week-long program to fit personal needs.

Each day there are 45 different classes held which cater to individual interests. Canyon Ranch specializes in five areas: fitness, preventative health, nutrition, mind and body awareness and personal services. They offer programs for men and women to focus specifically on each genders' strengths and weaknesses.

Canyon Ranch requires a minimum four-night stay. There are several selected service packages which allow guests to maximize the opportunities provided by the ranch. May through September, the ranch offers a special parent/child package where the overnight cost for the child is half of the regular rate.

"Most students come during the summertime or after graduation as a gift from parents or for themselves," said Debbie Schmitt, assistant marketing director. "Most parents give the ranch visit as a present for fun and to learn healthy habits to get ready to start out a new life."

Programs more popular with the college age guest are the fitness classes, nutrition and eating seminars and stress-management courses. Kelly Hastert, public relations assistant, claims the movement therapy classes are becoming very popular. These classes teach people how to become more responsive to their body and its needs. This includes posture awareness for professionalism, which college classrooms tend to deteriorate.

If relaxation is key, Canyon Ranch also provides a large array of personal services to pamper guests, including massage, herbal wrap and a private salon.

For more information, call Canyon Ranch at 749-9655.

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