Neeracha and I are just back from four days at Canyon Ranch. We'd been to Miraval, another destination spa also in Tucson, a few times and wanted to try something new. Why there are mosquitos in the desert I have no idea.
Together we hiked, danced and ate. Separately I did gyrotonics, Pilates and golf while she biked and did knead yoga and Zumba. The teachers had big personalities and I enjoyed that. They worked hard to be entertaining. I liked the belly dancing class the best. And after that the hike. The topography of Arizona is beautiful, much different than that of Northern California and gorgeous in its own way. My golf lesson was so basic that I didn't even see a ball. Yup, I spent an entire hour on grip and stance. But hey, I got a video to take home to wow the kids.
We tried to watch movies at night but didn't stay awake long enough to actually get through one. Our room was beautiful -- fluffy beds, indoor and outdoor seating areas, two dressing areas and two closets, two flat panel TVs.
Southern Arizona has highs above 100F in September so our outdoor activities were done by 10am. Here we are on a 5 mile hike into Lower Bear Canyon the last day of the trip.
We had lunch in the demo kitchen on our last day there and sat with a woman who lives in Boca Raton and grew up in St. Louis. She mentioned she was Jewish and I gave Neeracha a lesson in the Jewish Geography game. It only took four names for me and Boca Woman to find a connection.
I used to think that Miraval and Canyon Ranch competed. But after visiting Canyon Ranch I see how different they are. At Miraval we met people who'd been to Canyon Ranch. At Canyon Ranch few people even knew what Miraval was, so loyal were they to the ranch.
- If Miraval is a svelte, hip yoga teacher then Canyon Ranch is an Ironwoman-now-Jazzercise instructor.
- Miraval is newer, more innovative, a new age experience. Canyon Ranch is older, quieter, with a broader range of food and activity offerings.
- People who go to Miraval are looking for a vacation. People who go to Canyon Ranch are looking to change their lives.
- At Miraval one signs up for the Equine experience to balance their mind, body and spirit. At Canyon Ranch one signs up for the Life Enhancement Program to learn how to live a healthy life and navigate a transition or meet a personal challenge.
- People visit Miraval for a long weekend or a week. The first people I met at Canyon Ranch spend three months a year there -- six weeks on each end of their Toronto to Miami snowbird trip.
- Guests at Miraval are in their 30s to 50s. Guests at Canyon Ranch are in their 40s to 70s. And they go back every year like clockwork.
- There are some hardcore fitness options at Miraval. There are many more super hardcore fitness options at Canyon Ranch.
- The quiet spaces, the pool, the meditation rooms are better designed at Miraval. The gym is better designed at Canyon Ranch.
- The food is great at Miraval. The food is good at Canyon Ranch. Can you guess which one serves alcohol?
It's hard to say which one I liked better; they are simply different. Miraval did not have hungry mosquitos.