Canyon Ranch


There is one path following a creek in Canyon Ranch that is lined with beautiful spring flowers. Donna didn't like it. The flowers to her were too out of place in the desert, unnatural. Whereas I thought they were lovely. They reminded me of the spring flowers I would see along the creeks in Colorado in June. Though the flowers were partly wrong - delphiniums instead of lupines, oriental poppies instead of wild ones, pansies and snapdragons - the colors evoked the same feel of lushness along a creek side in spring.

Flowers near the stream at Canyon Ranch Wild flowers in Sabino Canyon

Donna found the cacti and other desert plants more to her liking. To me they were just as unnatural as the creek-side flowers, and just a beautiful, in their own austere way. The desert plants were all so carefully placed. In nature the plants grow where they can find root and survive, often in colonies and often scraggly, but here it was a lusher garden of thorns. Bare spaces were carefully raked, and dry stone washes were artfully intertwined. The plants the gardeners chose were mostly large dramatic plants. Different kinds of agave adorn the grounds. One taller than I, a century plant, had thick blue-green spikes thicker than my arm with mesmerizing patterns mottling their sides. Another had thin delicate spikes, whose eye-catching pattern was in the whorl of the leaves - actually a sotol and not an agave.

Such is the beauty of Canyon Ranch, and the inside of some of the places were just as stunning. My favorite place was the Watsu room. I will be going for Watsu later on Saturday, but we had to peek in when we were at the aquatics center. The decoration in that room is perfectly done, in a southwestern motif. Each touch beautifully thought out. Even the floor was done in perfect red sandstone.

Much of the rest of the place is decorated with well thought out touches. The handles to the doors to the spa are even beautiful. Art adorns the walls and shelves, most of it for sale. This beauty is the first thing that you notice when you come. The second is how friendly most of the people are.

This trip was planned by Donna, my mother-in-law. She wanted to take her daughter and two dauther-in-laws to Canyon Ranch. Five days of exercise, achy muscles, massages, relaxation and bonding.

The text on this website comes directly from the journal that Daphne Gould kept during the vacation. In addition to the journal text, there are over 100 pictures, which you can access from the photo index. Click the right-pointing arrow (below) to move on to the journal.

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Text and images © Copyright 2001 Joel and Daphne Gould. If there are any problems or questions email Daphne Gould.