Beauty & Wellness

Live a Little!

Follow our resident health and fitness guru as she guides you on her first-hand account of the life-balancing (and life-altering) multi-pronged wellness experience she had at Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa in Miami Beach.
Text by Luisana Suegart Photos courtesy of Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa Miami Beach | July 8, 2018 | Beauty & Wellness

On a not-so-sunny South Florida morning, I was looking forward to some sensual healing, so I decided to stop at the place all my friends and colleagues had been raving about: Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa in Miami Beach on 68th and Collins at the historic (and authentically restored and expanded) Carillon Hotel. It boasts the largest wellness spa in Florida (A whopping 70,000 square feet) and features a full spa, rooftop bamboo pool, state-of-the art fitness center, giant indoor rock-climbing wall, and the now-legendary Aquavana (more on that later!). They also offer an integrated on-site facility for Canyon Ranch Health and an oceanfront dining experience at Canyon Ranch Grill. But it wasn’t until I learned that their slogan was “The Power of Possibility” that I was sold and knew I had to stop in for a visit.
When I arrived, to describe the welcomed assault on my senses as “grand” would be a severe understatement! Once the impact of the place cozied up to me, I changed into a plush robe and soft, rubber sandals, before meeting with Adolfo, who would be performing my Canyon Ranch Massage. Adolfo explained that the one-hour signature session is tailored to each client’s needs, starting with the heated ergonomic bed, which he set to my level of comfort. Ultra-dimmed lighting and relaxing sounds of nature complemented the scent of the soothing organic oils and the warmed aromatherapy towels that were applied throughout the treatment. In keeping with the wellness theme, Adolfo encouraged me to self-rehabilitate, teaching me tailored stretches and exercises that can help prevent future aches and pains.
With my keepsake Chakra stone in hand, I moved on to the most unforgettable part of my experience: The other-worldly Aquavana, a suite that features an array of healing waters, thermal cabins and soaking tubs exclusive to Canyon Ranch. It is at once breathtaking and unforgettable from the moment you approach to the instant your session is complete. First on my circuit was The Experiential Rains Shower, which simulates exotic settings at the touch of a button. “Cool Fog,” “Tropical Rain” and “Caribbean Monsoon” transitioned from soft mists to heavier downpours, with sporadic changes in lighting and sound to match the situation. One word: WOW!
The Crystal Steam Room and Finnish Sauna both delivered on their promise of steam heat, while each was infused with aromas to establish distinctive experiences. Shortly after, I retreated to The Igloo, where very cool air (and the even cooler pebbled floor) welcomed me to menthol, mint and eucalyptus mist experiences that were illuminated by twinkling fiber optics. Feeling very adventurous at this point, I followed with the HydroSpa, a soak featuring massage fountains and body-jets, where I forewent my fears and bathed European style, á la nude. Now I know what I’ve been missing!
With so much more to see, I checked out of the spa and met with Marketing Coordinator Daniella Gallego, who gave me the grand tour of the property. “Our philosophy is healthy living and wellness,” she said. “We make it simple for people to partake in that lifestyle.”
Daniella told me that Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa Miami Beach is special because of its á la carte options, whereas other Canyon Ranch locations offer all-inclusive packages. Program Advisor Manager Jessica Fishman explained that guests at the hotel each receive a program advising consultation, by phone or in person, where they are informed of the most beneficial treatments. “We want guests to transform mentally and physically,” she says. “We focus on how their stay can enhance their lives to be better.”
With more than 40 indoor and outdoor fitness classes offered daily, guests and residents can benefit from group or personalized sessions, along with state-of-the-art machines, a Kinesis room, rock climbing wall, and an oceanfront yoga and pilates studio. In addition, the expert exercise physiologists can design a take-home plan for guests wishing to carry on with a fitness program.
One of the major features that really sets this place apart is its Canyon Ranch Health medical facility, which is run under the close supervision of Medical Director Dr. Karen Koffler. The medical professionals working with Canyon Ranch Health consult with one another to find solutions for patients in need, performing full assessments and focusing on the best treatment options available based on specific medical histories. The facility offers an integrative holistic approach in a stress-free, relaxed healthcare setting by a team of professional health practitioners including a physical therapist, nutritionist, energy healer and life management consultant. In a category all his own, the infallible Chinese Medical Practitioner, Jim Rohr, is also on staff. Despite some hesitation, he managed to talk me into an acupuncture session after he took a quick glance at my tongue and noticed that my Chi could use a boost!
When hunger strikes, it’s time to eat. And at this point in my experience I was starving. So I headed over to Canyon Ranch Grill where I caught up with Executive Chef Elizabeth Barlow and Nutritionist Larisa Alonso as they discussed options for the menu. With a refreshing, homemade passion fruit soda, I sat with the pair to learn about the nourishing cuisine, which serves as the last part of the complete wellness equation. “We use whole foods and stay away from anything that’s processed,” Chef Barlow told me, adding that the menu is based on the different dietary needs of guests. “We also work with foods in season and buy locally.”
After a hearty yet healthy (yes, the two adjectives can co-exist!), I completed one more slow stroll across the lobby and exited back into the hustle-and-bustle of the city. I was pleasantly full, my muscles were relaxed and my skin was glowing from the inside out. My brief experience had made a major impact on my life. I learned a little, healed a little and most importantly, I lived a little!
To experience all the great services Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa Miami Beach has to offer, or for a complete list of spa treatments and special wellness offers, call 305.514.7000 or visit for more information.