Canyon Ranch in Lenox is generally guarded like Fort Knox, access limited to those who can afford to spend a couple grand per day to retreat and recharge. Rumor has it it's where Hilary Clinton went to regain her equilibrium after her defeat in the primary election. I don't know if that's true or not, but I can report firsthand, having spent a few days there on assignment earlier this year, that it is indeed a special place.
I've written a lot about spas, and my first impression of Canyon Ranch was that it was too sprawling and corporate. In the end, though, the staff won me over. A lot of smart, caring, talented people work there. And, unlike some other health spas, they're preaching good common sense. Their philosophy of health isn't whack-a-doodle extreme. For instance, they won't make you drink hempmilk (no offense to those who like the stuff). One leaves the ranch feeling invigorated and armed with tools for living a more joyfully engaged and healthy life. Other than the fact that the experience costs so much, what's not to like?
They usually don't sell day passes, but now through December 21, 2008 they're offering Berkshire residents a day rate of $225, including a gourmet lunch, unlimited use of the facilities, lectures, classes, and one service valued at $130 (which won't go far, but you could probably get a very nice pedicure).
If you do go, be sure to sit at the "Captain's Table" during lunch, which is open to anyone who wants to meet new people. I had wonderful, unexpected conversations there with a guy who described his job as "nation building in a box," a Harvard professor who was writing a book about dignity, and a young Brooklyn Hip Hop fashion designer.
Call 800-742-9000 for details and reservations.