History

The world’s premier health and wellness resort began with an Aha! moment. On New Year’s Day in 1978, Mel Zuckerman, overweight, sedentary, stressed-out, with high blood pressure and a galaxy of other health problems, resolved to lose 40 pounds. By March 4, he had gained four. 

Desperate, he fled to a “fat farm” in California, planning to spend 10 days. He ended up staying a month and changing his life forever. There, he met an inspiring fitness expert who had him running a mile and a half within 10 days. As a result, Mel realized that he had within himself the power to dramatically improve his health and happiness, and he recognized that he needed to arrange his life so that he could continue along the healthy track he’d found.

His wife, Enid, had long thought that Tucson would be a good place for a health spa and had urged Mel, a home developer, to build one. This idea, coupled with their passion for sharing the concept of healthy living with anyone who wanted to come to them, resulted in the creation of Canyon Ranch in Tucson, which opened its doors in December, 1979, to no fanfare whatsoever.

After a rocky first couple of years, Canyon Ranch became famous and, in time, extraordinarily successful as health consciousness exploded in the culture. With their business partner Jerry Cohen, the Zuckermans opened Canyon Ranch in Lenox in 1989 and Canyon Ranch Living – Miami Beach with the adjacent Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa in 2008. For each resort, they renovated, remodeled and enhanced a historic property in a beautiful natural setting: The Zuckermans apply their steadfast belief in the power of positive change to each Canyon Ranch property as well as to the innovative services they create.

Canyon Ranch has been in the forefront of expanding the concept of a health resort by introducing a comprehensive professional approach, with a staff that includes registered dieticians, board-certified physicians, exercise physiologists, licensed therapists and other highly skilled, caring staff in order to provide guests with every possible resource.

The Zuckermans have enlarged their vision to incorporate healthy living into vacations, work, home and the community. In 1999, they opened the first Canyon Ranch SpaClub® at The Venetian® Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. They set sail in 2004 with SpaClub® onboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2®. They created the ultimate in healthy living with Canyon Ranch Living®, residential communities in Miami Beach, Lenox and Tucson.

In 2002, the Zuckerman family and Canyon Ranch co-founder Jerry Cohen established a separate entity, Canyon Ranch Institute, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to educate, inspire and empower every person to prevent disease and embrace a life of wellness. In 2006, Richard Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, 17th Surgeon General of the United States (2002–2006), became president of the Institute and a vice chairman of Canyon Ranch.

Today, Canyon Ranch remains a fast-growing, forward-looking company that remains fiercely devoted to its mission: Creating environments and products that promote health and the highest enjoyment of life for all people. Members of the second and third generations of the Zuckerman and Cohen families are deeply involved in leading the company forward.