PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas March 2023

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B efore there was Goop, b e f o r e m e d i c i n a l psychedelics were on their way to legalization, b e f o re c e l e b r i t i e s detailed their shaman- led retreats, there was Canyon Ranch. Opened in 1979 by Melvin "Mel" and Enid Zuckerman, it was born out of a personal desire to live a healthier lifestyle. Mel, then in his 50s and 40 pounds overweight, feared he was heading down the same path as his father, who had just died. But after an exercise- and diet-fueled stint at a California spa, the land developer felt invigorated. His wife urged him to open a sort of community for healthy living — something greater than a spa. They settled on a 150-acre property named the Double U Dude Ranch in the Sonoran Desert of Tucson and began to plot out their risky endeavor. It was the era of fat farms, where retreats virtually starved and over-exercised guests to help them lose weight. There was no wellness industry, no market research that proved their holistic concept would succeed. But passion pushed them forward. A year and a $6.8 million renovation later, the Zuckermans welcomed their first guests (eight in total, but only one paid the $85 per night fee) to Canyon Ranch. Within three years, the place took off, with celebrity bookings, magazine features, and TV specials. A decade later, they created an East Coast offshoot in the wooded Berkshires of Lenox, Massachusetts, in the 1898 Bellefontaine Mansion built by Carrere and Hastings. Since then, Canyon Ranch has continued to trailblaze in the wellness industry. When Mel and Enid stepped down in 2017, John Goff — whose Fort Worth-based firm, Crescent Real Estate, has had a stake in Canyon Ranch since the late '90s — became the sole owner. He opened a third resort in Woodside, California, and expanded the services offered at the existing ones. The Austin location opening in 2025 will mark the first time a Canyon Ranch resort is built from the ground up; Crescent Real Estate partnered with New York-based entertainment firm and casino operator VICI Properties to secure the $200 million in capital required for development. Goff's most lucrative contribution to the brand, however, may well be the introduction of membership-based clubs and a digital app for those members who won't have an urban club nearby. "The resort is somewhere that people visit once, maybe twice a year. So, we wanted to give them a place to practice daily what they learned," Fulkerson says. "We know one of the things that drives behavioral change is having the right community around you. So, we're building a really strong community element into the clubs." Something like Equinox meets Soho House meets The Ritz Spa. At the Fort Worth club — located in the new Crescent Hotel development in the Museum District — members will receive personalized coaching and progress benchmarking, with an ongoing social support system; they'll also have access to the restaurants, rooftop bar, office space, events courtyard, 200-room boutique hotel, residences, and state-of-the-art spa and fitness center. The app will offer additional wellness insights and round-the-clock guidance to guests, wherever they may be. In Houston, the club will be located at 4411 San Felipe Street, near Loop 610. Picture it: You feel rejuvenated and determined after a week at an idyllic Canyon Ranch resort. There won't be post-resort blues, though, because you'll be checking into your local club tomorrow … and the next day, and the next, and the next. Clockwise from top left: The Bellefontaine Mansion in Lenox, Massachusetts, which houses Canyon Ranch. Canyon Ranch Tucson. Double U Dude Ranch, 1970s, which became Canyon Ranch Tucson. Canyon Ranch Lenox library. 39

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