AT RANCHO LA PUERTA, wellness opportunities incorporate a multitude of mind, body and spirit modalities that refresh, renew and reenergize. I am convinced The Ranch, as it is affectionately called, offers another singular element that contributes to its reputation as one of the world’s best destination wellness resorts. That component is the natural beauty of the 4,000-acre nature preserve which encompasses a landscaped, artistically enhanced, 150-acre parcel on which most ranch activities take place.
During my recent — and fourth — visit, I relived my first property tour of some decades back and experienced a Proustian madeleine moment while following a guide and walking along clay-tile paths with geranium borders that wind across stone bridges and past beds planted with sage, rosemary and lavender. Beyond the enticing aroma, the sound of trickling fountains, the views of sculpture-studded gardens and the vista of an imposing Mount Kuchumaa backdrop all triggered the same sense of bien-être, or well-being, I first experienced at this magnificent, Spanish-style, red-tile-roofed, hillside village-like complex. Even the handcrafted, folk art-style directional signs to the dining hall, women’s and men’s health center, exercise gyms and pavilions, the Mercado, pools, library, museum, art studio and TV and WiFi lounges reminded me The Ranch takes advantage of every opportunity to create beauty and reduce stress. (Poor signage can cause agita, even while trying to get to a massage appointment.)
Yoga? Pilates? Tennis lessons? Read by the pool? The number of activities impresses: 50 daily classes, seven-mile morning hikes, five-mile Road Runner Trail Run and an array of fitness classes. With so many physical, intellectual and spiritual activities — and beauty and body treatments — each guest develops his or her own daily itinerary.
I’ve hiked and attempted to learn how to meditate, do Pilates, take better photographs, dance salsa and cook healthfully. Cooking classes have been my favorite activity since my first session in the original ranch kitchen. (We made balsamic-topped pizza, no cheese!) These days, the three weekly hands-on sessions often feature guest chefs and cookbook authors. The classes begin with a garden tour of Tres Estrellas — the six-acre organic garden — outside La Cocina Que Canta (“The Kitchen That Sings”), a stunning, state-of-the-art culinary center.
Colorful, farm-to-fork, healthful meals are served within a spacious, art-filled Dining Hall and adjacent terraces. Breakfast and lunch feature self-serve buffets; at dinner, the printed multicourse menu offers two entrées, including a vegetarian option and locally caught seafood several times a week. (Many guests request half orders of both.) Mexican favorites count among the ethnic dishes: guacamole; salsa; huevos rancheros; tacos on house-made tortillas; and, for dessert, an apple-, cranberry- and nut-stuffed empanada (no empanada for gluten-free guests).
Wellness has been the core principle at The Ranch since a teenage Deborah Szekely (now 96 and long-established as the “Godmother of the Wellness Revolution”) and her professor-husband, Edmond Szekely, founded The Essene School of Life. Even in the 1940s the program featured (his) lifestyle lectures, (her) fitness activities and two hours of daily garden chores, all for “$17.50 a week; bring your own tent.” (Idyllic weather was and is, still, part of the appeal.)
From the start, farm-fresh, organic food and a mostly plant-based diet have been intrinsic to its mission. Now the ranch’s organic farm grows 250 varieties of produce; supplies 40–80 percent of the menu; and practices sustainable methods, resource conservation and educational outreach. Even the new La Puerta Core Essentials skin-care line is made with organic, eco-certified ingredients and sustainably harvested plants and herbs.
Education is the element that distinguishes resort spas from destination spas. At The Ranch, a variety of experts teach specialized sessions each week. Ms. Szekely, my hero and role model, continues to share her impressive knowledge of “how to live and age well.” She incorporates her lifestyle choices, experiences and up-to-the-minute nutritional and wellness information in the insights she shares with guests — including two of my three daughters — about “the longer-living, younger life.”
Some of her life lessons: Eat (smaller) portions appropriate to your size. Follow a mostly organic, vegetarian diet. Get daily exercise. Appreciate nature. Make friends with younger people.
Accommodations are comfortably lovely, with traditional Mexican tile floors and counters and handcrafted wall hangings. Like many, ours featured a fireplace, an expansive terrace and a mountain view. (Three newly built, luxurious Heavenly Villas include WiFi and plunge pools.) And the warm, local and nurturing staff is as impressive as the ambience.
Some guests find spiritual sustenance in meditating, doing tai chi, circling the labyrinth — a replica of the one at the medieval Chartres Cathedral — or dining in silence or alone. For me, what sets The Ranch apart are those stunning walks from here to there and back again, repeated during an eight-day week. Being immersed in beauty while not giving much thought to one’s personal looks — casual dress, natural hair and no makeup is the norm — simply makes me feel good.
Rancho La Puerta Wellness Resort and Spa
Carretera Mexicali-Tijuana K.M.
Rancho la Puerta
21520 Tecate, B.C.
tel 858 925 1214
Read This Next
Best Walking Tours
June 2019Jun 1, 2019
FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.
The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko in Japan Introduces Spring Experiences
The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko in Japan offers travelers exciting experiences this spring. Opened in July 2020, the property overlooks Lake Chūzenji and Mount Nantai in Japan’s Northern Kanto region. With cherry blossoms (Sakura) set to bloom in April, the area is the perfect destination for a spring getaway.
Enter to Win $500 and Get Six Months’ Free Access to the New GT App
Now through May 8, sign up for a free six-month trial of the Global Traveler app and be automatically entered for a chance to win a $500 gift card of your choice for Amazon, Apple or American Express.
New Limited-Time Bonus Offers from Scenic, Emerald Cruises
Scenic Luxury Cruises and Emerald Cruises currently offer travelers savings of up to $500 per cabin and a 50 percent reduction on deposits on select 2023/2024 river and ocean itineraries. The offers are available through March 31 and can be combined with others, such as early-booking savings of up to $1,500 per couple and a Pay in Full bonus that includes free or reduced airfare options.
The Cape Ann Museum Announces Major Edward Hopper Exhibit
This July, The Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, Massachusetts, hosts Edward Hopper & Cape Ann: Illuminating an American Landscape, the first major exhibition to explore Hopper’s connection to Cape Ann during his formative years as an artist. Visitors will be treated to 65 works that include paintings, prints and drawings assembled from collections housed at Whitney Museum of American Art; Brooklyn Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; private lenders; and other institutions.
Exclusive Savings: Cruise Along the Danube River with Global Traveler
Exclusive Sailing with Global Traveler
March 2023Mar 22, 2023
Global Traveler Celebrates the 2022 Winners of the GT Tested Reader Survey Awards
Travel is back and better than ever! Last year brought a big boom to our beloved industry, and we were thrilled to celebrate the best of the best in December 2022 as we honored the winners of our 19th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards at The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles, located downtown at LA Live!
Austrian Airlines to Bring Back Flying Chefs
DailyMar 22, 2023
Pendry Washington DC – The Wharf Review
eFlyer ReviewsMar 22, 2023
eFlyer DealsMar 22, 2023
Brown Hotels Celebrates Beachside Greek Resorts Reopening with New Offer
In honor of the seasonal reopening of its beachside Greek resorts, Brown Hotels offers a generous 25 percent discount on all bookings made by the end of April. This discount can apply to Brown Hotels’ beachside properties of Isla Brown Corinthia, Brown Beach Chalkida, Brown Beach Eretria and DAVE by the Beach Loutraki.
FXExpress Traveler of the Year
FXExpress Traveler of the Year Contest 2023
eFlyer DealsMar 22, 2023
Air Tahiti Nui Announces Limited-Time Sale on Flights from LAX to AKL
Through April 24, passengers booking a flight with Air Tahiti Nui from Los Angeles (LAX) to Auckland (AKL) enjoy round-trip fares from $974 per person in Moana economy class or $2,394 in Moana premium class.