Canyon Ranch Lenox: Weekend Getaway

Mike and I had the greatest weekend. On Friday night we drove up to Lenox, MA to the gorgeous Canyon Ranch for a little pre-birthday celebrations! We arrived late, were greeted by the most friendly staff, had a quick dinner (they packed us gluten-free cookies to-go in our room), and we went to relax before a fun-filled day ahead.

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We woke up and explored this gorgeous place. It is so serene, quaint, friendly, and relaxing.

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We walked down, sat on some adirondack chairs overlooking the woods and rocked (in the words of Emily from Zivamind) a 15-minute meditation to kick start a day of fitness, relaxation, and wellness.

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We ate phenomenal food, took awesome fitness classes, got pampered in the spa, and got to take in the gorgeous views of Lenox. At night, they have quite the epic DVD collection filled with old and super new movies. Since the lovely staff always gave us soft, delicious gluten-free cookies to go, the nights were relaxing and filled with cookies and movies in bed, something we never ever get to do!  It was delightful.

All in all, it was truly a fantastic weekend getaway, and with all there was to do- over 40+ indoor and outdoor fitness activities daily, workshops, talks, treatments- I could totally have seen us staying for days and days! 

The Food

There are two main restaurants at Canyon Ranch. The Dining Room (where we ate dinner the first night and lunch the following day) and The Cafe (where we are breakfast both days and dinner Saturday night). The Cafe is new. It is farm-to-table style, and also where you can grab a snack throughout the day, a cappuccino, a smoothie, and so on. Of course, The Cafe was right up my alley and we loved loved loved it there. Especially Sunday brunch because… brunch!

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I’m merging together breakfast (Saturday) + brunch (Sunday), because they were both just so fantastic. I started each day with an almond milk cappuccino and went from there. The accommodations for gluten/grain/dairy-free were beyond amazing. I was greeted with a full ingredient list of every single food at CR upon arrival, down to the brand of tomato sauce they use! They had three different types of almond milk, local maple syrup, coconut water for the smoothies. Everything down to the T!

The breakfast you ordered, with the open bar to help yourself to other things, and the brunch was station buffet-style. 
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Everything was beyond delicious! We grabbed a quick lunch on Saturday, and then got right back into our day of fitness and the spa! 

Dinner at The Cafe was a highlight for sure. I loved seeing where a variety of the food I was eating came from. What is better than that? It is so apparent how much the chefs value their food and their expertise.  

Bravo to the CR Lenox chefs. It was truly amazing seeing your craft in action. 

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P.S. There is no alcohol served at Canyon Ranch. I actually really enjoyed this little detox aspect.

The Fitness  

CR Lenox is different then any spa I’ve been to. It is super focused on fitness, wellness, and health out of just the food and the spa. There were lectures on sleep, an integrative medicine practice where you could actually get tests done right there, and so much more. 

I took a circuit class, spin class, and a yoga class. Now I’m not the biggest Yogi but I am making an effort to get more into it, so I decided to take a class. Antoinette was the teacher and she was beyond amazing. I loved her nature, energy and the vibes of the class. I wish she was here in Boston! Mike took a meditation workshop, a yoga class (more intense than mine), and a kettlebell class which ended up being one-on-one since he was the only person who showed up! 

I really loved the classes, and also loved spending time in the Women’s Spa. Sauna, steam room, hot tub, relaxation area, and more. Total bliss.

Another highlight that we loved was the natural “sports drink” in the fitness area. Seeing the word Sports Drink you can imagine what I thought the ingredient list would look like, but I was in fact wrong! A blend of iced teas, orange juice, white grape juice, lemon oil, and sea salt. That’s it! We added a little to our waters to fuel us through the day. I think I’ll have to recreate this one for all of you 🙂

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 Next time, we’ll stay for longer and get outside for one of the hikes and other activities that we couldn’t fit into our stay! 

The Spa

Mike and I both got massages, mine an 80-minute deep tissue and his a 50-minute Swedish. I also got a deep cleansing facial which was phenomenal. I loved the spa area of CR and the awesome, knowledgeable staff there!

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Disclosure: I was not paid to write this post, but did receive complementary amenities. All opinions are 100% always my own! 

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Jamaica: Round Hill Resort & Villas

Jamaica: Round Hill Resort & Villas

I think it’s pretty clear when talking to guests at Round Hill, many of which will most definitely return (including us), that it’s truly a gem of a place. Located on a little round hill on the edge of Montego Bay, you feel as if you are at the end of the world, in a secluded private little nook on the edge of the ocean. It’s magical. From the ocean front-everything, to the decor, the local organic food, and the beautiful botanicals surrounding you every where you look, it’s a truly special place.

With 36 ocean-front rooms and 27 villas, Round Hill isn’t your ordinary big grand hotel by any means. It’s smaller, private, and charming- which was one of my favorite parts about it after staying at large, less-personal hotels the past two years.

The Room & Hotel Amenities:

Ralph Lauren did a pretty amazing job designing this place! I loved the old-charm vibes of the original keys, the library and tv room (and lack of tv’s in the hotel rooms), and so much more. 

The hotel rooms called The Pineapple House, contains 36 oceanfront rooms. the top being just a window and the lower level having a porch with a breakfast table.  They have a grand bed, a nice (updated) bathroom, and a resting area. There is a large wardrobe and various baskets to unpack clothes into, though I found myself itching for a dresser with drawers at one point. I loved the decor, and loved waking up to the ocean breeze.

 

What We Ate:

breakfastBetween the smoothie bar, the egg station, the mini pastries, various fresh juices, and delicious Blue Mountain Coffee, I’d say breakfast was one of our favorites.

Food_Smoothiebar1Smoothie Station

The lunch menu was so great, and with enough variation that we never had to eat the same thing twice. Fresh local food & on occasion- cocktails! If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that we even got to meet and talk with the chef, who was so beyond sweet. 

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Afternoon tea is on from 4:00-5:00pm and is complementary. You’ll find hot and iced tea, mini sandwiches, scones, rum balls, rock buns (my favorite), jerk popcorn, organic veggies with fresh organic hummus, and more!

For dinner there were two options, you could either order off the main menu- which changed nightly, or a buffet style (Wednesday night was curry night, and Friday night was Jerk night). We ordered off the menu every night except for Friday when we did the Jerk buffet. I think Mike and I agree that this was hands down our favorite meal of the trip!  Jerk chicken, jerk sausage, suckling pig, salads to start (mini lobster salad spoons… mmm…), and perfect desserts. We were so happily full!

 About The Food:

A huge part of why I was so excited to visit Round Hill was the food. They pride themselves in using local, organic, and fresh ingredients. Aside from the farm-to-table menus, they have their own organic garden where they have their own fresh herbs, limes, avocado trees, and more. In the past when we’ve traveled and stayed at hotels, the all-inclusive menu buffets were always glutenous and bothered my stomach (without fail). I was so happy to find a place that takes such pride into each dish, cares about where the food comes from, and offers variety.

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Day-To-Day:

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Our day began by waking up to the ocean breeze coming through our window. We got ready for our day, either by heading out early to read & meditate outside, or heading straight to breakfast. 

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After breakfast, we headed to the main beach to start off our day. We generally ended up over in the adults only tranquility area by the spa, where you could lounge on outdoor beds, lounge chairs, or a hammock, and order some drinks and a smaller menu of food. 

That side of the resort was by far our favorite. One of the days we got massages in the spa, other days we just lounged in the shade, hit up the gym, or went in the pool on that side. The gym was updated, spacious, and fantastic- with a view of the ocean looking out. I loved that this side of Round Hill was a grassy area right at the edge of the ocean. We ended up strolling back for lunch at some point, and then seeing where the day took us from there!

Day1-SPAThe spa!

Before each night began, we ended the day with a dip in the ocean or the infinity pool watching the sun setting in the background. I loved that the evenings started a bit later here. It really went with the whole laid back and relaxing vibe of the resort. Dinner first begins until 7:30, so you could easily be out on the beach or over in the adult’s only tranquility area until that time! I mean, how can you not stay out during this sunset? 

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After getting ready, we made a quick stop at the Ralph Lauren bar where we had pre-dinner cocktails. From there, dinner and the nightly entertainment, except for the night we ventured out, were fun and relaxing. Most nights we ended up going to sleep fairly early, likely a combination of long days in the sun and not a crazy night scene (definitely different from past hotels we’ve stayed at). The entertainment and evening were based around your dinner, so I liked that it started a bit later into the evening.

What I read:

 I brought along two books: The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins & The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes. Both are the perfect beach reads. Quick and has you hooked from the start! 

What We Did Outside The Resort:

When we had lunch with Linda, the Director of Sales and Marketing (love her), she told us about a concert in town with the legendary Freddy McGregor later in the week. We decided to venture out to dinner and the show. We headed to the Hip Strip for dinner (Marguerite’s seafood), then went a few doors down to the show. I think it’s safe to say we fell in love with the music and culture that night! We had the best time. It was small and the show was right on the beach with the ocean behind. Gorgeous and so much fun.

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We also took one more little trip; we went to the famous Scotchie’s for some authentic Jerk food that we heard so much about. Man it did not disappoint. I officially love all things jerk! That scotch bonnet pepper is just too good. Somehow I need to get some for my garden here so I can make a real deal jerk sauce!

Highlights:

1. The Food

2. The size of the resort compared to others we’ve stayed at

3. The people and friendly staff

4. The relaxing tranquility (adult-only) spa section

5. The Sunsets

6. The proximity to the airport

7. The private, intimate feel of the resort

8. The gym and hotel amenities 

9. The rooms being ocean front

And that’s just a start!

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Will We Be Back?

Without a doubt. I am already looking forward to planning my next Round Hill getaway. The entire trip we kept describing the resort as ‘a little gem,’ and as ‘magical’. It truly is a special place.

Day-WATERRound Hill Resort from the tranquility center/spa/gym area. 

 

As a disclaimer, I received complimentary additions & some accommodations for our stay, but was not compensated or asked to write a review. All opinions are 100% my own. We simply really loved our stay at Round Hill and I wanted to share about the resort and our trip with all of you!

Recapping Austin, TX: One Meal At A Time!

This past week Mike, two of our great friends Carly & Dave, and I headed to Austin, Texas for a little mini vacation. We had the best time exploring the city- everything from daytime activities, the nightlife, to of course… the food!

Mike and I arrived on Thursday morning (note: we decided not to rent a car and to just Uber it up around the city. I’m totally glad we didn’t end up renting one, seeing as the cabs we’re fairly cheap). We stopped at the house we rented (air bnb), to drop of our things and grab Carly and Dave- and headed right to La Barbecue. We ordered the brisket, ribs, sausage, and the chipotle slaw. We only waited for about 30 minutes which was totally manageable, and it was all fantastic. The ribs and brisket had our vote! Meal number one- huge success.

We then headed into downtown to explore. We walked around and then popped into Searsucker for a cocktail.  We continued onto Barton Springs, where we relaxed and cooled off from the heat! From there we headed over to Lick Ice Cream where I got one of the dairy-free options! Coconut Chocolate PB Swirl. Essentially heaven! Then, as if we couldn’t eat anymore, we headed to Torchy’s Tacos and I got The Democrat and The Pink, which were both out-of-control good. Dave and I decided that The Democrat was the winner! 

We headed back to the house, showered up, and headed to dinner at The Odd Duck. Dave happened to know the chef there, Sam, and along with all of the deliciousness we ordered, he brought out some more amazing dishes on top of that. Everything there was insanely delicious. Seriously, one dish was better than the next. I think that was one of my favorite meals of all time- no joke! We then headed to Whisler’s for a drink. The vibe was great there.

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Day Two:

We woke up and headed to my new favorite coffee shop ever: Texas Coffee Traders. We got a tour of the coffee process, and I grabbed an almond milk iced latte. That place is seriously amazing. They are so proud of their coffee and are super knowledgable. We bought some coffee beans to go!

We walked over to Veracruz All Natural for breakfast tacos and I think it’s safe to say I don’t think I’ll find a taco as good! I got eggs, chorizo, sautéed spinach, and refried beans on a corn tortilla. We headed to the capital for a little educational tour, wen’t to see some graffiti art, and walked around- where I found Tears Of Joy, a hot sauce store! 

Finally, we headed to Picnik Austin. Naomi the owner wasn’t there, but the girls there took good care of us! All so sweet. We shared a beef curry dish, a blondie (AND I took one to go), a mocha butter coffee, and the chocolate chip cookies. AH-MAZING. Like wow, I can’t even believe a place like Picnik exists. My old friend Julie came to meet us there and it was so great catching up with her!  Conclusion? I SO wish we had Picnik in Boston. Dinner tonight was at Salty Sow. Another winner. Everything was fantastic from the brussels sprout salad, the tacos, to the duck fat fries. That night we headed to Rainey Street. We had the best time. I’ve never been to a street of bars quite like that. All of the bars were houses transformed into bars. Super fun! I really liked that each bar had specialty cocktails, rather than crappy bar drinks. We even saw a pig roast happening out back of one of the bars called Banger’s (see Instagram for that picture).

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Day Three: 

Day Three was a rainy day. We headed back to Texas Coffee Traders! I got an almond milk cappuccino which was delish. We had brunch reservations at Olivia, and again, another winner. The food in Austin is seriously good, ya’ll! We decided to head back to the house since it was rainy and cold, so (naturally, more food) we picked up sushi from a food truck we heard great things about. It was decent, but didn’t blow us away. We relaxed, watched a movie, and hung out until dinner. 

Dinner this night was my birthday dinner! We went to Sway Thai, based on many recommendations, and it was fabulous. So many delicious dishes, one after the next. This night we went out on ‘Dirty 6th,’ a way different vibe from Rainey Street- still very fun. Late night- Nachos (sans cheese) from a food truck. I am amazed at the whole food truck industry down there in Austin. Seriously cool.

Austin DAY 3Our last day we woke up and sadly found that Texas Coffee Traders was CLOSED! So sad. We went for our last day of breakfast taco’s at Veracruz All Natural. I got the same exact order as the other day. So sad to be leaving those tacos!!

All in all- a seriously awesome city and a fabulous trip. I highly recommend visiting if you haven’t!

Have you ever been to Austin, TX? What is you favorite city to travel to?