2014 Fact Sheet for Rancho La Puerta

Have you ever just wanted to take a few days and get away from it all? At Rancho La Puerta, a wellness resort located in Baja California and just a short drive from San Diego, you can do just that. The ranch was founded more than 70 years ago by Edmond and Deborah Szekely with one simple vision in mind -- creating a family owned and operated destination fitness resort and spa. Today, visitors can take advantage of its open spaces and serene atmosphere, which allow them to relax, refocus and rejuvenate. Rancho La Puerta has everything a destination-resort traveler could want, from hiking trails to an onsite organic farm. Visitors can enjoy yoga, acupuncture and even world-class spa treatments.
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  1 Rancho La Puerta, founded in 1940 by spa pioneers Edmond and Deborah Szekely, continues to set the standard   for modern-day fitness resorts and spas The srcinal “fitness resort” and spa , Rancho La Puerta welcomes some 140 guests each   week to its 3,000 private acres of gardens, mountains and meadows in Baja California, Mexico. All facilities and land are for the exclusive use of guests who come for an entire week, Saturday to Saturday, ensuring the delights of a warm and welcoming shared community. The climate is near-perfect; warm and dry, with some showers and cold nights, in winter, and warm with very low humidity and no rain in summer. Rancho La Puerta is located only about 25 miles “as the crow flies” from the Pacific Ocean (near Sa n Diego, California, U.S.A.) at an elevation of 1,700 feet.    Rancho La Puerta’s fitness program is unmatched: presided over by a staff of over 20 full-time instructors in- residence (the “best of the best”). Exercise classes and activities include   Pilates (Reformer and mat work), extensive yoga offerings, guided hikes on over 25 miles of wildlands trails, Feldenkrais, fitness ball, cardio drumming , T’ai Chi, trekking, TRX, aqua-exercise classes of all types, dance, circuit training, NIA (Neuromuscular Integrative Action), strength training with and without weights, stretch, posture, kettlebell, cardio-cycling, meditation, and many more. Approximately five classes are offered every hour on the hour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day of a seven-night stay  —known as the Ranch’s famous “Fitness Week.” Many classes are sequential in developing a student’s expertise, assuring that guests  become stronger and more skilled in several disciplines by the end of the week.   The cuisine is semi-vegetarian , featuring an abundance of organic fruits and vegetables. We   serve lacto-ovo dishes as well (i.e. breakfast eggs, and cheese, lightly used, in some entrees and side dishes). The freshest-of-the-fresh seafood from the port of Ensenada, Baja California, br  ought in by our own driver and buyer from a fishermen’s market where the local boats come in daily, allows the Ranch chefs to prepare spectacular seafood dishes five times week. All meals offer both vegetarian and modified-vegetarian alternatives. Weight loss, in those who desire it, is a frequent by-product of the Rancho La Puerta experience  because of the combination of healthy eating and increased activity  —   but the resort does not consider itself a “weight loss facility.” Those on gluten -restricted diets can be accommodated, as can those who keep Kosher informally (although we never prepare meats, our kitchens do not have rabbinical inspections).   Spa treatments and therapies , offered in three spacious “health centers,” include nine types   of massage, body wraps (including Rancho La Puerta’s exclusive Herbal Wrap created by Professor Szekely), body masks, polishes and showers, facials (five choices), and full salon services (hair, nails etc.). The Ranch carries the organically sourced products of German-based Amala and Primavera Skin and body care line, Juice Beauty, the Organic Solutions Company known for offering clinically validated, authentically organic beauty products, and the cosmetic line of Jane Iredale.    Afternoon and evening programs are a vital part of the Ranch experience. A program of    lectures, games, workshops, world-class entertainers (musicians especially), arts and crafts classes, and various throughout the week, continuing a tradition started  2  by Professor Szekely. Edmond was conversant in 17 languages and known internationally for his health and philosophical writings from the 1930s well into the 1960s. Guest lecturers today frequently include such luminaries as journalist Bill Moyers, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright, novelist Erica Jong, actress Jane Fonda, and many others.  Most important, many guests feel, is the friendliness of Ranch staff and other guests. Camaraderie is   a key factor in many guests’ passionate loyalty—  hardly a week goes by when there aren’t 20 or more guests who have been to the Ranch at least 10 times or more. Because almost all guests arrive and depart on the same days together, the experience is like a cruise ship on land. Making new friends is easy. “Being yourself” is easy. Finding solitude and quiet is as easy as finding laughter and the excitement born of new experiences.   “We provide the true luxury of time and space,” says founder Deborah Szekely, “that which is most lacking in today’s life. Space to breathe freely, to relax and enjoy what will be ‘the longer- living, younger life.’”   Week-long packages start at approximately $3,150 per person for a double occupancy room and are inclusive of complimentary transportation from San Diego airport and back, meals, snacks, accommodations and a wide array of fitness classes. ***   FOUNDING: 1940, Tecate, Baja California, Mexico.   The world’ s first fitness resort and spa  –    the progenitor of what is now called a “destination spa”.   NAME: “Ranch of the Door” –    named for two arching oaks; the “door” to the srcinal Rancho La   Puerta campsite. Also named for an early 20 th  century railroad siding located in the pass between our mountain town and the coast.   LOCATION:  Hailed the #1 Best Destination Spa by the 2014 Condé  Nast Traveler’s Readers Poll, The Ranch is located   in Mexico, just three miles from the U.S. border. It is 40 miles southeast   from San Diego; a one-hour drive. The Ranch is a three-hour drive from Los Angeles.   FOUNDERS: Edmond (d. 1979), a philosopher, writer, and biochemist, and Deborah Szekely, who   later founded the legendary Golden Door, and is now the doyen of the modern spa movement. In addition to her 66 years in the fitness and wellness business, her innovative project for America’s inner cities, Eureka Communities, has won the support of Bill Moyers (Chairman of Eureka’s National Advisory Board). An acknowledged social a ctivist and recipient of numerous national and international awards, Deborah is  –   most recently  –   the founder of the Wellness Warrior movement (Complete biography available.)   MANAGEMENT: Still family-owned and family-run. Sarah Livia Brightwood Szekely, daughter of    the founders, is Ranch President and primary designer, responsible for the gardens, buildings, and the creator of her organic farm, Tres Estrellas. General Manager / CEO Roberto Arjona joined the company in 2004. Deborah Szekely is active in an emeritus status: busy with her various wellness  projects as well as serving on various boards, including Center for Science in the Public Interest  3 PROGRAM: A balance of Mind/Body/Spirit. The classic 7-day visit, a Saturday-to-Saturday    program first developed at Rancho La Puerta, is an equal mix of active challenging exercise, stretching, and relaxation, which ranges from meditation and massage to simply enjoying the  pleasures of a sunny patio or a shady hammock. Ea ch “Fitness Day” is an exhilarating blend of all three elements. The Ranch is known as “the Friendly Spa,” for the unique blend of camaraderie and opportunities for profound quiet, contemplation, and renewal.   MINDFULNESS PRACTICE: Meditation, organic gardening, labyrinth, movement as metaphor,   chanting, Tai Chi, yoga, prayer arrow affirmations, dancing, reflexology footpath, silent dinner and Inner Journey.   CLIMATE: An ideal year-round climate: temperate, with over 340 sunny days a year and starry   nights. Winters are sunny and summers mild and dry, with very low humidity and a  pleasant prevailing breeze. Annual rainfall is 10 to 20 inches.   “TRES ESTRELLAS” ORGANIC GARDEN: A six-acre working farm located north of the main   Ranch area (and reached by our “Breakfast Hikes”). The name means “Three Stars.” The creation of    Sarah Livia Brightwood Szekely, it produces fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruits for the Rancho La Puerta kitchen using organic gardening and companion-planting techniques. Also the site of the   Ranch’s cooking school and culinary center, La Cocina Que Canta (see below).   LAND: Over 3,000 acres of unspoiled, rolling countryside at a 1,750’ altitude   and above.   Accommodations, gyms, and exercise studios are located in our own valley, while over 25 miles of hiking trails climb up through wild- lands on the lower flanks of 3,885’ Mt. Kuchumaa. The mountain was the first natural feature in the United States to be recognized as a National Historic Site  –   so honored for its sacred importance to Native Americans. Two thousand acres have been set aside by the Szekely family, in collaboration with both U.S. and Mexican environmental and governmental organizations, as a permanent nature preserve.   LANDSCAPE: Over 150 acres (in a sense, one acre for each guest) of Mediterranean-style gardens,   native trees, olive groves, ponds, and fountains. Xeriscape principles minimize irrigation. Indigenous flora as well as other low-water-use plantings create a lush tableaux of intimate meditation gardens, contemplative bowers, and pockets of serenity conceived for quiet moments either alone or in the company of a favorite book. The gardens have been featured on the PBS series Victory Garden . The landscape was designed by Sarah Livia Brightwood Szekely.   “The gardens are reason enough to visit, even if you’re not interested in unwinding.” –    The    New York Times .   FITNESS: Over 70 different indoor and outdoor classes and activities  —  a total of approximately 325   instructor-led clinics and classes to choose from throughout an entire week. Forty-five minutes in duration. Most classes can be enjoyed by guests at all levels of fitness, and a wide age range. Already-fit and super-fit guests will find many activities that are challenging.    Named “Most Innovative” fitness program by SELF   magazine as well as given the  Number One rating for Spa Program by Condé Nast Traveler  .   HIKING: The most extensive on-site hiking program of any spa, anywhere. Over 25 miles of trails   range from rolling meadow walks to challenging, steep hikes on mountainous terrain. Distances range from about 2 miles to 5 or more miles. Daily hikes at dawn year-round are complemented by an intensive extended daily hiking program during the winter months.    4 TREATMENTS: Massage, aromatherapy, scrubs, scalp treatments, facials are all available at modest   charges. Hot Riverstone massage, hydrotherapy, and wraps of steaming hot linens steeped in indigenous herbs ar  e also offered. With 47 treatment rooms, Rancho La Puerta’s massage and therapy  program is the most extensive of any spa.   CUISINE: Rancho La Puerta’s innovative Cuisine of the Californias offers organic vegetarian   entrées with the option of seafood (4-5 times a week. Many recipe ingredients come fresh-picked, only-hours-old from Tres Estrellas organic garden. Fresh seafood is purchased directly from the local fish market, two hours away in Ensenada, Mexico.   “Inventive and nourishing recipes.”–   Alice Waters, Founder, Chez Panisse  restaurant.   LA COCINA QUE CANTA  —  THE COOKING SCHOOL AND CULINARY CENTER AT RANCHO LA PUERTA: “The Kitchen That Sings” is a 4,500-square-foot $1 million facility set in   the midst of a 6-acre organic farm. Guests experience a hands-on culinary class that starts with  picking the day’s ingredients, and moves on to meal -making cooking classes that combine culinary technique with the joyous camaraderie of working side by side with top chef instructors and fellow guests. The center also hosts complementary learning programs, such as aromatherapy, herbal uses, organic gardening, and more. SPECIAL EVENTS AND WEDDINGS : La Cocina Que Canta’s buildings, grounds, stellar staff, catering team and classes are available for private parties and dinners, group retreats and milestone events. Events can range from anniversaries, family reunions, executive conventions, private cooking classes, organic garden tours or meals. La Cocina Que Canta culinary center and organic farm is open for destination or local weddings in the San Diego area. The Corazón (Heart) Destination Wedding Package offers the perfect balance of romance, fitness, spa and relaxation. The wedding party can spend a three-, four- or seven-day stay at The Ranch. The Romántico Day Package offers an idyllic Ranch style wedding, unparalled in natural beauty. Rancho La Puerta can provide transportation for guests from a central location in San Diego, so the day is simply a ride away. MEALS AND NUTRITION: Menus are primarily lacto-ovo vegetarian, with fish at most dinners,   and eggs as an option at breakfast. Although many of the dishes reflect the region’s culinary heritage, all are equally accessible to North American palates. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style in a  beautiful dining room that opens to an outdoor terrace where tables sit overlooking fountains, water gardens, and a view of the Mountain. Dinner is “sit down,” with wait staff attending. Cooking classes are offered weekly as are nutrition workshops. Gluten-free diets can be prepared, as can those who informally keep Kosher (our kitchens never prepare meats).   SATURDAYS AT THE RANCH : A one-day adventure full of fitness classes, a spa service, and   cooking . Launched in June, 2008, this program is a sneak peek for those who’ve always wondered what the legendary Rancho La Puerta fitness week is all about.   Priced at $300 per  person for the day, the package includes pick-up and drop-off by bus from San Diego, lunch, several fitness classes, cooking demo, 50 minute massage and appetizer buffet plus relaxation. ROOMS: Over $10 million was spent to complete a fully renovated resort that is more than 75    percent new, and more improvements continue. Eighty-three rooms built to accommodate solo travelers, doubles, triples and quads are remarkably spacious and private, each with a unique décor. All are individually landscaped, placed in the midst of gardens surrounded by sun-filled patios. Each is one of a kind. Accommodations include living-room-like sitting areas, desks, wood-burning
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