© Clarissa Koenig

How Sue Glasscock Revolutionized Retreats with The Ranch

The Ranch Malibu is one of the most famous retreats in the world. In our interview, founder Sue Glasscock reveals the ingenuity behind its fitness and wellness concept that stars and other A-listers love so much, and gives a preview of what's to come in 2023.

October 22, 2022

The Ranch Malibu
12220 Cotharin Rd, Malibu, CA 90265, United States.
Tel.: +1 310-457-8700
Price: 7 days from $7,600

On the road to success: Sue and Alex Glasscock

In 2010, Sue Glasscock and her husband Alex decided to combine their shared passion for health, wellness, nature and design in a unique project – The Ranch was born. Practically over night, the retreat in Malibu, California, became an international smash, popular with celebrities such as Rebel Wilson and Brooke Shields. Over the next twelve years, the couple expanded their project, founded new locations, and expanded to Europe. The success story rests on the basic principles behind The Ranch: physical, mental and spiritual recalibration based on endurance and exercise – a concept that has taken the Glasscocks a long way.

Sue und Alex Glasscock

Power couple alert! Sue and Alex Glasscock have led The Ranch to great success over the past twelve years. © Mark Adams Pictures

What inspired you to start The Ranch Malibu?
We wanted to help people get healthy, revitalize their minds and bodies, and get back to nature in an "off-the-grid environment."

How does your concept differ from your competitors?
We balance mind and body through an intensive fitness and wellness program paired with plant-based nutrition. Each day consists of six hours of activity, including a four-hour hike, an intensive fitness class and restorative yoga. In addition, there is a daily massage and a power nap. This challenging schedule is exclusive to the wellness industry and delivers incredible results.

The Ranch Malibu

"To me, well-being means finding one's personal balance between body, mind and spirit," says founder Sue Glasscock. © Mark Adams Pictures

What's your background? What did you do before starting The Ranch?
I ran my own landscape design business specializing in organic, sustainable vegetable garden designs. This type of farming was one of my first wellness experiences. As I gained practical knowledge in interior design, I fell in love with spaces that seamlessly connect the inside and the outside. This is evident in The Ranch, with the influence of nature throughout the property and our certified organic garden reflecting this passion.

The Ranch Malibu

Seamless transition: the retreat was designed in a California style that links interiors and exteriors. © Adam Mark Pictures

How has your retreat evolved over the years? What's changed?
Over the years, we've introduced innovative therapies – from customized IV and cryotherapy to sound baths and body fat analysis. Guests also have more programs to choose from, with the introduction of The Ranch Private in 2020, a seven-day personalized private program for small groups. We also launched The Ranch 9.0 and, most recently, The Ranch Italy – and with The Ranch Integrative Health Plan and The Ranch 360, we support our customers in their effort to optimize their health at home.

The Ranch Malibu

The power of nature: with her background as a landscape designer, Sue Glasscock is responsible for the organic garden. © Clarissa Koenig

When you start a business, you always learn something new. What's been your most important lesson over the past twelve years?
Being open-minded and flexible when plans change! Every time we had to deviate from the plan, the result exceeded our original ideas and expectations.

Just recently, The Ranch Italy opened as the first European outpost. Why did you choose Italy?
There was nothing else on the European market that compares to our program. Italy is a special country: people value a balanced life with lots of time in nature and joyful food – that's a good fit for us.

The Ranch Malibu

A day at The Ranch includes six hours of exercise, including a hike and a yoga session. © provided

How is said outpost different from the original retreat in Malibu?
Both programs offer immersive and transformative wellness experiences – but there are some key differences: While Malibu is a stand-alone property, The Ranch Italy is located in Palazzo Fiuggi, an incredible medical wellness retreat just 50 minutes from Rome. It was important for us to create a different program in Italy, which we were able to achieve through the addition of diagnostic biomarker testing.

What are your future plans for The Ranch?
We want to expand our reach in thoughtful ways in the coming years so that more people can experience the life-changing benefits of our program. So we're excited to announce The Ranch Hudson Valley, which will open in the summer of 2023 as our second stand-alone property!

The Ranch Italy (above); for the retreat operators, connecting with nature is an essential part of their wellness approach. © Clarissa Koenig, Mark Adams Pictures, Provided

The Ranch Malibu
12220 Cotharin Rd, Malibu, CA 90265, United States.
Tel.: +1 310-457-8700
Price: 7 days from $7,600

This article appeared in the Falstaff TRAVEL issue Fall 2022.

Scroll to Top