When you have to get away from it all, there’s no better place to go than the Golden Door, an uber-luxury spa in Escondido, just a 2-hour drive from L.A.
Last week, I was lucky enough to be one of 35 guests (the max is 40) at this legendary spa that has been a haven for the Hollywood elite and movers and shakers of the world for decades. The resort was opened in 1958 by wellness pioneer, Deborah Szekely who is now 94 and while she no longer owns the spa, I’m told she often visits and gives lectures (I was also told she is still very active and rumor has it that she does pilates multiple times a week!).
The resort came under corporate ownership in 1998 and lost some of its luster until it was purchased in 2012 by Joanne Conway (wife of billionaire Bill Conway), who has since restored it to its former glory. Conway visited the spa 22 times before purchasing it and she’s not in it to make money… apparently, all of the profits are donated to charity (#impressive).
My experience was nothing less than amazing. I know it’s hard to believe, but in just four days, I cleansed my body, mind and soul and I can honestly say I came back to the City of Angels as a changed woman… confident, happy and at peace. The constant negative chatter that had consumed my mind in prior days is gone. Now, I feel like I can face the world with a clear mind and positive spirit.
So what happened at this storied spa? A lot. I spent my days going on 5-mile hikes, practicing yoga, lifting weights, boxing and learning Tai Chi. While I was very active during my stay, I also rested and recharged with daily meditation, in-room massages (yes, everyday!), rosemary infused body wraps and facials. I ate super healthy (much of the food was grown on the property) and I even saw a behavioral therapist and energy healer who worked on me from the inside out.
While the pictures below showcase a ton of activities that made me smile and sweat… it was my journey inward that made the biggest impact as I reflected, reevaluated and rediscovered myself. #relaxed #rejuvenated #revived #recharged #reboot
Some golden nuggets I learned that I will carry with me forever:
- You never know how much you’re holding onto until you let it go
- The way you perceive yourself is not how everyone perceives you
- Mistakes are opportunities to learn
- Time seems to slow down when you live in the moment. Time speeds up when you live in the past/future and steals the joy of right now
- When you’re pushed to your physical limit — your edge — you can have an emotional breakthrough and find mental clarity
- The feeling that you get when you’re falling for someone — when you see the world through rose colored glasses — can be attained and sustained when you start falling in love with yourself.
- When your glow begins to fade (and according to veteran guests who come back yearly or sometimes twice a year… it does) the Golden Door is just a phone call away.
Yes, there really is a Golden Door at the entrance
Lunch (Herb Grilled Salmon Salad; Heirloom Lettuce, Arugula, Blackberry, Fennel, Baby Tomatoes, Radishes, Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette) Hummus and Veggies (I ordered this extra snack everyday) Chef’s Amuse Walking down a path on one of my morning hikes
Inner Courtyard When you reach the top, you have to celebrate!
Golden Door Steel Cut Oatmeal (I ate this for breakfast every day) King Dancer Pose Interior of the villa Golden Door swag Last day and I felt like I was glowing from the inside out Leaving the Golden Door as a changed woman