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Secrets Of The Golden Door Spa

The Golden Door Spa - Escondido, California

On Sunday, January 4, 1959, a group of 12 women arrived at a converted, Spanish adobe-style motel, stepped through a pair of jeweled ‘golden’ doors, and into history.

They paid approximately $250 - $300 for a weeklong spa experience and were the first guests to visit what is known today as the acclaimed Golden Door. Tens of thousands of guests would follow these women, eager to experience the first week-long spa program to combine fitness and beauty.

The vision of Deborah Szekely – now widely acknowledged as the founder of the modern spa movement – the Golden Door was originally conceived as an intimate and luxurious sister spa to the Rancho La Puerto fitness resort in Mexico (founded by Szekely with her late husband, Professor Edmond Szekely in 1940).

Early Golden Door guests included Hollywood stars such as Debby Reynolds, Gloria Swanson, Zsa Zsa and Eva Gabor, movie director Stanley Kramer, author and philosopher Alduous Huxley and fashion designer Bill Blass.

In 1975 the Golden Door moved to its current location just one mile west of the original site; about 40 minutes north of San Diego. Built in the style of traditional Japanese honjin inns - designed to offer welcome and relaxation - the new facility was the first-ever purpose-built destination spa.

Now welcoming up to 40 guests per week, the spa is dedicated to fostering a balance of mind, body and spirit through a complete, personalized well-being program that incorporates the latest therapies and technologies with proven techniques and concepts.

The spa’s 4:1 staff-to-guest ratio ensures an incomparable level of service and attention to detail, encouraging most guests – more than 60 percent – to return time-and-time again; any guests have visited 10, 20, even 50 times.

Each day of the week-long stay is customized to meet each guests specific goals; hiking, fitness classes, mind/body pursuits, educational lectures, a healthy sprinkling of fun, and soothing and reviving spa therapies are carefully scheduled to ensure each individual the perfect spa visit; enabling them to attain balance within their own lives that is at the heart of the Golden Door’s philosophy.

Special Services

Golden Door Signature Citrus Blend Sea Salt Scrub with Avocado

An ambrosial treatment using the scrub, bath gel and shea butter from the Signature Citrus blend collection and a final application of Botanical Body Oil.

Golden Door Pineapple Scrub

A tropical sensation, using a combination of Golden Door’s Pineapple Collection and Botanical Body Oil and Moisturizer

Golden Door Botanical Body Scrub

Lavish application of the Botanical Collection: Bath & Shower Gel, Body Oil and Body Moisturizer - the “essential trio” – follow exfoliation with the Botanical Enzyme Scrub.

Golden Door Vitamin K and Ginkgo Biloba Protein Eye Masque

Golden Door’s Eye Gel with Vitamin K is applied around the eyes which are then covered with eye pads made from Ginkgo Biloba. While these go to work a pressure point facial and scalp massage lulls you to deep relaxation.

Golden Door Tranquility Facial

Depending on skin type, our Active Herbal or Green Tea masques are used as part of this stress-release facial.

Golden Door Signature Facial

Gentle exfoliation using Daily, Weekly Foaming Scrub (if appropriate for skin type) is followed by an oxygen facial masque and finished with a treatment of Golden Door’s Golden C serum.


In addition to the original destination spa, Golden Door resort spas can be found at the following properties within the Waldorf Astoria Collection: Park City, Utah; The Boulders Resort, Carefree, Arizona; the Naples Grande Beach Resort, Naples, Florida; and the El Conquistador in Las Croabas, Puerto Rico.

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