Our Golden Door Spa Retreat

The Golden Door opened, and I entered into another world.   My escort, Deborah, took me over a bridge, “Watch the bend in the bridge, where according to a Japanese legend, evil spirits cannot pass.” My Golden Door spa retreat had begun.

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We glided through sliding shoji screens doors into the Golden Experience, a spa retreat where only positive energy exists.

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A woman dressed in an elegant silk kimono greeted me with chamomile tea and a ginger snap cookie simply displayed next to a white flower.  We strolled the long corridor of the Japanese architectural style building, encircling a courtyard, and walked into a Ryokan-like private suite.

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Personalized Spa Itinerary

My personalized itinerary was presented to me on a paper in the shape of a fan. I sipped my tea, watched the koi fish in the pond, and wondered how my Golden experience would unfold.

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Each guest comes to stay at The Golden Door for a variety of reasons, and often return throughout their lives – to celebrate a milestone, a birthday, retirement, marriage, or mourn and heal from a loss. Most everyone seeks to be recharged and restore balance in their lives.

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About Golden Door spa retreats

There are some weeks for women only, and other weeks for men only, as well as some time periods for men and women guests to attend the week together. Each week, there are only 41 guests who can stay here. Preparations are made for each guest before they arrive. Customized schedules are created that tend to each person’s needs for their body, mind and spirit, as well as goals for their stay. The Golden Door staff gently guide you to check in with your “center” and ask what you want from life.

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My goal was to find ways to recharge and de-stress. I started my first day with a Stretch & Unwind Class, and then went to explore the property. There are many places to connect with nature. The Japanese style gardens, where you can meditate at the Zen rock gardens, and walk the paths through the carefully composed landscape. Following the paths, I stumbled upon the orange tree orchards, organic gardens, walked over a bridge covered in blossoming wisteria, and then found myself in the middle of a thriving bamboo forest.

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Serendipitously, I ran into Kathy Van Ness, the General Manager, in the heart of the bamboo forest where there was a giant tree that split into three equidistant sections. She shared with me, that this tree is the “…spiritual vortex of The Golden Spa, and many are amazed at the new trees that are growing from each of the tree’s sections. Something extraordinary happened here, that’s hard to explain.”  


On this first day, we learned about the Japanese term “Enso, a symbol of commitment to oneself, an acceptance of our own imperfections and the path we lay before ourselves toward strength and enlightenment.”

Throughout the week, there are several trails for early morning hikes, classes to take from fencing to Bollywood Dancing, and Zen Yoga. The menu for spa treatments are specialized for the body, face, hands, feet – facials, herbal wraps and massages. The Eminence line of products are a handmade organic skin care line from Hungary.  There are outdoor pools and an indoor bath house with steam and sauna facilities too.

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There are many opportunities to mix with other guests and share insights, and unique experiences.  If you prefer time alone, there are many ways to find solitude.

Personalized and Private consultation

Private Sessions are available for one-on-one instruction for nutrition to fitness training. Susan Piergeorge, the Golden Door Nutritionist, provided me with helpful direction – eating with intention, the importance of breakfast, diet myths, eat to detox, portion distortion & more! Her book “Boomer Be Well” can be ordered on Amazon.

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I also met with Melanie who customized a fitness training program for my physical goals to strengthen my core.

Special sessions are available in the evenings from Chinese Medicine to Tibetan Bowls, and an introduction to the Labyrinth. These sessions help guests tune into inner mindfulness and awareness.

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Meals are delicious and healthy. The Chef and team create dishes and portion out meals according to each guest’s special requests. Don’t miss meeting the chicken coop and organic gardens.

Guests find solace with ample time to contemplate how to regain balance, and recalibrate their life’s direction. Everyone finds their Golden moments and leave enlightened in some way.

As I stepped out of the Golden Door, I said “Something extraordinary happened here, that’s hard to explain.”

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