Renew, Recharge & Restore YOU! A Peak Behind The Exclusive Golden Door

by on Monday, November 27th, 2017 with



San Marcos, CA… I’ve been a beauty junkie since I was born! I was the baby that wished for the up scale version of Johnson and Johnson’s No More Tears Baby Shampoo. And the 15 year old who got her first teen facial and quietly laid there thinking: “Madame one day I will run circles around this pedestrian facial you’re giving me!” At beauty school (I was 25 now) the other students laughed at me when I announced I wanted to be the next “Martha Stewart” of the beauty world… minus the jail time. Jump to almost 19 years later since beauty school, and happily most of this has come to some level of fruition.  However to this day, there was one, literally just one destination I’ve heard about for decades that has almost lost it’s reality for me and has become quite mythical. Think along the lines of the Emerald City for Dorothy Gale. This place is called The Golden Door. I know it grabs you instantly when you hear the name… “The Golden Door” right? I had heard about it’s magical, healing ways and how transformative it can be. But it finally got to a point for me that I began to think The Golden Door wasn’t a real place, rather one of my fancy manifestations I conjured up. This was until this past October when I received the “Golden Ticket” of sorts. My colleague got invited to spend the day at the famed wellness spa and retreat built in 1956 and housing the largest collection of Asian Art in the U.S..  Well aware of my passion for all things restorative and healing my friend thoughtfully asked if she could bring a “plus 1” along (Me, Me, Me!)?  They said “yes, bring her!” And just like that my confused, mythical, manifestation became a reality that was 20 days away from unlocking.


In a word “hell yes!” Okay that was 2 words, but guys it’s big, shiny and GOLDEN… inlaid with turquoise stones and an etched tree of life logo emblazoned over it. I knew whatever was on the other side was going to enrich my spirit, recharge my batteries and at the very least leave me a more enlightened being on this planet.  Nothing had happened yet, but I managed to convince myself by passing through the threshold of the legendary Golden Doors I was a caterpillar cocooning into a magnificent butterfly. Then there was a welcome japanese tea and homemade cookie party.  Yes, yes, yes I thought! Nirvana here I come! And then I met… HER… (Cue my photo)

This ladies and gentlemen is the one and only Dionne Thomas! Dionne is the resort’s Zumba instructor. Uhh what’cha talking about Willis? My road to redemption begins with a Zumba lesson? After my beauty influencer posse all changed into Golden Door matching attire (side note: they have all guests sport the same look, during their stays, so everyone feels equal and personal judgements are let go of while there) Dionne got her hands on us and welcomed us to our community, group cardio class. Her only demands were we smile, be present, listen and have a blast. Dionne is the cue queen. If you’ve never done Zumba dancing in your life, it’s doesn’t matter!  This woman will encourage, cajole and transform you into a Zumba master in minutes. Girlfriend doesn’t even need a whole hour. It was unbelievable how powerful she is as a teacher and soul on this planet.  We had so much fun. (If you’re reading this Dionne… BIG A Thank You!)

The Golden Peel-Away Mask can be purchased for home use. This is something I highly recommend you try!


As we waved goodbye to Dionne,  I looked on my daily activity list to see what was next for me. To briefly digress: the majority of guests at this all female enclave come for a week long stay. Some stay longer, occasionally some stay a shorter time think 4 days. But each day, you’re given a schedule that’s been carefully organized based on what you’re looking to get out of your time at the Golden Door. Okay lets circle back to my list… next was a facial. Time to ground down and chill out. My facial was a golden filled experience from the golden mask to the golden face oil they wove the “golden vibe” expertly though the treatment.  Who doesn’t want their complexion to capture a golden glow from this treatment? During most people’s stay they receive a facial a day. Not too shabby if you ask me.  When it wrapped up, the poor facialist had to hit the eject button on the bed to get me out of her room.

Executive Chef, Greg Frey


Now it was time for a little fresh air. Next on the to-do list…  the nature/garden/farm-to-table walk with Executive Chef, Greg Frey. He’s kinda a celebrity and can be found nationally on home shopping TV shows retailing the Golden Door Lifestyle Brand: Homemade cookies, honey, pasta sauce and a variety of season salts top the menu you can use to up level you next meal back home. Greg explained the farming methods go beyond organic to an approach called biodynamic agriculture. Translation they treat growing produce and caring for livestock as ecologically interrelated. It also adds mystical and spiritual approaches to the process. We met up with 30 chickens to provide fresh eggs and a new computer-controlled, 3,000-square-foot greenhouse where a wide variety of leafy vegetables are grown.  Guests get a super healthy diet when they’re visiting.  They really take the term farm to table seriously. Eating right is just as integral to the spa’s holistic approach as the facials, massages and fitness classes.

Executive Chef, Greg Frey

Everyone walks the maze during their stay at the beginning and then again before they depart. Looks kinda magical to me. Like something out of a Harry Potter movie.

A snapshot of the path along their garden and produce farm.

I was so hungry after Zumba class, my facial and my garden/nature hike. Transforming and relaxing really builds an appetite. I was ready to chow down on tomatoes and beets Greg and his team had picked straight from the garden for this meal hours before hand. The flavors were almost indescribable. You could immediately discern the difference in the taste without all the pesticides and chemical preservatives that normally alter our market bought foods’ flavors.


Farm To Table Rainbow!


My post lunch adventure was all about unlocking my inner “Katniss” with an archery lesson. I picked the purple feather arrows (Purple relates to ourcrown energy chakra), locked my arrow holder onto my pants and I was ready to take down any Julianne Moore or Donald Sutherland evil presidents in my path (you’d have to have seen all the Hunger Games movies they each play bad guys in these films). In reality the lesson is extremely valuable to teach you the safety and the correct posture and form you need to even come close to hitting a bullseye. Why archery you ask at a wellness retreat and spa? As I learned over the hour, it require your full mindfulness, concentration and focus. Whatever your problems are back home fade into the back of your mind and the here and the now is YOU and the target in front of you.  It was my favorite activity at The Golden Door! THEN I FELL ASLEEP…. ZZZZZ After archery 

I found my way to a hill top pagoda/hut looking space and dropped onto this comy table for a massage. I remember the massage therapist asking me if I had certain spots I wanted to focus on and then I just drifted off to a blissful, altered headspace until it was time for aromatherapy class. That was a good little activity flow… to go from a massage to an aromatherapy lesson. The peppermint and rosemary roused my senses and brought me back to life. We made custom blended bath salts and studied the meaning and personality traits connected to our birth dates which was really interesting. 

I closed my Golden Day down with a restorative yoga class again on a beautiful hilltop classroom with big bay windows. The class was geared for all levels and the flow of movement was slow and meditative.  It was a mellow way, sweet way to put a “period” on my experience.

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