The Golden Door – Escondido, California, U.S.A.

The Spa of All Spas

Check your skepticism at the door and leave behind your eight-day weeks of cell phones, business dinners, nannies, deadlines, and insomnia.

Founded in 1958 by spa doyen Deborah Szekely of Mexico’s Rancho La Puerta spa, the Golden Door was the first wellness retreat to combine nascent American fitness concepts with European body treatments that have since become the gold standard.

Consistently rated among the finest spas in the land, the Golden Door’s 344 gorgeous acres accommodate just forty guests and are designed in a Japanese style, with meticulously trimmed greenery, meditative sand gardens, elevated wooden paths, and koi ponds.

Guests (women only except during four annual co-ed weeks and five for men only) spend almost all their time outdoors communing with nature while bliss­fully tuning out for the duration of their Sunday-to-Sunday stay.

All accommodations in the elegantly rustic ryokan-style Japanese inn are spare, serene, single occupancy to honor personal space. Four staff members to every guest ensure serious pampering.

Each guest is assigned a personal fitness trainer who tailors a daily schedule according to individual preferences and fitness and health needs. Begin your day with a sunrise hike or breakfast in bed, then relax at midafternoon with an hour-long mas­sage in your room.

A highlight of the week’s stay is the trailblazing cuisine. The Golden Door’s menu is low in fat and salt, yet sac­rifices nothing in flavor with most of its ingredients picked from their own organic garden.

Before you turn in, take a soak in a hot tub, followed by ki-atsu massage, the Golden Door’s own version of watsu.

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