My trip to The Golden Door was filled with positive unexpected surprises. I had been to spa resorts before so I had a general understanding of what it would be like. While some areas I was spot on; others I amazingly had no clue how spectacular it would be.

Re-balancing, detox, unplug, refresh, renew; we all hear these terms but they mean different things to each of us.

Golden Door is an exclusive luxurious getaway for just 40 guests per week who come to rejuvenate through all the choices Golden Door provides for the mind, body and spirit.

Upon arrival, I was told the story of the Gold Door. My favorite part was the Japanese belief that evil spirits and bad energy only travels in a straight line. That is why the bridge to the entrance is curved. The idea is once you get beyond the Golden Door, nothing can hurt you. All your worries can drop away.

In case you didn’t know, I love a good story. It enhances my experience to know the “story” behind the resort, hotel, building, location or destination. It brings it to life for me and makes me feel a part of it.

The resort has a total Zen vibe. The grounds are specially landscaped and curated. The walk to my room included stone pathways through grass, streams, a koi pond and a two Zen gardens.

Always curious to check out the destination I’m in, it took less than a day to become oriented with where the gyms, bath house, pool and other common areas were located. Fear not, they provide a map so you never have to worry about getting lost.

I had no idea the level of pampering provided! It took a little getting used to for me but once I did, I LOVED it and the treatments are EVERY day!  Some of the pampering includes: in-room massage, wraps, facial, manicure, pedicure, hair consultation, deep conditioning hair treatment and blow out.The burrito wrap was amazing! Towels are soaked in rosemary and heated. Then you are literally wrapped up like a burrito so your muscles can be soothed by the hot towel treatment.  Only your head sticks out.  

Your experience at the Golden Door is tailor made by you. It starts with an intake call prior to your arrival. You review the exercise classes, lectures, spa treatments and activities that are available.  With a Golden Door representative, you determine what you think you would like your stay to look like. If you want to change things up once you are on site, no problem. The staff is wonderful and will assist you any way they can.  You are provided with sweatpants, shorts, t-shirts and sweatshirts to wear throughout your stay. You dirty laundry is cleaned daily. Just another way to pamper the guest. If you choose to wear your own clothes, that is fine too.

Ever the enthusiast, I would start my day at 5 am with a 5-mile hike. Don’t worry, there was time for coffee before the hike. It was a great way to start the day. There were 3 different difficulty levels of hiking to choose. For those non-morning people, there were hikes available in the afternoon. When I returned from my hike, breakfast was brought to my room and more coffee!

After breakfast, I would choose from a variety of 40 fitness classes. I did something different each day. My favorites were archery, kick-boxing and Pilates. But the best was tap dancing. I hadn’t tap danced since I was 5 and forgot how much fun it was!

After lunch, that was served poolside, I would round out my day with afternoon spa treatments. The massages were done in your room; having the masseuse come to you. Each room had its own massage table.

Dinner was served in the private dining room. The call to dinner was the ringing of the gong.

Greg is the handsome executive Chef! What I loved about Greg is he visits with guests during lunch and dinner to see how their stay is going and solicit feedback regarding their dining experience. The majority of the food served is grown on the grounds at Golden Door; including honey from the bee hives and eggs from some very friendly hens. Talk about farm to table!

After dinner each night, several of us would walk to the gate. The custom is to state your wish, then knock three times on the gate. I loved all the ceremonious traditions.

There is also a spiritual side of Golden Door. Are you spiritual? I am, which is why I loved the two labyrinths, silent meditation walks, meditation classes and the wish stone (it really is a bolder). You write what you are hopeful for on a piece of paper and attach it with a safety pin to the rope tied around this boulder.  The belief is the winds carry your wished up to the spirits.

The last night there is a closing ceremony of sorts for any guests that would like to participate. You can wear a beautiful Japanese robe to dinner. The intricate detail on the robe is breathtaking. After dinner, you walk to one of the Labyrinths.  Each guest holds a paper with their intentions for their life after leaving The Golden Door and silently walks the labyrinth. The labyrinth is lit by candles and the entire experience is peaceful, loving and bonds you to the other participants. Once you reach the center of the labyrinth, you place your paper in the bowl of water. The paper instantly dissolves. The belief is your intentions on the paper have been sent to the Gods.

In my opinion, the goal of your time at Golden Door is to remind you of your worth. You are worth the pampering, the fun, the making time for yourself, meeting others, the enjoyment, the reflection and the time to recharge. I went to The Door alone as did many other women who were there. There were also some mothers/daughters, friends and sisters that came together. I met 5 women that initially came to The Golden Door alone; however, they became friends during their week-long stay and now come back annually, for the past 10 years, as a group.  Simply marvelous!

There are certain weeks for females only, males only as well as, couple weeks.

You might also be surprised to know that Golden Door changes lives for the better outside of the resort. Golden Door donates 100% of net profits to various charities, most of which benefit children in need.

I highly recommend The Golden Door…………… are worth it!


  • Donna M McGovern

    Events and Lifestyle Management

    Donna has over 15 years experience as an Event Planner and Lifestyle Manager working with UHNW individuals, celebrities and corporations. Her work has provided her the opportunity to travel the world. She loves to travel and share her fabulous experiences through her writing and Instagram @awaywithdonna. Donna has also written for The Hedonist Magazine. Contact information: or email [email protected]