A Peek Behind the Golden Door

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A Peek Behind the Golden Door press visit

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting The Golden Door Resort and Spa in southern California on a press trip. You know, THAT Golden Door. The one that Hollywood elite flock to prepare for big roles or relax after them. The one that only books week-long reservations. Reservations that cost about $9000. (No, I didn’t mistakenly add a zero.) Yes, that Golden Door.

Can you guess how quickly I said yes?

Now, I didn’t stay for a week. I didn’t even stay for a night. I stayed for the day. But when one offers you a peek behind the Golden Door, you take it. And, my dear we heartsers, that’s what I’m giving you right now, a pictorial peek.

Because I only stayed for the day, I don’t feel I can quite call this a review. But I did get a taste for what it would be like to visit for the week. Let me tell you, it would be GOOD. Allow me to show you…

bridge to the main lobby with red door and trees in the background

Once you enter the actual golden door (after being buzzed on to the property) you cross a bridge to the main lobby of the resort. It’s hard not to immediately see how tranquil this place is. Was that orange blossoms I smelled? Probably, there’s a grove right by the entrance. Just one of the MANY things grown on the property.

A glass door seeing outside of the house with grass and trees around

It was as if every step on that bridge melted the stress from me. I got that before I even set my bag down, imagine how you feel after a week? I sat with my fellow bloggers and admired the view from the lobby and learned about its history and what we’d be doing for the day.

Let’s address the cost right away. I can’t even pretend I could book a reservation. But it’s worth noting that the fee includes everything for the 40 guests; your room, all your food, daily spa appointments, speciality lessons galore, even fresh workout clothes daily. Also noteworthy, 100% of their net profits go to philanthropic causes. You can feel good about your visit, both literally and figuratively.

For those of us who can’t book a stay, the reason we were there was to learn about their artisan food line. Executive Chef (and super nice guy) Greg Frey Jr. spoke passionately about the organic gardens on the property that influenced the line and served guests daily. Vegetables, fruits, eggs and even honey from his carefully tended hives. Do yourself a favor and order some of their honey. The spicy Serrano Honey was my favorite, drizzled over cheese and crackers.

A fan shaped paper with list of activities with a rose on the table

We were each given a “fan” which listed the day’s activities, just as guests would. On mine was an array of things I’ve never done before. We were led to the spa to change and I felt giddy at the excitement of it all.

A spa treatment place with char and a mini swimming pool with towels in the background

I saw on my fan that I’d be back at the spa at the end of the day for an Herbal Wrap. I learned this was one of the most popular treatments at the spa, due to the fact that guests are active most of the day. Like, the majority of it. Dropping a few pounds is a welcome side effect to a stay. And those Herbal Wraps do wonders for sore muscles, as I can now attest.

And approximately 10 minutes after I felt the buzz of trying new things…I skipped my Zumba class and chose to sit by the pool instead. Which was fine, no guest has to do any activity scheduled. But I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed in myself.

A wide swimming pool with chaise lounges around

But then again, you could have way worse ways to spend an hour than on one of these chaise lounges!

A view of the outside filled with grasses and trees inside a room with white and blue pilates equipment

So, once properly chilled, I headed off to Pilates. Above is the view from the room as I looked out the window and cursed my existence, using muscles I didn’t even knew I had.

Multiple Koi fishes with a shadow of the tree in the water

All was right again in my world soon after, as Chef Greg took us on a tour of the property and the gardens he spoke so passionately about earlier. Guests roam the land daily, not all 600 acres but much of it, drawing serenity from the bamboo gardens, fields and mountains. We made friends with Koi and felt the calm of a labyrinth.

A view of the mini forest

The property is so lovely, I hardly even noticed my screaming abdominal muscles anymore.

A beautiful table with dining utensils and flowers on the table

Finally, we came upon a beautiful table amongst the organic vegetables. Lunch was served. And, oh what a lunch! Heirloom tomatoes, salad with a house-made, herb-filled vinaigrette, grilled chicken and scallops. It was as delicious as it was gorgeous.

organic vegetables filled with Heirloom tomatoes, salad with a house-made, herb-filled vinaigrette, grilled chicken and scallops.

So delicious in fact that I decided to embrace the new again and go to the archery class I was scheduled for. What an amazing surprise that turned out to be! I instantly took to it. Known as “standing meditation” I loved the concentration required, methodical steps for shooting and the satisfaction of the pluck of the string followed by the ping of the arrow hitting the target.

I didn’t hit a bullseye, but I came closest in my class. And that was all it took: guess who got a bow and arrow for Christmas? This lil’ archer, that’s who.

A blonde woman wearing a light blue jacket and gray inside shirt doing archery

My day at the Golden Door was all I had hoped it would be. While I dream about being able to visit again one day, I’ll just be over here with my bow eating honey by the spoonful. Now, who wants a peek at THAT?

A beautiful view of the house surrounded with trees and grass


  • Stef Andrews

    Stef is a plethora of things. Amongst them: co-founder of we heart this, photographer, condiment connoisseur, Philly girl in the California desert, borderline hoarder and a hardcore beauty junkie. She also has a touch of wanderlust and, arguably, the cutest dog in the whole world... skin tone: NC 25/30 skin type: oily with a fear of rosacea favorite beauty product: high end skincare and lip products


  1. This sounds so fun – beautiful photos too! Some day… :)

  2. This place, The Golden Door looks like a little bit, rather a lot of heaven on earth! Just look at the clouds everywhere! Oh, to be able to go there and be that well-to-do, to spend a week there!
    You also look like a natural with your bow and arrow – such great form @stef!
    You’ve also given me a great idea to add some Serrano peppers to some of our honey.. Were they whole or pieces? We could grind them up and add it in that way to infuse.. I’m so excited to try that! :)

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