10.11.2017
4 Days at Golden Door Spa, Where the Richest Women in the Country Vacation

Because I’m going to tell you allll about what it’s like to spend four days with some of the country’s wealthiest women in need of some rest and relaxation…

Pulling up to the Golden Door, you’re definitely in a little bit of shock. The doors are, in fact, actually golden just to start.  I invited my friend Gaby, who’s also a writer, to join me for a four-day sampling of the $9,000-a-week treatment and, as we rolled up in our car service (provided by the spa, btw), we both pulled down our sunglasses, adjusted our yoga pants, took a deep breath and said “I can’t wait to eat lunch.” #typical.

Once the golden door opens, you walk down this serene wooden bridge to head towards reception.

Once we checked in and were given a quick run down on how the Golden Door works, it was time to eat. We sat adjacent to a beautiful koi pond; the entire spa is 600 acres of Japanese-inspired loveliness. I immediately thought “this is the smallest salad ever,” but it was entirely more filling than I expected, which gave me hope that I wouldn’t be starting for the entire four days…something I feared even though I chose the “medium” portions  during my stay (1,400 calories per day).

After lunch we went to our rooms and were greeted by, you guessed it, snacks! I was elated, as I’m pretty much always hungry and knew I would now be able to hoard food in case I was starving at any point.

Each room has the most beautiful Japanese silks!  Note: GD never has more than 42 guests at any given time, so everything is uber intimate.

If someone tells me it’s not only socially acceptable, but actually encouraged to wear a ROBE to DINNER…well, sign me up.  Everyone is given a Japanese Yukata to wear during their stay and even though the tag said to wear it on the first and last night’s dinner, I wore it every night to dinner because, why not?

There was an insane sand garden right outside my room and I was obsessed with how it was always perfectly perfect (except for a few bunny rabbit tracks once or twice!)

This Japanese bell is rung every night five minutes before dinner to let everyone know it’s time to gather.

Don’t mind me and my weird food allergies!

The food was, by far, a major highlight. Favorites were the black cod (top photo) and this creme brulee (yep, desserts were allowed).  The best part? The Golden Door will actually email you recipes for any dish you want.  Granted, they’re a bit above my pay grade when it comes to cooking but I like the fact that they’re happy to share.  The 1,400 calories per day ended up being fine, even with all the workouts.  Gaby and I did smuggle in wine (not really- wine is allowed but not necessarily encouraged) so we could have a glass while watching The Bachelor (Gaby’s favorite).

Lunch and dinner was a really cool experience from a mingling perspective as well (breakfast is served in-room).  At first I didn’t feel like socializing with anyone; I had my friend with me, I was tired from exercising more in one day than I do in two weeks, I just wanted to eat and be done.  But once we started chatting with the ladies it was super interesting to hear about their backgrounds; I met a senior executive at a major bank who was taking a well-deserved sabbatical, a 30-something New Yorker celebrating her birthday, a retired senior executive at a major department store, housewives from the midwest who seemingly just wanted to try a new experience and, of course, rich housewives.  At one point we were having a group conversation about reality TV and I confessed my love for the Bravo show Below Deck.  Someone asked about the premiss and I started with “oh, you know just insanely rich people who charter a 3-day yacht for $50K.”  Gaby later said to me, “Jamie, these ARE the people who charter those yachts”…I replied with “wow…so this is what it feels like to be the poorest person in the room.”

Golden Door is a don’t-ask-don’t-tell of spas when it comes to their celebrity visitors (for the record, there were no celebs there during my stay), but I do know Oprah has been several times, as well as Barbra Streisand.

When it came to the classes, there are TONS of options, which I loved.  Because of my recent back issues and permanent laziness, I made my schedule consist of mostly water aerobics (seriously the BEST and not as lame as you would think), stretching, pilates and mediation.  No insane cardio or burpees for this girl, thanks!

I did, however, sign up (at an additional cost) for a private tennis lesson and it seriously changed my life.  When I told the concierge that I had taken a few lessons in LA but didn’t feel like I learned anything, she immediately was like “oh, you need to take a lesson with Marcelo then.”  Marcelo has been teaching at the Golden Door for 25 years…yep and actually, most of the staff at Golden Door has worked there for 10, 15, 20+ years, which speaks volumes about the environment in my opinion.

My lesson with Marcelo was about 40 minutes long and I learned more about tennis in those 40 minutes than I learned during eight lessons in West Hollywood. Sold.  Even Gaby told me how happy I looked after my lesson; Golden Door made me want to really learn how to play properly and I’m still taking lessons with Marcelo since he comes up to LA once a week for private lessons.

I also signed up for a tap class and since I was the only one signed up, it ended up being a private lesson- so fun; I got to re-live my childhood 🙂

So many spa treatments!  I did massages, a facial, body treatments, an herbal wrap, a pedicure…I mean. Honestly heaven.  Golden Door also has their own line of products, natch, and here are the ones I used and loved most:

Here’s my actual schedule over the four days, so you can get just a small idea of what they offer:

Day 1:

  • 12:30pm arrival: brunch
  • 3pm: Welcome walk and tour
  • 4pm: Stretch and unwind
  • 5pm: Beginning your journey and new guest orientation
  • 6:15pm: Hors d’oeuvres and mingling with fellow guests
  • 6:30pm: Dinner
  • 8pm: Hot whirlpool and mini-massages in the bathhouse

Day 2:

  • 8:30am: Ready, Stretch, Go!
  • 9am: DYOT (do your own thing)
  • 10am: Tennis lesson with Marcelo
  • 11am: Pilates foam roller class
  • 12pm: Private training lesson
  • 1pm: Lunch poolside
  • 2pm: In-room massage
  • 3pm: Body treatment at the bathhouse
  • 6pm: Meditation
  • 6:15pm: Appetizers
  • 6:30pm: Dinner

Day 3:

  • 8:30am: Ready, Stretch, Go!
  • 9am: Body align
  • 10am: HIIT poolside
  • 10:50am: Broth and garden vegetables snack (I asked for an extra smoothie, no bananas, for more calories)
  • 11am: Facial
  • 12pm: Pedicure
  • 1pm: Lunch
  • 2pm: Massage
  • 3pm: Tap dance
  • 4pm: Scent with intent (make your own scrubs!)
  • 5:30pm: Herbal body wrap
  • 6pm: Meditation
  • 6:15pm: Appetizers
  • 6:30pm: Dinner

Day 4:

  • 8:15am: Healthy spine motion
  • 8:30am: Ready, Stretch, Go!
  • 10am: Beach H20 (water aerobics!)
  • 10:50am: Broth and garden vegetables snack
  • 11am: HIIT the water (more water aerobics, lol)
  • 12pm: Garden tour- this was super interesting since we got to see where they grow all their produce, raise their hens, etc.
  • 1pm: Garden lunch
  • 2:30: Leave Golden Door for LA

Thank you so much to the Golden Door for an amazing trip!

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