The Golden Door

May 2020.


The Golden Door began 60 years ago with Deborah Szekely, known today as the “godmother of wellness”. Among her many achievements in various fields, she is an icon in the wellness industry. At 97 years old, Szekely continues to host lectures and does Pilates 4 days a week! She sold the property in the late 90s but her affirmative ethos remains present. She continues to visit regularly, where she lectures on everything from the ranch’s history to her opinions on the latest health craze to the importance of voter registration.


The property boasts 600 acres of gardens, streams, groves and 25 miles of private hiking trails. Indulge in daily spa treatments ranging from massage, reiki work, craniosacral therapy and watsu. With over 40 fitness classes and up to 4 personal trainer sessions, there are many opportunities to get your body moving. There is a wide range of classes to indulge that care for the mind and spirit — meditation and mindfulness workshops, art classes, lifestyle coaching, behavioral counseling, hypnotherapy and much more.


At the Golden Door you will unhitch from your duties and dependents back home and redirect your focus within. Designed to empower and reconnect you to your inner self, you will spend 7 days mindfully tending to the body, mind and spirit. Here, a hike is as much a rigorous morning exercise as it is a chance to reflect on the day ahead.




The property is tucked away in the hills of San Marcos California, a quick 40-minute drive north of San Diego.


Once you pass through the golden doors, you leave behind certain parts of yourself. Through the all-inclusive 7-day program, you will focus solely on nurturing and transforming mind, body and spirit. With a 4:1 staff to guest ratio and a capacity of 40 guests per week, you are certain to receive personalized service. There are coed, all male and all female weeks.


Styled after a Japanese ryokan, all rooms come with sliding shoji doors and tatami mats. Each room is single occupancy and meant to offer a space for peaceful solitude. Filling your suitcase is unnecessary and discouraged as the resort provides a workout outfit (for daytime) and a Japanese yukata robe (for dinnertime) which you will find waiting for you upon arrival in your wardrobe.



When to Go

There is no right or wrong time to visit the Golden Door! The retreat is open year-round as the weather in California is mild. However, during the winter months temperatures can drop down to the 40s at night. Spring brings wild flowers while autumn in the mountains is shown through the coloring of leaves. The landscape is transformed by bronzed orange, yellow and bright red leaves. Each season brings its own beauty and gifts to the experience.



The Promise

Whatever reason brings you to the Golden Door – whether to heal from a trauma, focus on your physical or mental health or simply to have a moment alone – you will walk out of the Door with a deeper connection to yourself.



And After?

The Golden Door does not hand you the answers but instead, gives you the tools and encouragement to finding them yourself. The journey that you begin here will not end when you depart. You will carry the experiences and lessons with you, finding a way to incorporate them into the life you that you left 7-days prior.