Design Destination: The Golden Door


If your life is truly about the moments and collecting experiences is what you live for, yours is not complete without a visit to the famous star-studded and recently refreshed spa, The Golden Door. Here is where you get the “Golden Door Glow” that everyone’s always raving about.


Deep in the hills of San Marcos, sits this iconic retreat space (visited by a countless number of celebrities and A-listers), which in 2015 underwent an overhaul by way of celebrity decorator, Victoria Hagan. Victoria came in transformed everything from the Japanese-inspired guest rooms to the spas and common spaces in the Japanese Edo-period style with warm neutrals and drops of color when needed. Bringing the outside in, Victoria’s designs borrow from the neighboring koi ponds and Zen gardens.

The spa is somewhat of a wonder, taking up 600 acres which are not only marked by the physical buildings, but by a vast collection of flora, fauna and vegetation including 500 olive trees, a 3,000 square foot greenhouse, chicken coop and a biodynamic fruit and vegetable garden–all of which are used to enhance your dining experience while there. The Golden Door immerses visitors in its luxury by way nature method. Daily massages, facials and poolside lounging prove to only be the tip of the iceberg when at spa.


A one-week stay here means next-level wellness where meditative sunrise hikes are at the top of your itinerary. Follow that up with treetop yoga, sessions with an astrologist, energy healer, meditation coach, fitness trainer and nutritionist. It’s true that what lies behind the property’s illustrious golden doors is magic. There’s also a lobby behind those doors that’s decked out in luxury with rich marigold velvets mix with lush teak wood ceilings and golden accents.



Travel deeper into the spa to find a traditional bathhouse and treatment rooms, that although minimal, overflow with authentic Japanese style. Lounges throughout are dipped in luxury and warmth mixing textures and colors constantly to enhance the overall experience felt throughout the spa. But for all of the opulence in design, the goal (which is quickly achieved) is a deeper connection with yourself and your world, citing personal victories through meditation, ditching cellphones for in-person interaction and taking it all in.

Some call this a getaway. Others call it the doors to paradise. Either way, it’s an experience that’s life changing and beautiful and leaves you glowing — literally.