Following a winding road through the scenic coastal hills of San Marcos, CA, one finds that the destination entrance has no identifying name, just the numerical address. Only after the gate ​silently ​opens do you recognize you’ve entered the Golden Door. Walking across a seasonal brook on a wide wooden bridge, you are embraced by the tranquility of expansive immaculate Japanese gardens, antique sculptured lanterns, waterfalls, streams, Zen rock gardens with sand groomed into mesmerizing designs, koi ponds, and charming buildings designed in the original theme of a Japanese country inn. 

Golden Door has always been a powerful magnet, attracting Hollywood celebrities and those seeking an exclusive and pampering experience. Founded by wellness spa grand doyenne Deborah Szekely, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday, the Golden Door established the destination luxury wellness spa industry over fifty years ago.


More recently, the Golden Door has broadened its focus to include mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being. Their clientele is enticed not only by the diverse state-of-the-art services and facilities but also by their philanthropic commitment. They donate 100 percent of their net profits to charity and have purchased the surrounding 2,000 acres for the purpose of environmental protection and sustainability. Alongside the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, and several other environmental groups, they successfully opposed a 2,100-residence housing development based on concerns about wildfire and greenhouse gas emissions. Golden Door ended the development risk by acquiring this 2,000-acre sanctuary and will preserve it for future generations. The bottom-line philosophy of the Golden Door comes down to healing and being kind to people and the earth.

“It is truly extraordinary that Golden Door made this happen,” stated San Diego County Board of Supervisors chairman Nathan Fletcher. “There are very few examples anywhere of a land purchase of this magnitude for environmental protection.”

 General manager and chief operating officer Kathy Van Ness says, “We believe that responsibility extends beyond our walls. As a show of support to those involved in making the world a more loving, more humane, and more peaceful place.”


The philosophy and mission of the Golden Door are being honored and fulfilled by its dedicated staff and management. Not only do they employ leading fitness, nutrition, and wellness experts, but they are also the only luxury retreat with this level of dedication to the planet and philanthropic efforts. In short, you can feel good while doing good and know that the cost of your visit contributes to a positive environmental and social impact.