It's called The Golden Door Spa in Escondido,
California. Some history: I've been going to spas twice
a year for twenty years. As soon as people see my vast
collection of spa-emblazoned tees, I am asked The
Question. Which is best?
Until The Golden Door made me feel so good I didn't feel
like myself, my answer was Rancho La Puerta (also
founded by the Golden Door mastermind Deborah Szekely).
The worst: PGA in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
The magic began long before I ascended to Valhalla. A
fat packet of papers arrived from The Golden Door- a
detailed health questionnaire and a massive amount of
valuable information. Most thrilling: you will be
supplied with clothes for day and night! Bring bathing
suits, if you plan to do water exercises, sneakers and
You are met at the San Diego airport and whisked off to
heaven on earth. I arrived in time for dinner on Sunday
night. The moment I put the first piece of a
scrumptious fish called Mero in my mouth, they had me.
The $8,000 a week program begins and ends for most on
(you could do three or four days, and there are
special rates, so ask when you call).
Monday morning, my wake-up call was at 7:00AM. I passed
on the dawn hike because I am slim and walking is my New
York exercise. Breakfast arrived in my room at 7:30AM.
After I finished, the best oatmeal I've ever eaten, I
was off to an 8:15 warm-up class. Wonderful. Next was
an interview with Carli, which included a weigh-in and
measurements taken. Then, on to meet the staff. The
ratio is 4-to-1, that's four staffers to one guest.
Only forty people are there each week. Before my
stregth training class, there was my fave, the juice
break- a delicious potassium broth.
Exercise ended at 1:00PM, after an 11:00AM strength
and my exercise of choice aqua-therapy.
Lunch is served poolside (weather permitting) and, of
course, it was perfect. The food is high flavored and
low fat (Gourmet Magazine described it as delicate and
delicious spa cuisine) and 1100 calories a day, or more,
depending on size and goals, and unlimited snacks are
served. Your dietary needs and preferences are in the
questionnaire you filled in and mailed a month before
At 2:00PM, I was in the capable hands of Zoom. The
weeks begins with the tranquility facial. It has stress
releasing and soothing botanicals, natural oils, and the
extract from The Golden Door Skin Care Collection.
(And I'm a La Mer and Origins girl.)
By 3:00PM, I was in the bath house for the Jacuzzi,
sauna and steam.
By 4:00PM, I was ready for the massage
in my room.
Cocktails (water and yummy hors d'oeuvres)
6:15PM, dinner at 6:30PM and the evening program begins
Tuesdays was the same old- same glorious
old- plus my personal program interview. It was the
first of my four sessions with my personal fitness
guide, Suzanne Browne, an absolute treasure. We devoted
most of our time together to posture improvement. The
prize: she told me that my heroine, Jackie Onassis,
stood with her hands clasped together in front of her
which resulted in perfect posture. When I discovered a
picture back home of Jackie doing exactly that, I was
On Wednesday came my spectacular private consultation
with the nutritionist, Wendy Bazilian. We discussed in
depth my eating habits (I got A+).
"The Super Food RX
Diet," her book, is a must read.
Beverly gave me my make-up lesson- terrific. Franche
vitamin and mineral based cosmetics are used. Bobbi
Brown's superb make-up has spoiled me,
but I did look
gorgeous that evening.
On Thursday night, Deborah Szekely came to dinner and
She was beyond wonderful.
is to gives guests a joyous life"
she told her rapt
On Saturday, I had a marvelous manicure and pedicure.
The Spa uses Zoya polish, which is free of all the bad
stuff. I elected to have a hair treatment. For an
extra charge, you can have it colored and have it cut.
My locks were snipped by the Master Edward Tricomi and
tinted by his parner Joel Warren before I left New York.
On Sunday morning you were driven to the airport and
reality bit. Not too hard though; my lunch and dinner
for the trip were courtesy of The Gold Door.
If I haven't convinced you that going through the Golden
Door will make the rest of your life wonderful, here's
what Deborah Szekely said
"Spas improve the quality of
life. Everyone wants to be younger."