Hotel Review: Golden Door Spa & Resort

Golden Door Guest Room

Of all the United States places to visit for a nourishing body-focused retreat, Golden Door might be on your list. It’s not a Virtuoso property, but it is indeed luxurious.

I visited in December 2020 when I was at my wit’s end and desperately needed to receive some R&R away from home. I chose Golden Door because I wanted to stay within the U.S., it was a quick, direct flight from DEN to SAN, it’s only another 40-minute drive to the hotel, and I wanted to be pampered.

Before making my booking, I had never heard of it. I Googled “Best Destination Spas in the United States,” and Golden Door was voted one of the best. Since it was a new name to me, I read on discovering they offer daily in-room massages and facials, private workout sessions, a variety of activities, and healthy meals and snacks throughout your stay. What sold me was the daily in-room massages.

I was excited and ready to go, and the night before I received a call, they were in lockdown, and the hands-on services would not be in operation. Oh. Em. Gee. I had already paid in advance (it was a discounted Women’s Week), and a refund was not an offered option. I could have moved the trip to another date within the year, but who knows when that would be? I didn’t want to lose the money, so I went anyway and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, due to the lack of services, I left early. Here’s my honest review.

I could see the potential of all Golden Door has to offer, and the staff handled the changed circumstances with a can-do attitude, though I do feel the value for what I paid was not there without the touch therapies. Still, there was a lot to be grateful for, so let me focus on that.


The food was delicious. My body felt nourished. However, on the second day, my gums were swollen and sore, and I felt it was an allergic reaction to something in the food. I don’t know what it was since I did give a list of my allergies before my arrival. I had a paid session with the resident acupuncturist, and she thought it might have been an overload of citrus. I resisted the urge to eat acidic foods for the last two days, but it wasn’t until I stopped eating the food entirely that my mouth and gums felt okay. So who knows what that was about.


Guest room

Staff & Activities

Let’s be honest, this is a high-end resort and you expect stellar service. Check! Everyone was helpful, smiling, and accommodating. Ask for what you want, and you will receive. Truly!

Personal training sessions – I came home with an exercise program tailored to my needs. The personal training sessions with Diane reminded me of why I like to exercise, and because of the pandemic restrictions, I exercised outside for each session! That was delightful!

Activities – I didn’t participate in everything, as I did want to relax while I was there; however, I attended a few Spiritually-minded classes because, well, that’s in my wheelhouse! All of the teachers leading the sessions were professional, experts in their field, and lovely people!

I paid extra for two private sessions; Acupuncture and Energy Healing. I needed SOMETHING in place of not receiving a daily massage. Both were stellar!


Even though I left early, I was grateful for how Golden Door handled my departure. I asked for a credit for my unused nights, and while I would have preferred a refund, I was offered a credit towards a future stay. Also, since I travel carry-on only, I asked for the nightly gifted full-sized skincare products to be shipped to me, and they kindly obliged. And, lastly, my complimentary roundtrip transportation was honored upon my departure. They even provided a packed lunch for me to take on the plane! That was an unexpected and kind gesture.

Would I return? Since I have a credit, I most likely will so that I can have the classic Golden Door experience. The early breakfasts and packed schedule is not my style. I was rushing between sessions and meal breaks and certainly upped my cardio as a result! (Hidden bonus?!) If keeping your mind and body active in beautiful natural surroundings with little downtime except for body and face treatments sounds impressive, this may be the place for you!

I am happy to make your reservation for you; just let me know when you’d like to go!

‘Til next time, thanks for reading, and Happy Travels!

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