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Showing posts from May 4, 2017

The Former ‘It’ Spa for Hollywood A-Listers Tries to Reclaim Its Glory

Golden Door spa reimagines itself as a luxury respite.

Source: Golden Door
Michael Callahan

May 2, 2017, 4:00 AM PDT

It was the place for Hollywood to recede, refresh, and renew. Or more accurately, to drop out, dry out, and lose those stubborn last 10 pounds before the next project. Burt Lancaster, Bob Cummings, and Johnny Weissmuller went on hikes here; Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Natalie Wood, Kim Novak, Barbra Streisand, and a thousand lesser lights hid out here. Aldous Huxley loved the mud wrap.

The place was the Golden Door, a 300-acre oasis in the desert hills of San Marcos, Calif., less than an hour north of San Diego. 

In 1959, Deborah Szekely and her husband, Edmund, a famous philologist and linguist, opened a mountain-lodge-meets-Japanese-tea-garden spa here, promising restoration and sanctuary. “In those early days, Golden Door was known as a fat farm,” says Susie Ellis, a former staff member and now chief executive officer of the Global Wellness Institute in Miami.