Behind every resort there’s a story, but Golden Door‘s is a tale we could tell over and over and over again. As America’s first-ever fitness spa and one of the nation’s historical wellness landmarks since 1959, the prestigious Golden Door Spa in Escondido, California is a place every spa enthusiast should visit in his or her lifetime. It is home to one of the most inspiring, innovative and high-energy fitness and weight loss programs in the spa world today.

Before we take you on a photo tour to make you fall head over heels for Golden Door Spa (again?), let me remind you to ENTER Spa Week’s Nutrition 911 Sweepstakes, where you can win a four-night getaway for two at Golden Door including three private in-room massages, one herbal wrap, two skincare appointments, a choice of a manicure or pedicure, a customized Golden Door fitness program with a personal fitness counselor, and gourmet spa cuisine including three meals and two snacks a day. The prize also include a customized at-home revival nutrition package from Dr. Wendy Bazilian and a $100 Spa & Wellness Gift Card by Spa Week!

Now, let the photos do the real talking as we narrate your mini-tour of the fitness, spa, spirituality and scenery of Golden Door Spa:

One of the many fitness classes at Golden Door (there are over 25 offered each day) is their Boxing class, where guests have fun “sparring” with each other. It’s a really great workout.

Kiatsu Water Therapy – Kiatsu is a therapeutic bodywork in a warm water pool that combines water and shiatsu, creating a relaxing sensation of floating. Often called “Watsu”, they termed their signature sessions “Kiatsu”.

This is part of Golden Door’s Warm Honey Wrap & Orange Blossom Milk Soak. First, pure fresh honey is massaged on entire body and the guest is wrapped in thermal blankets and hot towels for skin softening while the feet are massaged. Then they go into the hydrotherapy tub to soak in a luxurious warm milk bath infused with fragrant orange blossom essential oil and finish with orange-blossom-scented lotion.

Guests enjoy their morning hikes at 6am through the 20 miles of private hiking trails. They are always accompanied by a Shepherd (one of their Fitness Specialists).

Hibiscus Sangria is a staple drink at Golden Door. It is made fresh in their kitchen and sweetened with oranges.

Traditional Japanese cuisine served at Golden Door Spa and usually containing fresh fish, cooked vegetables, rice and salad from their organic garden. Every dish is delicious and nutritious. Their Executive Chef, Curtis Cooke, chooses ripe vegetables and fruits from the organic garden and it’s always a creative, vibrant, delicious and satisfying meal.

Spa treatments are included in every visit, and one of their signature treatments is this Golden Door Pineapple Scrub. It’s applied with a silk mitt, followed by a soothing application of Pineapple Gel, Botanical Body Oil and Botanical Body Moisturizer.

Modeled after the Chartes Cathedral Labyrinth in France, this Labyrinth is part of their inner-focus where two guests are walking the 11-circuit path as an exercise for comtemplation and meditation.

Flowering plum trees like these grow all around the property.

Francine Hoffman is Golden Door’s Inner Focus Coordinator and Yoga Teacher. Here she is doing yoga on the mountain that resides along Golden Door Spa.

Golden Door has a variety of luxurious and therapeutic massage treatments to choose from. One of their popular requests, beside Japanese Shiatsu, is their Thai Massage.

All of their guestrooms have been newly renovated to continue reflecting their Japanese design while being more updated. They are cozy, quiet and reflective spaces with a moonviewing deck and optimal space for reading and seclusion.

Guests have beautiful views of their property and the Japanese gardens. Books are also hand-picked each week and placed on their desks.

In every guest room there is a meditative shrine called a Tokonama that holds a Japanese scroll and an Ikebana floral arrangement. This is depicted as a sacred space.

There are four areas of guest rooms on the property, centered around a particular Japanese garden: Azalea, Bell, Camellia & Garden. This picture shows their Camellia guest rooms, where the sunlight is hitting the garden. Many camellia flowers grow in this area.

Lastly this is the Evening Temple. In front of their beautiful dining room is a 300 yr old cast bronze bell from the Early Edo Period c. 1700 that was originally used to call the monks of the Josen-ji Buddhist temple to prayer. The ringing of the bell is now the nightly and eagerly anticipated call to dinner.

Want more of The Door? Check out our ever-growing Golden Door photo album on Facebook!

All photos and information courtesy of Golden Door Spa.