One of the world's most popular and exclusive resorts, the Golden Door, in Escondido, California has been bought from LXR Resorts (a luxury vacation subsidiary of Blackstone) for a reputed $24.8 million by undisclosed buyers. Although the deal was done last December (2012), some details were just released earlier this month.
Jacqueline Mazat, marketing and public relations director for the spa, announced the sale but was not at liberty to name the new owners--but could reveal that they are a couple of Golden Door regulars with (obviously deep pockets).
The Golden Door was founded in 1958 by doyenne of spas, Deborah Szekely, who also created and ran Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico. At the time of the Door's opening, the pair of spas gained nicknames as 'rich man's", "poor man's" spas. The Golden Door being the priciest of the two with a high profile celebrity clientele from RJ Wagner and the late Natalie Wood to luminaries, dignitaries and royalty.
While Rancho La Puerta attracted a diverse and often not as wealthy clientele, some who went there had enough funds to easily have bought the whole enchilada.
Alas Szekely sold the Golden Door in 1998 for an estimated $28 million to the Wyndham Group who actually bought the gilded name to use in day spas strategically placed in resorts around the world. Wyndham is part of a whole group of hospitality companies that included Blackstone that owns Hilton and other brands. It's all a bit confusing.
Fast forward to today when an anonymous, wealthy couple, who have been guests at the spa for a decade or more, decided to plunk down a few million and buy out the whole place. Plans, according to Matzat are to do some re-branding and remodeling and bring the original Japanese honjin-inn-style resort up to the date.
"We are so happy to be back under private ownership," exclaimed Matzat in a telephone interview, especially people who have visited the spa and have an emotional interest in it and understand its cache."
Matzat went on to say that it will take about a year before the facelift begins. Until then it will be business as usual for the 40-plus guests who spend Sunday to Sunday, all-inclusive weeks in an elite boot camp-like environment that comes with morning to evening exercise options, face and body treatments, nutritious meals, snacks and lots of TLC and personalized service from a handpicked staff.
The Golden Door is located about 20-minutes inland from Oceanside, California, and 45-minutes from San Diego in a valley near Escondio and San Marcus. It sprawls on hundreds of acres of fertile land with organic gardens, avocado trees flanked by mountainous terrain.
Days begin at the crack of dawn with heavy duty hiking for the super fit and moderate walks for others and continue with personalized programs guaranteed to shape you up and rejuvenate mind, body and spirit. It’s a personal favorite and I hope the new owners don’t go off the beaten track too much. However, it admittedly needs some tuning up.