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A Ryokan Reborn

by Nicole Dorsey Straff

When philanthropist and businesswoman Joanne Conway purchased the iconic Golden Door in 2012, she began rejuvenating the fitness centers and spa, as well as doubling the property to 600 acres in Escondido, just north of San Diego.
A former frequent guest, Conway and her architectural teams finished updating all 40 guest rooms at the Japanese-style country inn—or ryokan—this past October, as well as planting groves of olive trees and extending the hiking trails for a total of 20 miles. “We introduced organic farming techniques, built sustainable greenhouses, reared 30 chickens and planted biodynamic gardens, too,” says General Manager and COO, Kathy Van Ness.
In the wellness arena, holistic sessions now include pain empowerment meditations, chakra clearing, sleep enhancement classes and hypnosis. “There is something here for anybody on an inner journey, including hiking our Gratitude Labyrinth, reading in the library or soaking in the bathhouse,” says Van Ness. “Golden Door also hangs a carefully curated, Asian art collection—some items dating back to the Edo period.”
If you can’t swing the drive to Escondido, you can certainly enjoy the new signature skincare line, Golden Door Beauty & Skin Care, inspired by the biodynamic gardens and acres of olive groves. Nourishing ingredients like grapefruit, lemon extracts, lavender, honey and avocado infuse the facial serums, toners, body oils, eye creams and aromatic hair products.
A visit to Golden Door is designed to enhance your own well-being and also improve the lives of others: Golden Door donates 100 percent of net profits to several global charities. goldendoor.com

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