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FITNESS, HEALTH, WELLNESS

Latest news

Golden Door spa acquires land for philanthropic food venture

The grounds of the exclusive Golden Door wellness resort in Escondido, California have increased from 377 acres to 600 acres as it bids to cultivate produce and become a respected food brand.

The spa’s COO, Kathy Van Ness, told Spa Business 100 per cent of profits from the spa’s hospitality operation and food sales will go to charity in line with the company’s mission to put a greater focus on philanthropy.

"The Golden Door acquired the neighbouring property from willing sellers to enhance its own thriving agricultural operations and to further enhance our guest experience," said Van Ness

The facility’s farming methods use an approach called biodynamic agriculture which treats growing produce and caring for livestock as ecologically interrelated.

Golden Door’s land expert, Jeff Dawson, has brought in 30 chickens to lay fresh eggs each morning and a new computer-controlled 3,000sq ft (278sq m) greenhouse for growing leafy vegetables. Van Ness said the plan is to produce branded olive oil and wine: 250 trees have been planted in its olive orchard and grape vines are expected soon.

Van Ness said Golden Door has sent its first charitable donations to nearby Escondido’s Forensic Health Services Centre – a centre which helps victims of child abuse and sexual assault 24-hours a day – in a joint effort with the local government to keep the centre’s doors open.

The resort is home to the Japanese inn-themed spa – complete with Kitatsu water-therapy pool, sand garden meditation room, Japanese hot-tub, bath house, Koi ponds and a priceless Asian art collection.

There are no plans to expand the actual spa’s facilities, adding that the 40-bedroom spa, spread between two villas, will retain its exclusivity.

“This is never going to be a place that 100 people are going to come to together,” said Van Ness.

“It is going to stay very private – with four staff to each guest. We have, however, doubled our property and we’re expanding the business - looking specifically at our culinary options.”

The popularity of the resort means funding for charities is set to increase. Van Ness pointed out that 65 per cent of guests return more than six times. Most customers – coming to experience the resort’s seven gyms, two pools and 40 fitness classes – are between 40 to 60 and in high level executive jobs.

Strong demand from men has meant the spa has increased its four all-male weeks a year to five.

“Men book seven days and don’t even bat their eyes. They don’t want to know about the four-day stays. It can feel like a man camp – they play volleyball, golf, walk our new 25-mile hiking trails and do things like get facials. They are not going to do that sitting next to girls,” Van Ness explained.

“The all-male weeks are always sold out – I had to turn 10 men away this year – so we will probably go up to six weeks next year.”

Founded in 1958 by Deborah Szekely, The Golden Door first gained fame as a place for Hollywood starlets to shed pounds before a film shoot. The 56-year old spa was sold in 1998 for US$28m (€20m, £16.6m) to Patriot American Hospitality, a real estate investment trust which eventually became Blackstone real estate company.

Joanne Conway, wife of billionaire Bill Conway, visited the spa 22 times before buying it in 2012 for US$24.8m (€17.9m, £14.7m) with the idea of restoring it and changing its business model to become more charitable.

The grounds of the exclusive Golden Door spa in Escondido, California have increased from 377 acres to 600 acres as it aims to cultivate produce and become a respected food brand.
SAB,HHR,PRO,SWC
32719_46014.jpg
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Latest news

Golden Door spa acquires land for philanthropic food venture

The grounds of the exclusive Golden Door wellness resort in Escondido, California have increased from 377 acres to 600 acres as it bids to cultivate produce and become a respected food brand.

The spa’s COO, Kathy Van Ness, told Spa Business 100 per cent of profits from the spa’s hospitality operation and food sales will go to charity in line with the company’s mission to put a greater focus on philanthropy.

"The Golden Door acquired the neighbouring property from willing sellers to enhance its own thriving agricultural operations and to further enhance our guest experience," said Van Ness

The facility’s farming methods use an approach called biodynamic agriculture which treats growing produce and caring for livestock as ecologically interrelated.

Golden Door’s land expert, Jeff Dawson, has brought in 30 chickens to lay fresh eggs each morning and a new computer-controlled 3,000sq ft (278sq m) greenhouse for growing leafy vegetables. Van Ness said the plan is to produce branded olive oil and wine: 250 trees have been planted in its olive orchard and grape vines are expected soon.

Van Ness said Golden Door has sent its first charitable donations to nearby Escondido’s Forensic Health Services Centre – a centre which helps victims of child abuse and sexual assault 24-hours a day – in a joint effort with the local government to keep the centre’s doors open.

The resort is home to the Japanese inn-themed spa – complete with Kitatsu water-therapy pool, sand garden meditation room, Japanese hot-tub, bath house, Koi ponds and a priceless Asian art collection.

There are no plans to expand the actual spa’s facilities, adding that the 40-bedroom spa, spread between two villas, will retain its exclusivity.

“This is never going to be a place that 100 people are going to come to together,” said Van Ness.

“It is going to stay very private – with four staff to each guest. We have, however, doubled our property and we’re expanding the business - looking specifically at our culinary options.”

The popularity of the resort means funding for charities is set to increase. Van Ness pointed out that 65 per cent of guests return more than six times. Most customers – coming to experience the resort’s seven gyms, two pools and 40 fitness classes – are between 40 to 60 and in high level executive jobs.

Strong demand from men has meant the spa has increased its four all-male weeks a year to five.

“Men book seven days and don’t even bat their eyes. They don’t want to know about the four-day stays. It can feel like a man camp – they play volleyball, golf, walk our new 25-mile hiking trails and do things like get facials. They are not going to do that sitting next to girls,” Van Ness explained.

“The all-male weeks are always sold out – I had to turn 10 men away this year – so we will probably go up to six weeks next year.”

Founded in 1958 by Deborah Szekely, The Golden Door first gained fame as a place for Hollywood starlets to shed pounds before a film shoot. The 56-year old spa was sold in 1998 for US$28m (€20m, £16.6m) to Patriot American Hospitality, a real estate investment trust which eventually became Blackstone real estate company.

Joanne Conway, wife of billionaire Bill Conway, visited the spa 22 times before buying it in 2012 for US$24.8m (€17.9m, £14.7m) with the idea of restoring it and changing its business model to become more charitable.

The grounds of the exclusive Golden Door spa in Escondido, California have increased from 377 acres to 600 acres as it aims to cultivate produce and become a respected food brand.
SAB,HHR,PRO,SWC
32719_46014.jpg

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