/ The Phoenix Traveler
Phoenix — By Heather Wright Schlichting on January 21, 2010 at 6:23 am

Achieve Nirvana at Golden Door Spa

The moment I arrived at Golden Door Spa at The Boulders Resort in Carefree, my typically hurried nature came to a halt. As I entered through the massive wooden doors I found myself in their Zen courtyard with a trickling stream and koi pond. Ah, this would be a perfect afternoon.

Once inside, the lobby sets the tone. Circular in design, the cushy cream-colored furniture is very welcoming. Floor-to-ceiling windows let in the lovely sunshine and allow the boulders that the resort is famous for peak through.

This isn’t my first time at Golden Door Spa. Although all of the spas that I’ve visited in The Valley are fantastic, I have to admit that Golden Door is my favorite. Here’s why; an abundance of natural light, indoor and outdoor streams flow throughout the property, attentive staff that cater to your every whim and a series of outdoor spaces that allow amazing views of their trademark 12 million year old boulders. It’s also not crowded or at least from the customer’s perspective it never seems overflowing with visitors. I think that with the many options for visitors including exercise classes, actual treatments, or outdoor activities, guests are spread out throughout the spa giving the impression that you are but a few enjoying the amenities. For me, this really adds to the appeal.

Golden Door Lobby

One interesting design element that adds to the whole experience; you will not find any 90-degree corners at Golden Door. Following the philosophy of “evil hides in corners,” the facility is a series of curving, winding walls that are not only esthetically pleasing but seem emotionally healing as well.

This luxurious spa offers everything you need for body, mind and spirit renewal, including:

• 33,000-square-foot spa, with 24 treatment spaces and a full menu of soothing treatments

• Movement studio, providing Pilates, Yoga, and Tai Chi classes, for all levels

• The Labyrinth, a path to tranquility inspired by ancient Hopi medicine wheels

• The Watsu, offering an underwater “back-to-the-womb” experience

• Private locker rooms, featuring steam rooms, saunas, and Japanese baths

• Golden Door café and tea room, overlooking the desert, serving light fare

• Swimming pool, with heated whirlpool

• Beauty Salon, providing the full menu of salon services

Entrance to Golden Door

I’ve been fortunate to experience a variety of treatments. One of their most popular massages, The Golden Door Massage incorporates natural oils and a chamomile eye pack. As I lay on a heated table, my therapist asked for feedback and gave me helpful tips to cure my aches and pains.

The Golden Door Custom Facial not only attended to my skin, but my hands and feet were spoiled too with a massage, heated mitts and booties. First the aesthetician analyzed my skin and determined the right cleansing, massage, purifying and hydrating mask. A moisturizing mist and hot towels were applied at the end of the treatment.

My first experience with an overall body treatment, the Adobe Clay Wrap begins with an ayate cloth, a natural fiber washcloth from 100% dried Agave fiber, used to exfoliate the skin. Adobe clay was applied to draw out the body’s impurities and soothe muscles. While indulging in this relaxing purification, I received a scalp massage, followed by a full-body hydration with desert sage oil. It was 75 minutes of heaven.

Their salon offers a large menu of services including traditional manicures and pedicures. The Golden Door Manicure includes an exfoliating hand treatment, warm paraffin and a relaxing hand and arm massage. The Golden Door Pedicure includes the same steps as the manicure but includes an extra step with a mud masque. At first, I thought it was a little over the top but I have to admit that the extra pampering was enjoyable.

After my treatments I look forward to sitting in the steam room, sauna and the O’furo, a traditional Japanese bath, all located in the ladies locker room for extra privacy.

Outdoor garden overlooking the pool

When you’re ready to venture outdoors, there are many options to choose from. A perfect setting to read a book, float in the pool or lay out, the pool area is quiet, private and serene. I’m more partial to the recliners under the covered porches to avoid direct sunlight. Either option allows you to order lunch from their health conscious menu.

Once I’ve finished perusing through the many old magazines that I’ve put aside for a day such as this I enjoy walking through the organic garden which is harvested for many of the fresh ingredients used in the dishes throughout the Boulders Resort.

If you want to feel like royalty for a day, I recommend spending a day at Golden Door Spa. Its Zen-like ambiance and Native American influences all add up to a serene experience in the desert.

Golden Door Spa at The Boulders Resort
34631 N. Tom Darlington Dr., Carefree (map)

Photos from personal collection

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