SPA REVIEWS: Scottsdale's Golden Door Spa at The Boulders

Inherent Seduction

With that in mind, the spa menu offers a spectrum of intriguing indigenous rituals—and the best among them feel like they could only be administered against this stunning desert backdrop. For instance, there’s the Turquoise Wrap (80 min./$205-$215), a Golden Door signature treatment. Based on the Native American belief that the semi-precious, bright blue stone’s color is the hue of protection, self-confidence and positive energy, this service treats recipients to a warm wrap of turquoise clay and pure honey, and finishes with an application of honey butter. Throughout the process, guests also experience the soothing sounds of a rain stick.

Then there’s the distinctly Western-flavored American Avocado Citrus Scrub (75 min./$145-$155), an invigorating exfoliation made from natural ingredients rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, plus a sheer slick of warm avocado citrus oil. The luckiest clients are in for the Spirit of the Southwest (5 hrs./$715), which deftly combines the Turquoise Wrap with—you guessed it—a hot and cold stone massage employing ancient techniques. Then comes a Golden Harvest Facial, an aromatic treat harnessing the healing and beautifying properties of pumpkin, green tea and avocado.

I’m tempted by all of it. But right now in the glorious Southwest, it’s honey harvesting season and, not by accident, the Golden Door is offering a seasonal specialty dubbed the Honey Wrap (75 min./$145-$155). In conjunction with the resort’s first-ever Honey Festival, special honey-drenched menu items at all of its restaurants, and a public gathering of local honey producers, the Golden Door is showcasing innovative, honey-centric pampering techniques. I’ve been told that desert honey is especially fragrant and flavorful, as it contains less water than what bees produce in other parts of the country. What’s more, honey contains enzymes, nutrients and vitamins that nourish and energize the skin.

En route to the women’s changing room, I wander past a tableau of small boulders that line an indoor fountain—it’s a lovely homage to the astonishing landscape outside. After changing into a desert-weight cotton robe, I explore the wet areas of the spa. The Golden Door invites all guests to spend the entire day exploring the spa amenities, and staff suggests the following self-guided, pre-treatment ritual: a thermal circuit of the Japanese o-furo pool, a steam room infused with eucalyptus oils, and a classic dry sauna. “This purification ritual prepares the body to reap the maximum benefit of our treatments,” says spa director Sheri Claflin. I indulge in each as suggested, and then settle into a plush chaise to enjoy a cold glass of herbal tea and feast on some dried fruit and nuts.

My therapist, Stacy, leads me into a quiet room adorned with a giant rustic God’s–eye. She especially enjoys performing my chosen treatment, mostly because honey’s such an effective healer and beautifier: “A bee has to make one million trips to a flower in order to produce one tablespoon of honey, so it’s got to be special,” she reasons as she begins rubbing my back, stomach, arms and legs with a brush—a way of sloughing dead skin and bringing energy to the skin. She then brushes my entire body with a locally sourced honey, and wraps me in a luxurious blanket, allowing the golden liquid’s natural vitamins and nutrients to soften and nourish my skin. As she massages my scalp, I drift off to sleep.