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Creating at Golden Door’s Koi Pond

Zang Toi
Photo by: Alexi Ludomirski
Creating at Golden Door’s Koi Pond

Zang Toi

Haute Couture Designer
2x Guest

Once I crossed the footbridge, my mind became so free. I felt like 50 pounds had been lifted off me. My mind became so free, I started designing my latest collection. It wasn’t work, it was fun.

What first brought you to Golden Door?

Zang: I read about Golden Door for many, many years. I think for at least 20 years, I always wanted to go there.

Golden Door is legendary, so I wanted to experience it, and also to have some “me time” alone and to go on the hikes that I had read so much about. And of course, all the spa treatments… they were beyond my expectations. Everybody is so kind, and the service is so incredible, they’re so accommodating. They made me feel at home right away. They really care about you. It’s not fake, it’s so genuine.

Why is spending time alone so vital to you?

Zang: I love traveling by myself. I’m with people all the time, and everybody wants a piece of me. I’m in an industry where I always have to make everyone happy. Their gown has to be perfect, their suit has to be perfectly tailored, they have to get compliments all the time.
I leave everything behind once I walk across that footbridge and into Golden Door. I’m there to make myself happy and no one else. It is a great feeling.

I think that’s how I experienced that life-changing effect at Golden Door. You have to have that beautiful moment to yourself, to make yourself feel beautiful. Once you make yourself feel beautiful, you can go out and help make all the other people look beautiful.
After that few days, I’m all recharged, and I can go back out into the world and help to make all the ladies look beautiful, to make everybody happy.

Tell us about that transformative moment you experienced.

Zang: One day I was sitting by the koi pond after lunch. I didn’t join the group for the workout or the activity, I needed some moments by myself, just looking at those beautiful koi. It’s just so peaceful and meditative.

The staff set up a table for me in that garden to do my sketches all by myself. It was just a slice of paradise that was all mine. The surrounding nature is so beautiful, it was just inspiring. My mind became so free. I just kept sketching. It wasn’t work anymore, I was just having fun sketching my collection for hours. I felt like I was floating.

Which activity had the most profound effect on you?

Zang: There’s a really special hike. Everyone has to keep a distance of about a hundred feet between each other. And we all hike in the silence. That was just transforming for me because I’m so shy by nature, but I’m not usually very social with a group of people that I don’t know.

No one had to feel like they had to talk just for the sake of talking. We hiked all the way to the top and all the way down in silence. That was one of the most transforming experiences for me in life. Sometimes I think a little chit-chatting or social talking is overrated.
All you can focus on is yourself. I can just focus on breathing in and out that beautiful, clean air, and just let my mind go free without worry about making small talk to anybody. It was amazing.

What word would you use to describe your experience?

Zang: It’s just so cleansing. It just lifts off so much, especially when you’re so busy. You’re always in a work routine, you don’t realize that you can only carry so much weight on you. That feeling is just so freeing. I feel like I’m 50 pounds lighter.

And for a few days, I have time to pamper myself with all the great treatments, the hiking, the delicious food, and the beautiful environment. I feel great about myself again, then I can go out and share that feeling with everybody else.