It’s long been one of the most popular destinations in L.A.’s San Gabriel Mountains and Angeles National Forest for hiking, camping, biking and skiing. But if a local development group has its way, the no-frills Mt. Baldy area is about to get a heaping dose of luxury, with a new multimillion-dollar health and wellness retreat slated to open in 2025. The group behind the project hopes the retreat will give L.A. locals even more reasons to visit Mt. Baldy — including the chance to stay at five-star accommodations with panoramic vistas, paired with unfettered access to a wide range of activities such as horseback riding, zip lining, yoga and meditation.
Touted as the only offering of its kind within a six-hour drive of Los Angeles County — complete with breathtaking scenery from its 5,000-foot elevation — a proposed 190-acre Mt. Baldy Wellness Retreat will be geared toward corporate events, family gatherings and individuals seeking a wide array of leisurely pursuits.
“We are re-imagining the way people vacation, and there is currently nothing like this private, ecologically sound wellness retreat in Southern California,” says Johnney Zhang, CEO of Primior, the Diamond Bar-based real estate development and asset management firm that purchased the site previously approved for an RV park in 2018. “The sprawling, majestic beauty is highlighted with an endless amount of privacy for our guests and outdoor activities to enjoy.”
According to Zhang, Primior is actively involved in negotiations with Aman Resorts International, a luxury hotel group with 32 destinations in 20 countries, to serve as the retreat’s operating partner. The Mt. Baldy Wellness Retreat, he adds, will be heavily inspired by Aman’s Amangiri resort adjacent to the Navajo Nation Reservation in Canyon Point, Utah, and the spectacular Amangani, which rests at the foot of the Teton Mountains in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Much like those resorts — both known for beautiful aesthetics and a focus on mindfulness — the design of the Mt. Baldy Wellness Retreat will employ the use of modern, rich woods and natural light to accentuate the surrounding mountain landscape, Zhang says. In addition, feng shui design principles and water features will be integrated throughout the grounds to promote a Zen-like environment.
The three-part development is currently in the design and entitlement stage, with the estimated budget expected to top $150 million, says Zhang. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2023, with the initial phase expected to encompass approximately 76 acres. Chuck Minyard of Primior is serving as the local architect of record, and the firm is working with award-winning Australian designer Jamie Durie on the landscape and conceptual design.
Among the offerings that can be expected: plunge pools meandering around expansive boulders; walking and hiking trails; a wildlife refuge for native species, specifically indigenous goats; hot springs; labyrinth gardens; and equestrian facilities. Additional plans call for 60-70 luxury private bungalows ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 square feet, along with a pool, children’s playground, yoga and meditation pavilions, an amphitheater, wine cellars curated by an expert sommelier, a spa and wellness center, and a trio of restaurants serving American, Chinese and French cuisine.
Program directors also will be on hand to customize wellness activities for each guest, and complimentary seasonal lift tickets and shuttle service to the Mt. Baldy Ski Resort will be available.