A the northern tip of Napa Valley is Calistoga, an old west sort of town famous for its mud baths. Discovered by the Wappo Indians, it became the dream of Sam Brannan in the mid-1800's to develop it into a spa town to rival Saratoga - a "California-Sarasota". Alas, his vision fizzled and the man who was once the first millionaire from the gold rush died penniless. He was a bit before his time as today Calistoga thrives with diverse lodging from cool motels to 5 star resorts. Mud bath, anyone?
Up in the mountains on The Silverado Trail, away from the town of Calistoga and crowds is a hidden gem of a resort, brought to you by the same folks who own Auberge du Soleil.
The winding roads lined with pine trees, the wood shingled houses, it certainly doesn't look like a resort or a hotel.
The rooms, or "lodges" as they call them, are free standing buildings centered around a shared outdoor living area. With accommodations ranging from 600 to 2,400 square feet, it will feel more like a home than a room. The rooms feature luxurious and comfortable contemporary designs, stunning, like you just walked into a home design magazine. There's a spa, of course, twice-daily housekeeping, their own wine cave and private labeled wine, cooking demos, wine and cheese tasting's... you get the idea, this is the good life.
Dining is strictly a "members only" sort of affair - if you're not staying here don't think you can crash the party. In-room dining is always an option if you want to stay in and just enjoy the surroundings, but they also offer lakeside dining under the stars... how cool does that sound? Romantic? Honeymoon? Oh yes, this is the place.
CALISTOGA RANCH : Check Rates and Availability
580 Lommel Road, Calistoga, CA 94515 (map)
Local Wally Notes: Dine by the lake for a romantic setting that you'll remember for a lifetime. Calistoga Ranch isn't inexpensive but for those with the dough, it can't be beat.
At first glance Solage looks a lot like a housing compound with Jimmy Carter Habitat Houses scattered around. What?
But wait, it's not what you think. Peek inside and it's upscale elegance, high thread count linens and contemporary furnishings. You spot the pool and lounge and realize that this isn't a housing project, it's another top notch resort filled with beautiful people!
Welcome to Auberge du Soleil's Solage, an upscale resort that takes many of its cues from Carneros Inn with its bungalow compound approach and understated elegance. A top rated Michelin star winning restaurant on site, popular Solbar, you're not going to see Billy Carter guzzling a beer anywhere near here. If you're looking for something completely different in a hotel, if you want the best personal service and the finest food, then Solage is your place.
The historic Mount View Hotel and Spa blends the old with the new in a way that is contemporary, trendy, and stylish - while still keeping the rates down to Earth.
The location is great - right in the historic downtown area. You'll love being able to walk up and down the street after winetasting, checking out the shops and the great restaurants - and you won't need to wander too far if you're hungry as top rated Jole restaurant is right on the property.
There's regular guest rooms, suites and even cottages with their own private jacuzzi. A full featured spa is available to enhance your stay. There's also a pool, jacuzzi spa, complimentary continental breakfast in bad, even Aveda bath products in the room.
So go ahead and save a few bucks without sacrificing much of anything. Flat screen TV's wine tasting at the pool on Fridays, Free Wi-Fi, all in a trendy modern setting inside a historic hotel.
MOUNT VIEW HOTEL AND SPA: Check Rates and Availability
1457 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga, CA 94515 (map)
Local Wally Notes: Rent bikes down the street to explore the sights and wineries around Calistoga. And don't forget the goofy petrified forest and even Old Faithful, an actual geyser that spouts its top every 30 minutes.
WHERE TO NEXT?
CHECK OUT ALL THE HOTELS IN NAPA VALLEY
SPRING 2013: Thank you everyone for making this one of the most popular sites on Napa. Very cool.
The big Napa news is that we now have our own online store called Napa Valley Home & Garden. We're bringing the best of Napa Farmhouse living right to your home. Check it out - we're open for business!