A quaint escape known for its alfresco fun, historic charm and natural beauty.
You can hardly go anywhere in Napa Valley, California without being surrounded by hillsides dripping with grapes on the vine. This small town, famously known for not only being a Mecca of winemakers, but also home to the Culinary Institute of America, is a land unique unto itself. Full of warmth, beauty and natural adventure: welcome to Calistoga Ranch, a multifaceted destination offering more than just a trip to the vineyards. It’s a getaway for families and friends, luxury seekers, spa lovers and busy duos looking to get off the grid.
If you’ve never been to Calistoga Ranch, imagine a private bungalow tucked in a canyon surrounded by ancient oak trees, lakes and rock-hewn streams. Located in Upper Napa Valley less than a two-hour drive from downtown San Francisco, you’ll find this property is as unique as its surroundings. Picturesque cedar-shingled lodges, constructed of rustic natural materials, are comprised of free standing rooms connected by decks trellised by walkways, which all combines to make this expansive indoor/outdoor destination a relaxing and majestic escape.
Open in 2004, Calistoga is managed by Auberge (who also manages Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley), one of the world’s premiere resort companies. Keeping with the Auberge tradition of elegance, each lodge was created to take advantage of its natural surroundings, preserving the whole “bungalow in the woods” experience.
Whether you’re in a one-bedroom or deluxe lodge, each is designed with floor-to-ceiling windows, bringing every bit of the natural outdoors into each room. The warm contemporary interiors further complement the earthy environment with the use of rich polished woods and vegetable hues. If that isn’t enough to get you feeling like one with nature, pamper yourself with Calistoga Ranch’s own line of bay laurel and eucalyptus scented botanically pure body products in the outdoor bath garden where you can shower under a canopy of trees, an experience that is truly the crowning jewel of the lodges.
And if the grapes aren’t the only ones who love the sun, there’s more than enough to keep you busy outside. Calistoga offers a myriad of complimentary wellness activities to its guests that incorporate both physical and spiritual aspects, including soothing classes such as poetry, meditation and yoga, as well as biking and hiking in the redwoods near Ritchey Creek and Bothe- Napa State Park. Or stay close by and take advantage of Calistoga’s 147 acres that are dedicated to nature and hike one of the trailheads on property, then take a dip in the outdoor swimming pool that overlooks the vineyard and Mayacama Mountains. Whatever you decide, the view is sure to be unforgettable.
After a long day outside, or if your day has just begun, pamper yourself at The Bathhouse, one of Calistoga’s old legacies as a place for healing mineral waters. A natural mineral pool, outdoor showers and private soaking tubs induce a state of calmness, while the laundry list of treatments indigenous to the region, including milk and honey body wraps and lavender milk baths add to the tranquil experience. No matter which you choose from Calistoga’s unique selection of treatments, you’re in for a truly relaxing experience.
Though there are several worthwhile dining landmarks downtown, you’ll find that dining at The Lakehouse will fulfill all your desires for a true Napa experience. With panoramic views overlooking the spring-fed Lake Lommel, The Lakehouse makes good use of what Napa Valley is legendary for by using the finest organic ingredients from local farmers. On the other hand, if you simply can’t muster the energy to leave your comfortable abode but don’t want to miss a meal, arrange to have a private chef prepare something for an evening in, allowing you to relax comfortably and replenish your energy with a well-deserved meal.
More residence than resort, an extraordinary property like this wouldn’t make sense without its own vineyard—and wine cave. The sprawling vineyards that begin at the Ranch entrance welcoming visitors make sense, but the wine cave at the top of the property makes for a complete surprise. At first glance, the cave entrance seems veiled by rocks and landscape cascading around it. But beyond the entrance doors are 3800 square feet of coolness. Not surprising, the cave isn’t just a place to store wine, but also a one-of-a-kind venue for events and weddings.
One of Calistoga’s most anticipated occasions is the Annual Blending Party, a signature event of the year and the signal of the “crush” season, where guests get to blend their own vintage with a top Napa Valley vintner in the wine cave, after which the winner is announced at a multi-course Napa-style dinner following the blending. Blends are judged by renowned vintners and winemakers, Nils and Kirk Venge, and everyone leaves with two magnums of their very own blend with their own personally designed label. It’s quite the competitive event amongst native blenders, although admirably tasteful.
All told, Calistoga is a place of elegance, a place to unwind and nurture your senses, and the perfect backdrop for a fall getaway.
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