Geothermal hot springs were the reason Calistoga founder, Samuel Brannan, modeled the Napa Valley town after the hot springs of Saratoga Springs, New York. That was more than 150 years ago, and today, more than two dozen spas and hot springs-centered resorts dot the landscape around Calistoga. Guests continue to treat themselves to mud and mineral springs in an effort to detoxify and relax in the geothermal-fed pools and mud baths throughout Calistoga.
Here are some suggestions to change the way you relax:
Settle in your room and into your robe at your favorite Hot Springs Resort Property, where you can enjoy the geothermal-fed mineral pools once you’re ready to begin melting away all your stress. Choose from a menu of restorative treatments at Indian Springs Resort & Spa, (pictured above) designed to create a sense of renewal and well-being. Allow yourself to let go as you enjoy a deep tissue massage from the talented therapists at any of the relaxing resorts in Calistoga or an independent day spa such as China Sun Massage.
You can also spend your relaxing stay at a charming bed-and-breakfast like the Valley Oak Inn or Brannan Cottage Inn. Book spa treatments at a hot springs resort property in order to gain access to the mineral pools.
Now that you’re well on your way to relaxation, why not take advantage of your surroundings and connect with nature on a hike at Bothe-Napa Valley State Park where you can also visit the historic Bale Grist Mill. If you’re in need of a swimsuit to enjoy the mineral pools, Chateau Ste. Shirts has a great selection! Experience a wine tasting and shopping at Picayune Cellars & Mercantile, where you can indulge in a bit of retail therapy as you sample French Provencal-style wines on the tasting room’s outdoor patio.
As dinnertime rolls around, plan to dine by the fire-pit on the outdoor patio at Sam’s Social Club, the restaurant located on the grounds at Indian Springs Resort & Spa.
Today is all about getting muddy! Volcanic ash is a component of the restorative mud baths at many Calistoga properties. Where to begin? How about in a traditional mud bath, fully immersed in a tub of mud. You can book this style of mud bath at Calistoga Spa Hot Springs, Golden Haven Hot Springs Resort, the recently renovated spa at Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs or at the Baths at Roman Spa.
Many of Calistoga’s hot springs resorts offer colorful cruiser bikes for complimentary use, or you can rent one from the Calistoga Bikeshop. Grab your bike and order a healthy lunch to go from Cal Mart for a picnic at the Old Faithful Geyser of California. Fun fact: There’s a discount on admission for those who arrive by bicycle! Once you enter, head to the picnic-prep area, complete with cutting boards, wine glasses, chillers and everything else you might require. Take a seat at a picnic table for two or at a larger table under a covered and cushioned cabana while you enjoy your lunch and the view of the geyser as it faithfully erupts. The same volcanic activity that makes Calistoga famous for mud and wellness is what produces this spectacular natural phenomenon.
Just down the road from the Geyser, your afternoon will be complete with a visit to Chateau Montelena to taste the wines that put Napa Valley on the world’s best wines map. Besting French whites, it was a Chateau Montelena ’73 chardonnay that placed first in the 1976 grand tasting at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Paris. The results proved Chateau Montelena could produce some of the world’s finest wines; California’s wine industry had come of age.
Another great morning option is the active relaxation of a guided bike tour to area wineries with the popular Getaway Adventures Sip ‘n Cycle bike tour. It’s a great way to get a light workout and some fresh air, not to mention an excellent guided tour of the area by a local who knows their stuff! For the yogis and yoginis, Getaway Adventures also offers a Yoga, Hike and Bubbly package, featuring a yoga practice in the redwoods and a spirited hike in the tall trees, topped off with a bit of bubbly!
When you’re ready, return to downtown Calistoga and contemplate another indulgence, perhaps a non-traditional spin on the mud bath. Mount View Hotel & Spa offers its Signature Grape Seed Mud Wrap with mud enriched in vitamins and anti-oxidants and blended with crushed grape seeds from Napa Valley wineries. A light exfoliation is followed by a warm application of grape seed rose-hip mud before you’re wrapped with warm towels and blankets. While wrapped, enjoy a gentle scalp or foot massage while the mud soothes and detoxifies your skin. Alternatively, an experience of a Mudslide at Solage, An Auberge Resort, consists of painting yourself with mud and rinsing off in a private, outdoor shower. Another treatment of interest is to get down and dirty with a “Perfectly Muddled” experience at MoonAcre Spa & Baths with its mix-your-own-mud bar.
After a full day of wine and wellness, you’ll want a relaxing and low-key dinner at a cozy spot such as Amaro Italian Kitchen. This new kid on the block serves Italian cuisine in a laid back setting and offers an extensive wine list with a focus on local and Italian varietals as well as a large selection of Amaro, the Italian liqueur.
Start your morning in a zen mode and walk the river rock labyrinth near Indian Springs Resort & Spa as the sun is rising. Bring this meditative and reflective mood with you into the rest of your day. Continue on to a leisurely brunch at Lovina, a lovely restaurant with a most notable outdoor patio, perfect for lingering conversations and mimosas.
End your stay with a little wine tasting at Laura Michael Wines, a boutique winery owned by husband and wife team, Laura and Michael Swanton. Sip award-winning estate zinfandel, as well as a light rosé while basking in the Calistoga sunshine and surrounded by a rose garden in full bloom.