It would seem fitting that Johnny’s Restaurant & Bar is housed in the Mount View Hotel & Spa building. The namesake for the restaurant is none other than Johnny Ghisolfo, the man who actually built the Mount View Hotel over 100 years ago. Back in 1912, before he built the Mission Revival Style, Johnny purchased the European Hotel for $5,000 — on the same site where the Mount View is located today. He worked at the European Hotel as a bartender, but also owned a ranch on Silverado Trail where he grew grapes for his winery. For six years, Johnny ran the hotel, charging guests one dollar per day for a room and three meals.
Although rumors spread the European Hotel burned in a fire, it did not. It was actually moved back in 1919 to make room for the new concrete structure that would be the Mount View Hotel, built with a handshake loan of $16,000. Johnny subsequently served as Mayor of Calistoga for multiple terms. Referred to locals as “Mr. Calistoga”, Johnny is the man who established the town’s mission of creating a welcoming community and gathering space for visitors to enjoy a local immersion experience. Fortunately, the momentum continues, and since 2016, Johnny’s has been revived.
Many owners later, in 1990, Michael Woods and his business partners purchased the Mount View Hotel. Seventeen years later, Michael and Stephanie Woods bought out the partner shares to make it a family business. Stephanie, an artist from New York, remodeled each room in a style coined as “Artistic Deco” and added 20 rooms to make 45 in total. The hotel began to name its suites after high-profile notables, including President Hoover, who stayed at the hotel during his time in office; the first lady planted a rose tree at the hotel during her stay. It still grows in the garden behind the hotel.
Today, guests of the Mount View Hotel & Spa can stay in a suite or cottage with a theme based on a winery partner, such as Tamber Bey, a Calistoga winery with a horse ranch. Overnight guests may also enjoy breakfast at Johnny’s Restaurant & Bar as part of their Mount View stay.
While Calistoga continues its momentum as a wellness town, the Mount View Hotel & Spa has added to its spa menu with some unique services. The authentic mud bath is modified into bathwater, and the sauna offers the option of Himalayan salt bricks to step on to eliminate toxins. There is an oxygen bath for two, and most recently featured is Cool Sculpting treatments. “If you can squeeze it, we can freeze it” is the motto behind this non-invasive fat-reducing procedure.
From its humble beginnings as the European Hotel, guests continue to the same spot where the Mount View lobby offers an area to view images in its Hall of History. Why not grab a glass of wine from Johnny’s and travel through a timeline of the Mount View Hotel & Spa?