The Bergson is a relaxation escape for travelers who seek a home base or comfortable retreat in the Napa Valley, but this hidden gem in Calistoga offers more than a typical lodging experience. Within its 21 rooms, each unique in décor, and its two suites with cathedral ceilings, the property is located on Foothill Boulevard in an intimate nook of coziness best described as a different world — yet walkable to downtown Calistoga.
The interesting history and backstory of The Bergson and its French-inspired interior design begins with its namesake. In 2014, when the Patel family purchased the property from the Laytons, they had a vision to refresh and modernize the three buildings of the former “Christopher’s Inn”. The Bergson name was born from French philosopher of the early 20th century, Henri-Louis Bergson, who convinced other great thinkers that immediate experience and intuition are more significant that rationalism and science for understanding reality — a philosophy relative to travel exploration.
Outside the property, an arrangement of exotic trees lead the way to a large water fountain and into a lobby where daily breakfast is available buffet-style, with bistro seating among the warmth of a fireplace in the relaxation area. Design elements are sure to catch your eye, but perhaps the most notable place of interest is just beyond the lobby in the stairway between two second floor rooms.
It took exactly 1,442 pieces of glass to create a masterpiece stained glass window at the foot of the stairwell. Artist Mark Bogenrief worked with the previous owner to create something unique, utilizing his experience restoring Tiffany pieces for various museums.
The two worked together by laying the glass work on a light table. According to his wife, Adele, Christopher Layton wanted strong colors placed at the bottom and “special” blue tones throughout.
“His design concept lived only in his mind,” she shared.
She went on to say how he disliked certain blue pieces and was smitten by the red, “twinkly” color pieces. Notably, those red pieces were actually used taillights from automobiles.
You have to see it to believe it.
On occasion, The Bergson hosts wine/food tastings in the lobby, and regularly caters to wedding parties.