I Could Live Here: Calistoga RanchAuthor:Annette Hanami
All images courtesy Calistoga Ranch unless noted.
Before there was wine, Napa Valley was famous in the Metropolis as a resort destination for its beautiful landscape, mild climate and the medicinal springs found in Calistoga. The name of the town was in fact inspired by Samuel Brannan’s vision of Calistoga as the Saratoga Springs of California. Today, Calistoga Ranch combines the best of the region’s natural beauty and healing waters with ultimate Wine Country living to create an oasis you won’t want to leave.
Tucked into a quiet, isolated canyon, you’ll feel one with nature living in these modern rustic bungalows designed by Sandy & Babcock that seem to disappear into the mature oaks and eucalyptus. Each of the cedar-shingled lodges was designed to minimize the impact on the landscape with only a handful of trees removed on the 157-acre property during development, so each lodge has a unique layout while preserving the utmost views and privacy.
I love how the expansive decks connect the separate living and sleeping quarters in the 1- and 2- bedroom lodges, just compelling you to spend time outdoors.
All the lodges, ranging from 600 – 3,000 square feet, feature outdoor living rooms, open-air showers and fireplaces that create cozy respites even during the cooler seasons.
It’s easy to be drawn outdoors into the rugged beauty of the canyon and surrounding conservancy, where you’re bound to run into relaxed guests leisurely walking their dogs, or running or hiking on one of the three marked trails ranging from ¾ to 3.5 miles.
Find your inner calm by taking yoga or Qigong classes, indoors or out. If you’d rather be out and about, you can get in a quick swim or cardio in the nearby fitness center before heading out for an escorted “sip ‘n cycle” bike tour of local wineries or an aerial balloon tour of the valley, two of the many Wine Country adventures Calistoga Ranch can arrange.
Immerse in Terroir
For spa experiences one cannot get anywhere but in Napa Valley, immerse in the natural mineral-rich, spring-fed waters that Calistoga is famous for. The larger watsu pool is also used for aqua yoga and massage treatments for ultimate mind-body relaxation.
The terroir and grape seed extract-infused “mud bath” is more refreshing bath than mud, with all the purifying and moisturizing benefits. The terroir used for the mud bath are volcanic soils from nearby Mount St. Helena. The different specialty baths, including hydrating milk and honey, detoxifying salt or romantic bubble bath, are freshly prepared for each guest to soak in amidst a private and peaceful outdoor setting.
Follow the baths with a massage or facial in the adjoining treatment room to continue a ritual of renewal. Think Vitamin C peel or for the men, the Gentleman’s Tonic, but there are so many appealing choices you’re bound to try more than one. All the oils and cremes used in the treatments are infused with Ranch grown or raised products, like the immune-boosting honey in the Bee Well massage, wrap and mask.
Nothing is rushed at the Bathhouse before or after treatments allowing for a gentle transition. One can relax under the arbor-covered deck or soak in the pools sipping an iced glass of ginger tea.
For a taste of terroir of the sipping sort, explore wine at the Ranch where the Cabernet and Merlot grapes grow expressively here in the well-draining volcanic soils at the mouth of Dutch Henry Canyon. Calistoga Ranch in fact is the only resort with its own vineyards so guests can explore the terroir through custom harvest or blending experiences with the experts, through wine tastings of Calistoga Ranch private label wines or at the table.
Garden-fresh food abounds at the peaceful Lakehouse Restaurant or Pool Bar, where much of the produce, herbs and honey is sourced from their own organically-grown gardens.
If you’re craving specific dishes but want the local flavor, create your own menu with the chef, then gather the seasonal ingredients at the local farmers market, the garden, or even from the Ranch’s own chicken coop. Back at the Ranch, the culinary team will provide interactive instruction on how to prepare the dishes, then serve them to your for the ultimate farm-to-table experience.
The Small Necessities of Life
If you can’t completely detach from the comforts of city life, you’ll find everything you need in the Darrell Schmitt designed accommodations. Calistoga Ranch is fully wired with ipads in each room and for getting around, there’s an EV charging station for your hybrid or, for cruising, a limited number of complimentary Mercedes Benz day rentals.
As for me, everything I need is right here.
Calistoga Ranch is located at 580 Lommel Road, Calistoga.