Calistoga Ranch might sound like a rustic old cattlemen’s hideout, and given its location in the upper Napa valley one could mistake it for a nature commune, or some kind of eco-retreat. In fact it’s a modern and highly exclusive luxury resort, easily on a par with the world’s finest rural getaways, be they Aman resorts or otherwise.
In this case, the management is courtesy of Auberge Resorts, owners of the nearby Auberge du Soleil. Calistoga Ranch, dare we say, goes several steps beyond the Auberge; here the lodgings are all sleek and modernist freestanding cottages, built off-site and shipped in, to minimize environmental impact. Rich hardwoods, Roman blinds and hefty white beds set the tone, and details like Italian linens, ultra-modern fixtures and custom-blended bath products add a sheen of high glamour. Indoor-outdoor bathrooms recall some of the more luxurious tropical resorts, but the Northern California nights will have you pulling the duvet tight around your traveling companion.
As for leisure pursuits, the emphasis here is on utterly spoiling luxury. Traditional resort sports like golf and tennis are overlooked in favor of nature hikes and, charmingly, bocce. A lap pool and an open-air fitness center overlooking the Calistoga Ranch Vineyard are available for the fitness-minded. Total idleness, however, is certainly not frowned upon; this is the ideal place to read (or write) a book, and the Bathhouse is the Ranch’s pride and joy. Classic treatments and cutting-edge products combine with stunning set design and beautiful natural surroundings to make Calistoga Ranch a spa experience on par with any, anywhere.
All told, it’s more thorough an escape than you’ve any right to expect so close to San Francisco. This is the sort of experience that most often involves intercontinental airfares and long treks to Far East backwaters—and though it’s not exactly a cost-cutting alternative, at least you can leave your passport at home.
580 Lommel Road, Napa/Sonoma Valleys