There’s only one way to get into the 157-acre Napa Valley idyll known as Calistoga Ranch: as a guest. Well, you could come as a guest of a guest, but then you wouldn’t be able to lounge about in a decadent spa robe each morning, sipping freshly brewed coffee on your terrace as you watch the mist rise off serene Lake Lommel. You wouldn’t get to spend a day with the resort’s acclaimed chef getting to know the region’s produce and traditional cuisine. And the only on-resort winery in Napa, Sotero Vineyard, would be closed to you, its crush rituals and collection of house merlots and cabernets reserved for overnight guests; if you’re lucky, an invitation to an elegant dinner at the storied Wine Cave might come your way. The exclusive Vintner Program, which brings the region’s most iconic winemakers to the ranch for private tastings and events, is also guests-only. Perks are endless—guided hikes through the famously beautiful countryside, poolside morning yoga classes, and the house Mercedes.
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Hidden away on the eastern side of Napa Valley, between the postcard-worthy towns of Calistoga and St. Helena, Calistoga Ranch is both romantically secluded and within a stone’s throw of all the wine region’s many sights and attractions. It’s located practically on the Silverado Trail—a historic highway that runs through some of Napa’s most scenic terrain—and near the many renowned wineries that line it (neighbors include Sterling Vineyards and the artsy Clos Pegase). The sleepy spa town of Calistoga is a popular destination for traditional mineral baths, while the more touristy St. Helena is home to a number of winery tasting rooms, charming cafés, and high-end boutiques. The surrounding area is also known for its hiking and biking trails, and the hotel’s expert concierge can organize private adventures, including hot-air balloon rides.
Need to Know
Rooms: 50 freestanding lodges. From $685. Check-in: 4 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: With a wall of windows overlooking Lake Lommel and an haute-cuisine kitchen run by award-winning chef Bryan Moscatello, the rustic-chic Lakehouse restaurant would be an impossible reservation if it were open to anyone other than guests, owners, Vintner Program members, and their guests. The kitchen gets many of its ingredients from the on-site greenhouse (and the rest from Napa’s many local purveyors); the greenhouse also hosts a weekly farmers’ market for guests in the warmer months. In addition to the main dining room, which serves three meals a day and drinks at most hours, there’s a more casual poolside café. The grounds are also home to Sotero Vineyard, and the eateries boast an impressive California wine list. Spa and gym details: The focus at the Auberge Spa at Calistoga Ranch is on nature, from the natural mineral pool to the creekside treatment pavilions to outdoor garden showers. Treatments, too, draw on locally sourced ingredients and traditional healing practices, and the Bee Well program offers treatments using honey from Calistoga Ranch’s own honeybees. The resort has a well-equipped, indoor-outdoor fitness center overlooking the vineyards, in addition to hiking trails, free wellness classes, personal training, and a large outdoor pool.
Who it’s best for: Foodies, wine snobs, couples, and other privacy-craving luxury lovers who want to be close to nature. Our favorite rooms: The most private and decadent lodging option at Calistoga Ranch, the Estate Lodge, is worth the splurge for those seeking the ultimate Napa Valley experience; the stand-alone, two-bedroom house overlooks Lake Lommel and has a scenic hot tub, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, a fully equipped kitchen, and exclusive use of a house Mercedes. For foodies: Learn culinary tips and spend a day cooking with the resort’s executive chef, Bryan Moscatello, thanks to Calistoga Ranch’s signature Food of Place program, included in all rates. The program changes each month based on the seasonal harvest.