By Pati Navalta Poblete By Pati Navalta Poblete | November 14, 2019 | Food & Drink Lifestyle Feature Travel & Recreation Restaurants Reviews Eat and Drink Best of the Bay Travel Weekend Escapes California Destinations Further Afield Features Napa Valley
Napa Valley resorts offer guests three distinct experiences.
Calistoga Ranch guests have access to outdoor garden showers and living room.
It’s one thing to experience a getaway in Napa Valley, surrounded by its fragrant, verdant vineyards. A weary traveler can easily get intoxicated by its natural beauty, aided, of course, by the flowing wine. But it’s quite another to experience the wine country while staying at one of the three Auberge resorts—the key word being “experience.” Each has mastered the Auberge luxury-in-the-details trademark, but that’s where the commonalities end. Each property has found a unique way to leverage its existing landscape to create an unforgettable memory—from a romantic retreat to a family-friendly adventure to the ultimate girlfriends’ getaway. Here’s a glimpse of the trio to help you decide which Auberge resort suits your plans for a recharge.
Your luxurious perch may make you feel as if you're in a treehouse—only with a private outdoor lounge space with a fireplace and hot tub.
FAMILY FUN: There’s glamping, then there’s Calistoga Ranch.
While it’s a sprawling property, Calistoga Ranch is completely secluded. There is only one way to get in (and out): an unassuming dirt road off of the Silverado Trail. The lodges are built into the landscape, lending each unit a feeling of being in a treehouse—only with a private outdoor lounge space with a fireplace and hot tub, an outdoor rainfall shower, and a master bedroom with a separate unit with a living room and bar space. The property welcomes families and offers several multiunit lodges intended for up to two families. Staff members are at the ready with golf carts, prepared to escort you from your lodge to anywhere you want to go on the property: dining at the Lakehouse; a private event in the wine cave; the pool; your spa appointment; or the vineyard and garden, where guests are welcome to visit the chicken coop to collect their own eggs for breakfast. And, no, you’re not seeing things—that really is a crystal chandelier and wall art hanging in the chicken coop.
Nestled among a canopy of ancient oak trees, redwoods and a diverse assortment of flora and fauna, the property sits on 157 acres of land and comprises 50 guest lodges and 22 owner lodges.
There are plenty of amazing places to eat in Napa Valley, but there’s no need to leave the property if you’re seeking an elevated dining experience. The Lakehouse seasonal menu offers one palate-pleaser after another. Not-to-miss starters include grilled octopus with celeriac, baby fennel, citrus and trout roe; house-cured pork belly with corn pudding, pepper jelly, honey and cornbread crumble. For entrees, the Sonoma grass-fed filet with twice-baked potatoes, asparagus, and horseradish hollandaise is a revelation, as is the pacific halibut with lobster sausage, Parmesan green risotto and saffron pickled fennel. For dessert, the creme fraiche mousse with graham cracker crumble and huckleberry is a beautiful dish. Looking for something different? Ask about the yoga wine-tasting class. You can learn about each wine made on the property while practicing yoga between sips.
Calistoga Ranch, 580 Lommel Road, Calistoga
Dining: The Lakehouse. Showcases dishes using organic ingredients from local farmers, with indoor and outdoor seating overlooking pastoral views of Lake Lommel.
Spa: Auberge Spa at Calistoga Ranch. Natural mineral pool and quiet treatment rooms with outdoor garden showers and private soaking tubs.
Character: Family-friendly adventure
Valley views from Auberge du Soleil, with redesigned Private Maisons by SF interior designer Suzanne Tucker
ROMANCE: Serenade your sweetheart in the hills of Auberge du Soleil.
You’ve had family time and weekends with the girls. Now it’s time to focus on romance. Even the least romantic among you will leave the place wanting to recite poetry on a gondola in the moonlight. Be prepared: This property is all about luxury. The hilltop, olive grove resort sits on 33 acres and comprises 50 rooms, including deluxe suites styled by San Francisco designer Suzanne Tucker. Each room includes a fireplace and an outdoor terrace with panoramic views of Napa Valley and the Mayacamas Mountains to the west. Guests staying in one of the private maisons can enjoy a soak in an outdoor sculptural tub or a rain shower surrounded by nature. When you’re ready to eat, dining at The Restaurant is a feast for all senses.
Outdoor seating gives you an unobstructed view of the place that gave life to all the flavors you’re about to experience. You can’t go wrong with anything on this menu, but if you’re looking for some suggestions, try the white corn soup with tarragon creme fraiche, brioche and bay shrimp. For a second course, taste the seared yellowfin tuna with Armenian cucumber, yogurt, chickpeas and Moroccan spice. For your main course, the local lamb with Blue Lake beans, sun gold tomatoes, pesto and ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms will inspire that poem you’ll be reciting later. And for dessert, simple is spectacular.
Go with the trio of seasonal housemade fruit sorbets. For a morning or afternoon stroll, the property boasts walking trails throughout the grounds, lined with public art made by a diverse collection of artists. Located in the middle of it all is a meditation pagoda, where you can roll out your yoga mat or meditate with the sound of a running creek in the backdrop. Nearby, you can find the spa, with mineral soaking tubs, steam room, cold plunge pool and hot tub, all with the same breathtaking views of the valley. The property also has a separate area with a swimming pool, hot tub and cabanas where you can order drinks and appetizers poolside. Looking for something different? This is it. The whole resort experience will have you relaxed, rejuvenated and in love—not only with the person with whom you came, but with life itself.
Auberge du Soleil, 180 Rutherford Hill Road, Rutherford
Dining: The Restaurant. Thirteen consecutive Michelin stars, with Mediterranean-inspired cuisine complemented by an extensive selection of wines from the hotel’s 15,000-bottle cellar.
Spa: Auberge du Soleil Spa
Character: Romantic retreat
Solage’s inviting plash pairs with hot springs pools.
GIRLS' TRIP: Ladies, let’s talk Solage.
For years we’ve been telling our girlfriends that we should do a girls’ getaway, leaving the conversation open-ended with “somewhere soon.” Talk no more. The time has come, and this is the place. Solage sits on 22 acres right off of Silverado Trail, with 89 rooms and suites (referred to as “studios” here). The resort is surrounded by sweeping views of the Palisades and Mayacamas Mountains, and is within walking distance to the town of Calistoga.
The overall theme here is fun and hip. Beach cruisers are parked in front of every studio and are there for you for the duration of your stay. Tool around to the pool, the bocce courts and/or one of the private cabanas or lounge areas sprinkled throughout the resort. If you’re not in the mood to pedal, you and your friends can trade in your cruisers for one of the Mercedes-Benz vehicles available to guests (at no extra charge).
For eats, Michelin-rated Solbar, located at the heart of the property, is the perfect place to catch up with your friends over glasses of local wine and amazing dishes. Standout first courses include: chilled yellow tomato soup with crispy breadcrumbs, garden basil Parmesan mousse and sun gold tomatoes; and the Yukon gold potato gnocchi with Maine lobster, beach mushrooms, curried walnuts and sauce beurre monté. For main courses, the Liberty Farms duck breast with crispy yellow polenta, duck confit, coral champagne cherries, grilled chicory and pistachios does not disappoint, nor does the olive oil-poached Alaskan halibut, with local morel mushrooms, California asparagus, summer peas and bearnaise sauce. (Note: The menu is seasonal, so dishes change regularly.)
And, of course, the spa: the glue that binds every great friendship. In addition to the many spa treatments from which you can choose, Spa Solage also has the bathhouse and mud bar, which involves covering yourself in white mud before submerging yourself in an outdoor tub. You also have your choice of mineral baths and pools here. Looking for something different? Every Sunday at 10am, Solage welcomes guests to the Sunday Funday Robe Walk. Stroll through the landscaped grounds; drink cocktails; or just lounge and read a book in the comfort of your robe. Really, it’s OK.
Cheers, and namaste!
Solage, 755 Silverado Trail, Calistoga
Dining: Solbar. Michelin-rated restaurant with an energetic and seasonally driven menu that highlights local ingredients and bold flavors.
Spa: Spa Solage. Full-service 20,000-square-foot spa, with both indoor and outdoor space, and 14 treatment rooms to experience a variety of massages and body work.
Character: Girlfriends’ getaway
Photography by: Auberge du Soleil: Trinette + Chris; Others: Courtesy of resorts