Wine Country excels in more than just vino. Whether you’re looking for quiet recuperation from burnout or a jump start to a new way of thinking, these spas turn relaxation into an art form.
The spa at Solage Calistoga.
Courtesy of Solage Calistoga
Snuggle Up with Mother Nature
Even being indoors feels like the outdoors—and, oh so relaxing—at Calistoga Ranch.
When Calistoga Ranch was being laid out in Biter Canyon, the builders outlined the spaces available between beautiful tall trees and wheeled in individual building frames designed to fit those spaces. The result? Each elegantly designed guest accommodation is completely surrounded by Mother Nature. In fact, each feels like a tree house—if you’re used to a tree house with a spacious deck, outdoor hot tub, indoor-outdoor fireplace, outdoor shower, billowy bed linens, and an iPod dock and sound system.
Your private nest among the trees—as well as the outdoor soaking pool at the Bathhouse Spa, with its own view of the canyon—will flip your switch to full-on relax mode in a matter of hours. Deep nature plus deeply soothing creature comforts are the genius behind Calistoga Ranch, and a few nights there will have you feeling like you’ve thrown away your to do list, and reconnected to the life force. —Michaela Jarvis
1 / Keep an eye peeled: Lady Gaga, Pink, P. Diddy, and the royal family of Spain have all stayed here.
2 / Be sure to visit the organic garden, and look for some newcomers: resident honeybees lounging on floating corks in a steel trough of water. Everyone relaxes at this place.
3 / Mornings in the canyon tend to be a bit foggy. They’re a great time to take a walk or visit the airy, poolside fitness studio.
4 / Calistoga Ranch also has Mercedes-Benzes to make stylish forays into the valley. Just provide your name, driver’s license, and contact info to the concierge in exchange for complimentary cruising.
580 Lommel Rd., Calistoga, (707) 254-2800, calistogaranch.com.
The Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort & Spa
Unique customized energy treatments go beyond relaxation to shift your perspective entirely.
A flame accents the logo of the Lodge at Sonoma, and getting cozy by the fire is certainly the theme here—from the hearth in the lobby, to fire pits around the pool, to glowing embers in the Raindance Spa’s relaxation room. During a Customized Energy Treatment, however, the fire is in my mind. In guided visualization, I’ve walked through a forest to a clearing with a giant sun. Janna Raye, my healing energy provider, instructs me to hold up a prism, letting a rainbow of color fall across my body. She asks which color I feel most powerfully. It is green. This, she says, is the color of my aura—at least for today. I envision this green energy flowing through my body and all around, comforting me. A meditation newbie, I struggle with focus, but one thing is certain: I. Am. So. Relaxed. I return to the resting room and sip herbal tea, munch on mixed nuts and seeds, and read pamphlets from Raye on the significance of chakras and flower essences, and how to access my aura on a daily basis. Hmm, relaxation like this every day? —LeeAnne Jones
1 / Before a day of wine tasting, stop by the Lodge’s new Bean & Bottle Coffeehouse and Wine Bar for a picnic of gourmet on-the-go cheese, bread, and charcuterie.
2 / Of the 182 rooms, 102 are cozy cottages, with soaking tubs, ridiculously comfortable beds, and, yes, fireplaces.
3 / The spa store features locally made bath products and fashion accessories. Body butter made with lavender from Matanzas Creek Winery is divine—and makes for a great gift or souvenir.
4 / Don’t leave without trying the cured salmon “pastrami,” with mustard sauce, pickled red onions, and rye crisps (along with a 2011 Cochon Old Vine Rosé), at the Carneros Bistro & Wine Bar.
1325 Broadway, Sonoma, (707) 935-6600, thelodgeatsonoma.com.
Milliken Creek Inn & Spa
The woodsy setting of this cozy inn exudes a romantic vibe, without cheesy clichés.
Milliken Creek Inn & Spa, located along the Napa River, melds rustic natural beauty with unique romantic touches to transform a Wine Country trip into an intimate getaway. The 12-room inn feels secluded beneath the trees, and you can easily slip out for walks in the leafy shade without encountering other guests. In-room amenities such as a deep spa-therapy tub, one-touch fireplace, and private balcony encourage guests to don soft robes and hole up for the weekend. A turndown service with the lighting of candles feels magical.
Couples can mingle in the main building during a complimentary wine and cheese reception at sunset, or sneak back later for a late-night glass of port by the fire. For the ultimate indulgence, let stress melt away during the signature couple’s aromatherapy massage. Two skilled therapists relax you and your partner with a combination of restorative techniques and your choice of essential oils, including one called “loving,” a blend of cedarwood, ylang-ylang, and tangerine. —Kristen Haney
1 / The Romance Uncorked package—two nights’ accommodations, a couple’s aromatherapy massage, turndown service with champagne, glowing candles, and chocolate-covered strawberries—is perfect for the two of you.
2 / For breakfast, choose from hot items such as Belgian waffles or quiche, and savor the delivered basket in bed, or outside on one of the benches overlooking the river.
3 / Arrangements can be made for an in-room welcome, which involves sparkling wine and chocolate-
1815 Silverado Trail, Napa, (800) 835-6112, millikencreekinn.com.
You Go, Girls
A girls’ getaway at Solage encourages more female bonding than a late 1990s Lilith Fair.
It’s hardly a tough sell getting your women friends psyched for a spa getaway. Too often, though, the spa breaks up the gabfest with separate treatment rooms and even separate places to soak. At Solage, girlfriends unite!
The Mudslide treatment, a variation on a conventional Calistoga mud bath, allows you and three of your friends to be together as you slather yourselves with a mixture of California clay and volcanic ash, geothermal mineral water, and your choice of gorgeous-smelling essential oil blends. Beats the heck out of the stinky sulfur smell associated with most mud baths.
Then, it’s mineral bath time all around, in individual tubs that can be brought into shared space just by pulling back partitioning curtains. There’s even an outdoor women-only soaking pool (and a men-only one, too), and you can work out together in complimentary fitness, yoga, and Pilates classes. —Michaela Jarvis
1 / Solage lucked out when it hired Executive Chef Brandon Sharp, who has earned a Michelin star three years in a row at Solage’s top-notch restaurant, Solbar. His dishes are innovative and surprising—without being precious—and beautifully seasonal. We loved a Treviso and baby escarole salad, and seared Monterey sardines served with Meyer lemon–glazed shallots and a sea urchin béarnaise.
2 / Solbar is known for its amazing potions from the bar. Artisanal, local, seasonal—these drinks are works of art.
3 / When you’re not being stretched, soaked, or slathered at Solage, drive your girl gang around the valley in a Mercedes convertible or SUV, available to you for free, as long as you don’t mind being put on Mercedes-Benz’s mailing list.
755 Silverado Trail, Calistoga, (707) 226-0800, solagecalistoga.com.
The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa
Get a sense of time travel at a spot where “taking the waters” has long been in fashion.
Built in 1927 in the style of a California mission, the gorgeous resort sits on ground that long before was a popular natural hot spring. The Willow Stream Spa, and its soothing bathing ritual room, invites guests to soak in the hallowed mineral waters before and after being pampered with a treatment. Try the 90-minute Sonoma stone massage, which rids the nervous system of every modern-day jitter. You’ll feel as though you’ve returned to a simpler, quieter era.
The inn’s acclaimed restaurant, Santé, offers classics updated with all things fresh and local. Start your meal with Maine lobster and black truffle baked into mac and cheese, when available (the menu changes every two to three months), before moving to a main course of fresh fish, steak, or even bacon-wrapped rabbit. —Peter Crooks
1 / The resort’s restaurant received a Michelin star and a four-diamond award from AAA in 2012. It’s the only restaurant in the Sonoma Valley to have earned both accolades.
2 / The cool tiled floors, warm fireplaces, and giant Jacuzzi tubs in the recently refurbished Mission Suites exude a relaxed elegance.
3 / Guest service on our recent visit, especially in the spa and restaurant, was excellent.
100 Boyes Blvd., Sonoma, (707) 938-9000, fairmont.com/sonoma.