Calistoga Travel Guide
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When we went to Napa last week, we did what anyone visiting Napa would do. We ate. We ate our way through the valley, we ate food with food, food on top of food and quite possibly would have had sex with the food if the opportunity was there. Did we make our point clear? The food here is otherworldly.
But there's just so much steak and pastas and steaks our hearts could take. So imagine our sigh of relief when we parked our extra weight at Solage Calistoga's SolBar.
Don't let the name fool you. "SolBar" might sound like a cafe lounge where hippies congregate for hemp kale crisps but it's actually a Michelin-star rated masterpiece. Like, people drive in from San Francisco to dine here, thanks to easy-on-the-eyes executive chef Brandon Sharp's magic wand (or, uh, spatula).
The sustainably farmed ingredients with a twist on soul food recipes (the fried chicken is TDF) is truly exceptional. But that's not what we're all about right now. The kitchen just introduced a new Asian-inspired lounge menu last month. The culinary team of white people prove they can make some crazy-awesome, fancy Asian cuisine.
Read on to hear a few of our favorites!
As summer came to an end last week, we headed up for one last wine country weekend in Napa, and stayed at Solage Calistoga. The newest of Napa’s Auberge Resorts, Solage is aimed at a hipper, younger and more eco-conscious crowd than its sibs, Calistoga Ranch, and Auberge du Soleil.
To see what the average $495 room rate gets you, check the video of our room.
Everyone all together now, "Awwww...." Yes, these babydoll sheep at the Calistoga Ranch in Napa are so adorable. But they actually serve a very important purpose at the resort. The sheep have replaced lawnmowers as a way to reduce the resort's carbon footprint.
No more lawnmower emissions, noisy machines, or a large carbon footprint--the Babydoll Sheep munch their way through the tall grasses behind the lodges and near the Valley View Trail. They'll be surrounded by a solar-charged electric fence that will protect them during their stay at Calistoga Ranch.
The sheep are less than two feet tall and are extremely docile in nature known to be extremely docile. And um, incredibly cute!
The resort has also replaced water bottles at turndown service with handmade glasses and pitchers made by a local artist and potter and last week on Arbor Day, guests were greeted at check-in with their own individually potted miniature olive tree.
Since Solage Calistoga set up shop in Napa Valley more than a year ago, the reviews have been a decidedly mixed bag. Take TA reviews, for starters, where some folks love the relaxing and hip vibe while others still complain of opening kinks that haven't quite worked themselves out yet. This past weekend, the New York Times joined the fray with an official review.
Run by the operators of Napa Valley grande dame Auberge du Soleil, Solage Calistoga is intended for a younger, more design-forward wine-swilling crowd. (NYT points to the Verve Remixed soundtrack in the pool area as proof.) The "New Urbanist's boutique hotel" has simple cottages linked by landscaped paths leading to the mammoth pool, restaurant, spa, and sunken bocce court.
Napa Valley has a lengthy list of 5 star properties tucked in the hills and throughout the downtown areas that cost major coin. Although most have high design, finely appointed rooms, no one boasts a big, sexy pool like Solage in Calistoga.
Solage, part of the Auberge Resorts collection of properties, located in Calistoga, the Northernmost town in the valley, was completed at the end of summer 2007. They cater to a younger, more aspirational crowd that isn't ready to shell out the big coin for Auberge du Soleil and the pool is a reflection of that.
If you saw the Oscar winning film Sideways you might remember the fun loving Miles asking his more soul-searching Jack, "Can't we just... go back...and hang out?" Well, Jack would have said "yes" if they were staying at the comfortably cool Solage Calistoga resort and spa, a new diamond in the Northern Cal-i-forn-i-a rough.
After checking your bags and the locations of the local wineries, you'll discover just how green your Napa Valley experience will be. The charm of the resort and spa is obvious from the get-go, with a choice of 89 cottage-like rooms in five different layouts, from studios to spacious suites.
After a day of wine-tasting you can come back to contemplate the universe on your semi-private patio under the stars. [Ed. Note: Or do what we would probably do--keep drinking.]
Before you're ready to hit the lights, enjoy the flat screen TV, high speed WiFi access, DVD/CD player or the IPod docking station. The next day, wake up and get yourself a private cabana by the pool and just chill. There's also a spa on-site which includes a mud-bar and bathhouse, a fitness center, the Solbar restaurant and Bocce courts. And the place takes pets too.
At the hotel's website the online rates range from $350 to $800 per night, and a number of all-inclusive packages with added luxe value for one or more nights also are available. Also, the hotel has a pair of bikes for you to tool around in. Eco-friendly and fun.
[Photo: Neeta Lind]
Auberge Resorts which has hotels like the Esperanza in Mexico, is planning a spin-off brand called Moana. According to the San Francisco Business Times, the first property has already opened, the El Dorado in Sonoma although we can't find mention of that on either web site. But the newest hotel will be built from the ground up. The Solage Hotel expected to open this July in Calistoga, Northern California.
Prices are around $400 to $700 per night, but that hasn't stopped the hotel from putting forward sweaty perks like mountain bikes and on-site cardio kickboxing.
Sheesh, these Californians and their mountain biking. Moana under president Rob Goldberg (who recently ran PlumpJack wine and restaurants with SF mayor Gavin Newsome and who did a stint with Hard Rock cafes) hopes to open one hotel per year by 2011, which including Solage, is five hotels total. The locations include Mammoth and Cabo San Lucas and all of these hotels will appeal to younger, active but obviously very wealthy guests.
· Make room for the inn crowd [SF Biz Times]
The 46 room Calistoga Ranch is an environmentally correct luxe lodge in Napa Valley. From your swank lodge suite you can set out to pick and prune wine with the pros, go spelunking in a nearby wine cave, or just chill out like the fat cat you must be to stay at a place like this.
The cedar lodges that make up Calistoga Ranch are spaced out over the private vineyards. You will also find private outdoor showers, and a room deck with gas fireplace--not bad, huh?
We are guessing this mellow lodge was on Christina's short list when she was planning here NoCal wedding last fall.