Solage Resort - Wine, Water and Wappos

Hot springs, Wappo Indians, Spanish Missionaries, wine – it’s all part of Calistoga’s history. Located in the upper end of the Napa Valley the town has long been a resort destination and Solage Resort is nearly synonymous with Calistoga.


The first health resort opened in 1862 and today there are more than a dozen, of which Solage is one of the premier resorts. Before Solage became Solage, it was 22 acres of horse pasture -inauspicious beginnings at best, but the current appeal of Solage is its proximity to charming Calistoga and the surrounding leafy green vineyards. Solage has also won a bunch of travel awards not to mention their excellent restaurant, Solbar, a seven-time Michelin Star-rated restaurant.

Solage has the feel of an organically grown resort. Rooms are set up as adjoining cottages surrounding an open green space, and each room has its own patio and rock wall shower, local coffee in your room was roasted down the street. Each room also offers bicycles for your own use like the 6-minute pedal into Calistoga, or just cruising along the Silverado Trail past historic vineyards. Solage also offers daily complementary classes from Pilates to meditation, spinning, and yoga, and a host of other wellness and fitness classes for a fee. There are two bocce ball courts, and two outdoor swimming pools - both heated to 98° - along with a decked out fitness room.

Me, Mudsliding
But folks come for the spa. Given this is Calistoga, known for their geo-thermal waters (and the smaller, much less well-known Old Faithful geyser) Solage has capitalized on water; heck, even the Wappos had typically one or two sweat lodges in each village around the Napa Valley to take advantage of the local waters. The Solage Spa takes full advantage of this in offering a variety of treatments of which the Mudslide is the most well known. I’m not a spa kind of guy – I get antsy with things - like this but the Mudslide was a very cool experience. There are single and double rooms available so you can do treatments solo or as a couple. The Mudslide is a detox treatment beginning with a mix of volcanic ash and South American mud, mixed specifically for you depending which of the four essential oils you want added to your mud. Those include the Stress Relief with lavender, tangerine, bergamot and geranium; the Revitalizer with spearmint, honey, sandalwood and lime; the Mood Enhancer with orange, mimosa, rose to the Muscle Soother with birch, eucalyptus, rosemary and ginger. 
Once the mix is made you are lead to a room to self-apply the mud and let the detox begin its work. This is a 20-minute process and after the mud is slathered on you it's time to relax in the 104-degree warmth. Then you shower it off and head next to the mineral soak - 10 minutes sitting inside a tub filled with geothermal water from the on-site well to rehydrate you as the mud mix dries out your skin. After that it’s the power nap, about 20 minutes, wrapped in a comforter in a zero gravity chair. But this not just any recliner. Music is piped in through noise canceling headphones (yes, put them on) but is also fed through the chair itself so that you can feel the vibrations of the music resonating through the chair. If you fall asleep you wake up feeling great. If you merely relax the vibrations of the music and the chair is a very cool sensory experience. 
Sound appealing? As a non-spa guy, yes. Yes it is.
Ballooning over Calistoga!
Solage was designed to be the truest expression of a health resort, devoid of artificial experiences. You don't have to be healthy and fit to stay here, - hell, I’m not - and it's not all Lulu Lemon, Birkenstocks and Namaste greetings. It is a modern wellness retreat patterned after its European counterparts (my article on an Austria wellness resort is HERE) and succeeds in offering a counterpoint to a stressful world.

Nearby Visits:
Bennett Lane Winery for killer Cabernet Sauvignon
Cliff Lede Winery for wine and art
Calistoga Balloon for amber-hued sunrise flights over the Valley
Sam’s Social Club for a jumping, hip food spot.
Fresh pressed Cabernet at Bennett Lane Winery

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