Calistoga, California

Photo: Solage Calistoga
Photo: Solage Calistoga

All of the gifts have been unwrapped, the sweet treats are almost gone, and your in-laws finally returned home. A big sigh of relief. You may love the holidays, however, they’re exhausting, fattening, and sometimes a little nerve-wracking. Of course, you’ll readily await their arrival again at the end of the year, though right now, you’re kind of glad that life can return to normal. But before the old routine settles in, you deserve a celebratory weekend of your own.

Napa Valley sounds like the perfect escape. The famous wine region is one of the most popular destinations in California. But when you go in the off-season and off the beaten path, you’ll feel like you have the entire valley to yourself.

Calistoga is a small town in the upper Napa Valley. It was built as a spa destination around its natural hot springs; there’s even a geothermal geyser. Today, it still has two-lane roads and a ban on fast-food restaurants. It’s surrounded by olive trees and endless rows of vineyards. The Mayacamas Mountains and Robert Louis Stevenson State Park stand in the distance. Plus a relaxing resort sits among a historic oak grove.

Photo: Solage Calistoga,
Photo: Solage Calistoga,

Solage Calistoga, on the outskirts of town, is exactly what you needed. The boutique resort feels young and modern. It’s white-trimmed, cream-colored cottages offer quiet and privacy. Cruiser bikes lean against the outside walls. Inside, they’re simply decorated with vaulted ceilings, earth tones, and recycled walnut furniture. In the bathroom, the shower has a pebble floor and the towels are luxuriously thick. While the patio will be the perfect spot to sip a hot cup of Calistoga Roastery’s coffee as you wait for the temperature to start rising in the morning.

The rest of the resort is just as relaxing. It may not be the right time of year to swim in the 130-foot landmark pool, but Spa Solage still offers traditional mud baths, a hot-springs mineral pool, and an all-white relaxation room. Yoga, pilates, and spinning classes are available in the Yoga & Movement Studio. Solbar, a Michelin-starred restaurant, serves both light and hearty cuisine. A quick peek at the menu has you drooling over the house-made ricotta and lacinato kale angolotti you’ll eat later tonight. Solbar Lounge & Patio offers new takes on classic cocktails, like the Sex in the Valley with Charbay Green Tea Vodka. Plus the bocce court looks like a perfect place to hang out—and sample the wine on tap.

Just don’t get too comfortable. The resort may be relaxing, but you came to visit the nearby wineries, drink lots of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, visit Old Faithful Geyser of California, and hike Mount Helena for views of the Bay Area. The holidays already feel like a distant memory.

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