Fodor's Expert Review Solage
755 Silverado Trail, Calistoga, California 94515, USA See on Map Fodor's Choice
The aesthetic is Napa Valley barn meets San Francisco loft at this 22-acre resort for sociable sorts who like to lounge at the bar overlooking the large pool or play a game of boccie after lunching at the award-winning Solbar restaurant. Health and wellness are a high priority: in addition to a large, well-equipped spa and bathhouse, there's a packed schedule of fitness activities.
To be in the middle of the action, ask for a room facing the pool. For more seclusion, ask for placement nearer the oak grove.
The feel is upscale yet California casual in Solage's guest rooms, many with vaulted ceilings and gas fireplaces. Recycled walnut furniture and all-natural fabrics evoke Calistoga's agricultural roots, while the chic style and 100% down bedding celebrate the Napa Valley's sophistication and rise to wine-world prominence. All rooms have private or semi-private patios, flat-screen TVs, minibars, and free coffee and tea.
Rooms 2 and 3, both near the pool, are a good option for families and groups. Across a hallway from each other, the two rooms when booked together share what becomes the same private entrance.
Bathrooms with pebblestone-floored, dark-tiled showers have polished-granite vanities (double in most cases), and many rooms have soaking tubs. The locally made bath products, all from the spa and available for purchase, include rosemary cleanser and lavender lotion.
Calistoga is the longest Napa Valley haul from major San Francisco Bay Area airports, so guests appreciate the decompression that begins, moments after arrival, in the resort's small reception area. Affable staffers offer sodas, wine, and other refreshments during check-in, setting the tone of casual but caring service for the entire stay. Original art hangs on the gray walls and there are comfortable leather chairs and a fireplace, but most guests don't return to this inviting space until departure time, except perhaps to stop by the cart that holds fresh flowers and other accessories to create DIY arrangements to further brighten up their rooms or to print boarding passes or wedding speeches from the two computers here.
Separate pools for kids, adults, and spagoers ensure that all guests have the experience they seek, though the theoretically adults-only lap pool can get downright frolicsome on sunny summer weekends. Solbar provides poolside cocktails (you can also have a meal here), and there are plenty of deck chairs and some private cabanas.
The eco-conscious Spa Solage reinvented the traditional Calistoga mud and mineral-water regimen with the hour-long "Mudslide," a three-part treatment that includes a mud body mask (in a heated lounge), a soak in a thermal bath, and a power nap in a sound-vibration chair. The mud here is a mix of clay, volcanic ash, and essential oils. Traditional spa services—combination Shiatsu-Swedish and other massages, full-body exfoliations, facials, and waxes—are available.
Conscientious types who never miss a workout even while on the road hail the Solage fitness center for its full complement of machines, free weights, and other equipment. Large, well ventilated, and with landscaped views, the space floods with natural light during the day, as does the nearby studio where yoga, Pilates, and other sessions unfold. The fitness regimen doesn't stop at the gym, either. Guests can also sign up for guided hiking and biking excursions, and complimentary bikes, available near each room, are available for use on property or off.
As befits a spa resort's restaurant, the sophisticated menu at Solbar is divided into "healthy, lighter dishes" and "hearty cuisine," with the admirable wine list's many half-bottle selections encouraging moderation, too. On the lighter side, crisp coho salmon might come with Swiss chard, pickled beets, and fennel mustard relish, with heartier options recently including a seared kurobuta pork chop with roasted Brussels sprouts, chestnuts, and quince. Curved banquettes interspersed with conventional tables and chairs topped with white-linen tablecloths contribute to the restaurant's elegant atmosphere.
A windowed partial wall separates Solbar's dining space from its bar, one of Calistoga's best watering holes. It's also a good place to dine or snack if you're traveling solo. It doesn't hurt to have nibbles (including sushi after 3 p.m.) from a Michelin-starred restaurant to wash down with signature cocktails like Sex in the Valley, starring Charbay Green Tea Vodka, thyme, mint, and house-made lemonade.
Solage is along the Silverado Trail less than a mile from downtown Calistoga. Most guests drive or bike to visit the shops, spas, tasting rooms, and several good restaurants along Lincoln Avenue, the main drag, and many of Calistoga's several dozen wineries are a short drive away off Highway 29, Highway 128, or the Silverado Trail. VINE Bus 10 and Bus 29 serve downtown Calistoga (but not the Silverado Trail) from other Napa Valley towns. With short notice, the free on-demand Calistoga Shuttle (schedule varies depending on the day and time of year) will take you anywhere downtown, and a few spots beyond including Solage.
Favorite stops when guests head off-property to dine include Evangeline (5-minute drive) for clever reboots of bistro classics like coq au vin and Lovina (7-minute drive), until early 2018 known as Calistoga Kitchen, for homey farm-to-table dishes like spicy beef Bolognese and chicken and dumplings.
For a change of pace in Calistoga, drop by Susie's Bar (3-minute drive) the town's cute-as-a-button dive. If you've run through all of Solbar's signature cocktails (this will take some time) see what the bartenders at Sam's Social Club (2-minute drive) are whipping up. Or head into St. Helena to the atmospheric downstairs bar at Goose & Gander (15-minute drive).
WHY WE LIKE IT
Work-hard, play-hard types love Solage, and we do, too. It's the perfect place to recharge and socialize after completing that career-making project—many Silicon Valley types come here for exactly this purpose—but even if your recent accomplishments haven't been earth-shattering, you'll find the upbeat mood infectious. The food, drink, spa treatments, and room decor are all top-shelf and contemporary, the service casual but polished.
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