A posh resort and spa in the heart of California's Napa Valley wine country proves eco-aware vacation spots don't have to skimp on indulgences
Designed by Napa Valley architect Howard Backen, Solage Calistoga integrates green features throughout the 22-acre property-from alternative energy sources such as solar panels on rooftops to chemical- and preservative-free bath products.
Interiors are by Dowling Kimm Studios, a San Francisco design firm. Their goal? Chic yet earth-friendly interiors throughout, including in the individual cottage-style apartments. Warm palettes with a nod to nature (greens and browns abound) set off furnishings upholstered in neutral wool fabrics and finished with nontoxic varnishes.
Paints low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds) were used to avoid emission of harmful gases. Wherever possible, reclaimed and sustainable materials were installed-hemp draperies dress windows, and bamboo and reclaimed cedar appear in public spaces. And, of course, there's the pampering element.
One of the resort's top draws is its 14,000-square-foot spa. While Spa Solage's mud baths claim the traditional benefits of the area's thermal springs-drawing toxins and impurities from the body while stimulating blood flow-there's a new twist. Guests can mosey up to the Mud Bar for customized buckets of mud blended with essential oils.
Feeling jet-lagged? Slather on the "Mud Mojito" (mud mixed with mint) to re-energize. Need to unwind? The "Lavender Mudtini" soothes senses and fosters blissful relaxation. To ensure freshness and quality, the resort's bath products are made locally, using natural, raw ingredients and no preservatives.
If mud isn't on the agenda, guests can engage in a dip in Solage's Olympic-size pool. The resort minimizes the chlorine level, using an ozone-based system to keep water clean.
For post-exercise hunger pangs, the resort's restaurant, Solbar, serves locally grown, organic produce whenever possible-heirloom tomatoes are plucked from Big Ranch Farms in nearby Napa, and the slow-roasted shoulder of Duroc pork in the "Lucky Pig" dish is from Long and Bailey Farms in Manteca, California. Naturally Napa's finest wines are on hand.
Carbon-filtered water is dispensed from systems at the restaurant and Spa Solage, eliminating the need for bottled drinking water.
Guests can hop on bicycles and tour the resort or ride to the nearby town of Calistoga. Bicycles are the main source of transportation for the resort's staff as well, including those doing maintenance, housekeeping, and room service.
Solage Calistoga, 755 Silverado Trail, Calistoga, CA 94515; 866/942-7442 for reservations. Rates start at $325 a night. For information, visit solagecalistoga.com.