Once upon a time in October, my oldest friend Esther (a column writer who I probably should have had write this post) was coming to visit from Boston and, as per usual during her annual visits, wanted to visit Wine Country. As a Bay Area local, I didn’t used to get up there as much as I’d like to, so I welcomed the “excuse”. It was during Crush (also known as harvest time) which also means that things can be more crowded and crazy there, but we didn’t care.
Rather than doing the typical day trip, we decided to stay overnight at The Calistoga Ranch. I’ve struggled with exactly how to describe this experience, and the best I can do is WOW. Utterly and completely wow.
The Calistoga Ranch is located on 157 acres of ancient oaks and majestic hills complete with a rock stream and private lake. Comprised of 50 uniquely designed, free standing lodges nestled in a private canyon in the Upper Napa Valley, the lodges are 600-2400 square feet all with fireplaces and outdoor showers and some (the Spa lodges) have hot tubs.
Sitting far enough back off of the road, in driving to the Ranch, you first start to wonder if you made a wrong turn. Pulling into the property, the friendly valet service takes over as you make your way up to the intimate front desk. Care for a glass of wine with your check-in? Absolutely! And so began our ultimate Wine Country experience.
The Calistoga Ranch is a vehicle-free property, so once you check in, you don’t see your car again until you’re ready to depart for good. Golf carts and superbly kind staff will take you on a guided tour of the Ranch, drop you at your bungalow, and deliver your bags. Need to go off property while you’re there? You won’t even need them to bring you your car – just hop into one of the complementary Mercedes.
There are several different varieties of lodge (read: room) categories at the Ranch. My friend and I had ourselves comfortably in one of their Oak Creek Lodges. They call it their “most private sanctum”. Surrounded by 100-year old oaks along a seasonal creek, these lodge categories are one-bedrooms with a beautiful King bed, mater bath, and entertainment center in one building. In a completely separate building just steps away lies a living room area with a pull-out sleeper sofa, fireplace, entertainment center, wet-bar, and half-bath. Essentially, it’s 1,200 square feet of indoor-outdoor living space with an outdoor fireplace, shower garden, and hot tub. With this kind of set up, Es and I both felt like we had our own separate cottages.
The Lakehouse Restaurant
On-site meals are served in The Lakehouse – a beautiful, lakeside restaurant where the food is as delicious as the surroundings!
We spent our time relaxing by the pool, hiking on the property, hanging out in our stunning Oak Creek Lodge, and – of course – drinking wine! For a girl’s weekend away, we couldn’t have had a better time. My dog was the only thing missing. Well…maybe next time!