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Calistoga Ranch, An Auberge Resort (Napa Valley, CA)

Calistoga Ranch, An Auberge Resort (Napa Valley, CA)

Old Jul 25, 14, 2:56 pm
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Trip Report: Calistoga Ranch, An Auberge Resort (Napa Valley, CA)

Calistoga Ranch

Map| 2 Reviews | 100% Recommended

Calistoga Ranch

580 Lommel Rd Calistoga, CA 94515

Calistoga Ranch, An Auberge Resort (Napa Valley, CA) (0 Photo)

Calistoga Ranch

Just wanted to share my trip report from a recent 2-NT stay at Calistoga Ranch to celebrate our 1-year wedding anniversary. When I was looking at the various options in Napa Valley, I ended up going with Calistoga Ranch since it had a similar look and feel to the Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort in Australia that we absolutely loved. Below is a summary of the trip report, additional detail and photos can be found on my blog (links toPart IandPart II). TLDR; this is an amazing hotel, probably the best we've stayed at in the US, and I highly recommend it for your next trip to Napa Valley, CA.

Check In

After lunch in Downtown Napa, we continued the drive up Highway 29 to Calistoga which took another 20-30 minutes. It's an easy drive along the country roads which are surrounded by the scenery of blue skies and vineyards. We took the final turn onto Lommel Road which ends in a private driveway that leads to the hotel lobby. The only option for parking is to valet which is complimentary. Upon pulling up to the main lobby, we were warmly greeted by the valet staff who immediately started to help unload our luggage into a buggy while we went inside to check in. One thing worth noting is that since the resort is huge (spread out over 157 acres), at any given time the hotel staff are spread across a large area. Therefore, most wear ear pieces connected to a walkie talkie, and they do a fantastic job of communicating with each other. We noticed an example of this right off the bat - the valet staff had asked for my name and relayed that to the check-in staff, who had all of my paperwork ready the moment I stepped through the lobby doors, along with water and champagne. Check-in only took a couple minutes, and we jumped in the buggy and headed for our room. Immediately, we were feeling relaxed as we took in the fresh air and beautiful scenery all around the property. The answer to the question "is this far enough from home?" was a resounding yes, and it felt like we had been transported millions of miles away from the city's hustle and bustle. As we rode in the buggy, my wife turned to me and gave me a thumb up for the choice - a much better start than getting a Gladiator-style thumbs down, because we all know what that would mean.

Calistoga Ranch entrance

Main Lobby

Our Lodge

The buggy ride to our room, Bay Forest Lodge with Spa #117, was quick and took less than a minute. The pictures on the website don't do the lodge justice, its was absolutely gorgeous and incredibly spacious and private. In fact, before arriving I had read reviews on TripAdvisor complaining about the lack of privacy, but we just did not feel that this was an issue at all (another reason why I have a hard time trusting reviews on TA these days). The only thing I could see is that from the walkway, if someone really tries, they could potentially see into the outdoor deck and hot tub area. However, their view would be 95% obstructed by the strategical placed landscaping. The lodges are very well-spaced, and we didn't hear any noise from neighboring lodges throughout our stay and there isn't much foot traffic to begin with. We really liked the location of our lodge which was just a 3 minute walk from the main lobby. It was far enough from the main entrance to feel secluded, but close enough that all of the facilities were accessible by foot without the need to call for a buggy.

Lodge exterior

Outdoor deck and seating area

Indoor/outdoor fireplace

Outdoor hot tub

The lodges are designed to be all about indoor/outdoor living. There are completely separate structures which house the living room and bedroom, each of which has a bathroom, and are connected to each other by the outdoor deck. This meant that we were constantly walking back and forth between the bedroom and living room, and just kept the doors open the entire time we were present. It's certainly an interesting setup, since each structure on its own isn't particularly spacious, but the combination of the structures flowing into the outdoor deck completely opens up the space. The decor of the room was stylish and elegant, yet home-y enough to still make you feel like you're in a cottage in the middle of the woods. There is a centrally-placed indoor/outdoor fireplace which was great in the evenings, and an outdoor shower outside of the main bathroom. Needless to say, I didn't use the indoor shower once, since I'll shower outdoors whenever I have the opportunity.. The lodge was decked out with TVs and surround sound speakers in both rooms, and an iPad was provided which was loaded with information about the hotel, and from which you could even order room service. In the living room there is also a mini-bar with complimentary snacks and drinks.

Living Room

Bedroom

Main bathroom

Upon arrival, we were showered with a variety of welcome amenities, including a welcome letter, champagne, fruit, a chocolate cake, and a gift bag from Round Pond Estate winery which included a free tasting as well as small bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. We had booked the room through Virtuoso which I recommend since you receive additional benefits, including free breakfast, for the same price as booking directly through the website. Since we were booked with Virtuoso, I'm not sure if these welcome amenities are provided to all guests. Another example of the seamless communication among the hotel staff was that the cake was still ice cold, meaning that it was delivered to the room just before we arrived.

Welcome amenities

Resort Facilities

The resort has a total of 50 rooms spread across 157 acres, and since the resort is so large they offer buggy service that will take you wherever you need to go. Unlike the buggy service at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island which was hit-and-miss to put it nicely, the buggy service here was truly on-demand and punctual. We only used the buggies during check-in and check-out when we had luggage, and enjoyed walking around the rest of the time. We found the facilities to be modern and well kept, starting with the lobby area where the main pool, fitness center, and bocce ball courts are located. The weather was scorching hot, so as you can imagine the pool area was quite crowded, with nearly all of the pool chairs occupied. There was food and drink service at the pool as well, serviced by the Poolhouse, which is a full-service restaurant located next to the pool where lunch is served during the day. On one side of the pool is the fitness center which had both indoor and outdoor areas featuring state-of-the-art equipment. As a nice touch, water, towels, and Cliff bars are provided. There is also a small vineyard on the other side of the pool, where the grapes for the Calistoga Ranch-branded wines are presumably grown.

Main pool and hot tub

Main pool

Read the sign before you get in the pool!

Fitness center

At the other end of the resort there is another set of facilities which include the yoga pavilion, spa, and a small boutique. There is also a wine cave which acts as both a wine cellar as well as a special events location. It's a romantic and unique space and would make the perfect location for a wedding ceremony or reception. According to the staff, during the summer-time, the resort is basically booked every weekend with at least one wedding. After breakfast on Saturday morning we spent some time exploring the wine cave, which even made us feel like Indiana Jones when we were inside.

Wine cave

Activities

While Napa Valley has a lot to see and do, we found that most guests preferred to stay at the resort during their stay. I guess that makes sense, since baked into the price is the fact that the resort offers a multitude of private activities such as fitness and yoga classes, bocce ball, spa, and hiking. We wanted to do a hike during the trip and had looked into several public trails, but it worked out perfectly that Calistoga Ranch offers three private hiking trails on-site. We hiked all three, including the Canyon trail for advanced hikers which was a tough 1.5 mile trek leading to gorgeous valley views. There are two other trails at 1.5 mile and 1 mile, respectively, were more moderate hiking trails but still featured great views and scenery. Hiking was definitely one of the more popular activities and we ran into a good number of other guests on the trails, many of whom had brought along their dogs.

View of Lake Lommel

Canyon trail hike

Gorgeous views from the hikes

Dining

Our favorite part of any hotel stay, but unfortunately this time we can only comment on the breakfast since we had dinner outside of the resort on both nights. But if the breakfast is any indication of the overall quality of the food, then it was absolutely top-notch. Breakfast was included in our rate since we had booked through Virtuoso, and while we got different answers about the credit (one person said up to $150, the other said that it was unlimited), they are essentially one in the same since we ordered a LOT of food and we didn't even come close to hitting the $150 threshold. The first day we had breakfast at the Lakehouse, which has lovely views overlooking Lake Lommel. The Lakehouse is open for breakfast and dinner, with lunch served at the Poolhouse next to the main pool/lobby. Service during breakfast was great, and we ordered up a feast which included three entrees, juice, coffee, and toast. The Kobe beef hash was a highlight and would high recommend it - in fact, it was so good I ordered it on both days.

Lakehouse restaurant dining room

Kobe beef hash

Blueberry pancakes

During our stay, out of the blue we also got an unexpected delivery to our room which included a wonderful cheese and fruit plate, a really nice gesture from the hotel. The next day, we decided to try room service since we wanted to get an early start on the road. The night before we used the iPad in our room to order breakfast for the next day, which was much easier and convenient than calling in an order or filling out a form and putting it outside the door. Even though breakfast delivery was promised within a 30-minute window from our requested time, the food was delivered at the exact time we had asked for and was set out nicely in the living room. The food was delivered from the kitchen via buggy, and rather impressively arrived piping hot and without a single drop of food or liquid out of place. This was once instance where it was an advantage to have the bedroom in a completely separate building, so we could still have privacy while the food was being setup.

Breakfast room service

Overall

I really don't see how our stay at Calistoga Ranch could have been any better, and we are already itching to go back for another weekend getaway. The location, room and the facilities were wonderful, and while I can't comment on dinner, the breakfast was fantastic. But best of all was the service which was on-par with the standards you receive in Asia, which in my opinion, is the ultimate compliment. We were looked after with great care, and I'm still impressed by how well the staff were able to communicate with each other to make every transition feel completely seamless. All the little touches really do make a big difference - for example, during check-out we rode the buggy from our room to the main lobby to find our car already being warmed-up with the trunk open and ready to be loaded with our bags. Then, as we drove away we found bottles of water had been placed in the cup holders, along with a cup of frozen grapes. And a couple days later, we received a letter in the mail thanking us for our stay. Overall, we were really impressed with Calistoga Ranch and would rank it among the top hotels we've stayed at in the world, and probably the best hotel that we've stayed at in the US.

Calistoga Ranch, An Auberge Resort (Napa Valley, CA)

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Old Jul 25, 14, 3:06 pm
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Looks really nice, I never mentioned it before
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Old Jul 25, 14, 4:02 pm
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Thank you for this report. I considered this property for a visit to Napa Valley a few years ago but decided on another option. Now I think I made the wrong decision!
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Old Jul 25, 14, 4:31 pm
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Brilliant report, thank you so much for sharing. I'll now move this property higher up our list for our next stay in Napa.
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Old Jul 25, 14, 5:12 pm
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Great report. We have been weighing a visit here for years but have never pulled the trigger. It looks wonderful except for the sign at the pool!
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Old Jul 25, 14, 6:45 pm
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Absolutely awesome! Thank you for sharing.

I am sitting here with Mr. Ericka and he thinks no one would post a sign like that unless they've had a problem in the past. Some sort of Caddyshack moment perhaps?
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Old Jul 25, 14, 9:16 pm
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You've made me want to try it as well for a short getaway from Silicon Valley.

The pool sign is a mistake. Even if they had a previous problem, there are better ways to word it. Also, it had me wondering exactly what passive diarrhea might be like!
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Old Jul 25, 14, 9:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Baghoarder View Post
Thank you for this report. I considered this property for a visit to Napa Valley a few years ago but decided on another option. Now I think I made the wrong decision!
There's always next time!

Originally Posted by aa213bb View Post
Brilliant report, thank you so much for sharing. I'll now move this property higher up our list for our next stay in Napa.
Happy to help! Not sure what else is on your list, but we also considered their sister property, Auberge du Soleil which I've heard great things about.

Originally Posted by Valveking View Post
Great report. We have been weighing a visit here for years but have never pulled the trigger. It looks wonderful except for the sign at the pool!
Originally Posted by Ericka View Post
Absolutely awesome! Thank you for sharing.

I am sitting here with Mr. Ericka and he thinks no one would post a sign like that unless they've had a problem in the past. Some sort of Caddyshack moment perhaps?
Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
You've made me want to try it as well for a short getaway from Silicon Valley.

The pool sign is a mistake. Even if they had a previous problem, there are better ways to word it. Also, it had me wondering exactly what passive diarrhea might be like!
Agreed - it's the first time I've ever seen a sign like that, if they have a sign at all they could have kept it generally worded toward maintaining proper "hygiene". It's certainly an eye-sore and off-putting to see. Even if some freak accident had happened in the past, the chances of it happening again would seem extremely slim.

Perhaps it's the result of some sort of legal action against them? Only thing I can think is that the pool is a salt water pool - I'm not an expert but perhaps it isn't as effective at killing bacteria as a chlorinated pool and a guest had fallen ill?

Either way, I want to know how they came up with the 14 days! That's a heck of a long time...even if you ate raw chicken and chased it down with water from the lake, you'd be able to recover within 2 weeks.

Last edited by sfoactuary; Jul 25, 14 at 10:03 pm
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Old Mar 17, 19, 11:20 am
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Bumping this thread. Any recent stays here?

We we will be staying with our dog in early May. First time for me, as usually we stay in Yountville at the Bardessono with our dog. (Auberge du Soleil isn’t dog friendly.)
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Old Mar 17, 19, 1:21 pm
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You've got to wonder why they have that sign there... Lol
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Old Mar 17, 19, 1:29 pm
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Originally Posted by atojbk View Post
You've got to wonder why they have that sign there... Lol
Huh? Sorry, what sign?
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Old Mar 17, 19, 1:41 pm
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This one:
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Old Mar 17, 19, 1:57 pm
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OMG thatís hilarious. Iíll be sure to ask what happened to necessitate that, indeed!

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Old Mar 17, 19, 2:07 pm
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Originally Posted by KatW View Post


This one:
Strange....
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Old Mar 17, 19, 2:24 pm
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california state regulations

wma.org/post/pool-signage-requirements
publichealth.lacounty.gov/eh/EP/rw/rw_safetysigns.htm
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