Calistoga, ca, has long been a mecca for those seeking healing. native american tribes were rumored to have created sweat lodges over the area hot springs as early as 6,000 B.C., and in more recent history, throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s to present day, serenity seekers come to the area to enjoy the therapeutic mineral pools and curative muds found throughout the region. At The Bathhouse, the two-year-old spa at Auberge Resort's Calistoga Ranch, this centuries-old tradition is kept alive in the spa's design, treatment menu, and overall philosophy. "When we designed The Bathhouse at Calistoga, we tried to respond to the place where the spa is," explains Tracy Lee, director of spa development for Auberge Resorts. "We wanted to use rustic and native elements to create a spa that complemented and enhanced The Bathhouse's Calistoga location and the resort itself."
The Watsu-inspired Healing Water Massage ($140, 60 minutes) is performed in the Water Massage Pool.
The most significant homage to the Calistoga tradition is the spa's design. Because Calistoga's picturesque Napa Valley setting inspires natural healing and reflection, the spa was created with the outdoors in mind, using elements of copper, stone, wood, and water, and leaving as much uncovered outside space as possible. The relaxation deck is entirely outdoors and heated by a fireplace found on each end. Each of the five treatment rooms has a private outdoor garden, a copper shower, and a tub where guests can enjoy one of several hydrotherapy soaks and mud-based cures as they take in the spectacular canyon views of Lake Lommel and the Mayacama Mountains. Also, mineral-rich waters tapped from a natural spring found on the property fill the outdoor Healing Waters Soaking Pool, and guests can further embrace outdoor water-based therapy in the Water Massage Pool, which features a retractable roof.
Guests reclining on the outdoor relaxation deck keep warm with the help of two fireplaces.
The menu itself is ripe with regional inspiration, from the treatment offerings to the local product lines, including Aqua Dessa, Napa Valley Au Natural, and Napa Valley Spa Products. The Bathhouse Cures are popular, with the Calistoga Cure ($350, 2 1/2 hours) being the most requested. The session includes an exfoliating mineral salt body scrub followed by an outdoor mud or immersion bath, a polarity energy healing session, and a classic massage. The Private Baths ($70, 30 minutes), 11 scented soaks that run the gamut from relieving stress and soothing muscles to hydrating and softening are also well received and often used as an add-on for treatments. "It is a unique experience for people to have—taking a bath for thirty minutes outside," says spa director Karen Ray. "Being able to sit and relax and immerse themselves in the bath has been wonderful for our guests. We encourage them to go for the longer treatments so they really have the opportunity to enjoy the moment."
A private deck with outdoor tub and copper shower can be found outside each of The Bathhouse's treatment rooms.
Because Calistoga is in the heart of wine country, vinotherapy is also on the menu. The Cabernet Classic ($210, 90 minutes) includes a restorative wine body scrub using finely crushed local grapeseeds and a grapeseed oil massage, while the Grapeseed Anti-oxidant Facial ($175, 75 minutes) also uses local crushed grapeseeds. Seasonal treatments that are infused with local ingredients like fruit, honey, milk, nuts, oats, and native herbs like calendula, chamomile, comfrey, lavender, mint, and rosemary are also offered on the menu.
Guests are surrounded by nature.
Whether on account of its cures, vinotherapy, or simply one of the seven massages available, which Ray says are the most popular treatments on the menu, the spa is indeed appealing to guests. At maximum capacity, which normally occurs in the busy months of April through October, Ray says that she and her team of 11 full-time and 19 part-time employees see about 50 clients a day. Treatments are also performed in the 46 guest suites, and this year, the spa also introduced poolside services in the new cabanas found along the resort's Olympic-sized pool, which overlooks a vineyard. "The business continues to grow, and we continue to stay busy," says Ray. "It's a welcome challenge."
Spa guests can embrace the natural beauty of Napa, relaxing under the trickling rainwater showers found outside each of the 46 guest lodges, where in-room treatments can be performed.
Nature is important to the design of Calistoga, so environmental awareness is imperative at The Bathhouse, where a number of green-inspired activities take place. From working with vendors who use natural products and recyclable packing items to putting forth a recycling effort for paper, plastic, and cardboard, Ray and her team do their part to honor the earth.
Along with encouraging environmental awareness, the operational impact of the natural aspects of the spa also require creativity from Ray and her team. "The environment definitely poses some challenges," says Ray. "We always have the elements to consider, particularly considering our indoor/outdoor setup. All of the tubs are outside, so having an umbrella available is important." Also important are things like outdoor heaters and fireplaces, a retractable roof above the Water Massage Pool, and extra robes and towels during the rainy winter season at the resort, which Ray says many vacationers are starting to embrace due to the beautiful, lush scenery that the rain produces. Come rain or shine, The Bathhouse has become a welcome addition to the local landscape, offering spagoers an excellent place to soak up Calistoga's mineral-and mud-based magic.