More than thirty years ago, the Harmon family opened Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley, a restaurant (eventually with a few gorgeous rooms to accompany it) inspired by Provence but infused with a wholesome Northern California feeling. Today, Auberge Resorts has 10 lovely hotels spread across North America and the Caribbean, but that signature rusticity refinement is best manifested, we think, at Calistoga Ranch in good old Napa Valley.
Here, nature is without doubt the primary amenity. The all-lodge resort sits deep in a canyon just off Napa’s famous Silverado Trail, immersed in a thick forest of oaks and coastal redwoods, above a creek that in winter rushes dreamily with snow melt. The surroundings remind us of another favorite of ours, if less luxurious itself, the lovely Deetjen’s Inn in Big Sur. As you might expect, there are redwood decks, outdoor fireplaces and hot tubs all over – emphasizing a fuzzy line – if any at all – between indoors and outdoors.If you’re feeling adventurous there are more than 157 acres of mountainside to explore, including hiking trails and a private lake. And if you’d rather not break a sweat, you can borrow a Mercedes-Benz for an afternoon drive through wine country at no extra cost. Whatever you choose, we recommend a dip in the on-site mineral pool afterwards. Also, the spa keeps over 60,000 bees on staff, providing every drop of honey used in services like the detoxifying Bee Well Body Massage. Seriously.The Lakehouse, the cathedral-ceilinged restaurant, serves a mean mix of delicious food and wine – all local, of course – in its four-course prix fixe menu, like a Pacific petrale sole, doused in a smoky brioche purée, garden allium, and asparagus velouté, or a roasted game hen stewing in a sweet garlic pudding-filled crepe with split peas and mushrooms.
If you’re looking to rekindle your relationship – with your partner, with nature, or heck, with yourself – stop thinking about it and head to the 157-acre Calistoga Ranch, right now.