Visit Napa Valley's New 'Green' Resort


Solage Calistoga, a new Napa Valley resort, has something that sets it apart from the rest of the market: it's green.

Opened in late summer of 2007, this hideaway benefits from extraordinary hotel lineage that includes Auberge du Soleil and nearby Calistoga Ranch. A new hotel brand in its own right, owner Solage Resorts operates a rigorous conservation and environmental policy (though it isn't yet LEED-certified).
What to Expect
This environmentally conscious spa hotel on Napa Valley's northern edge is located in one of the world's top wine producing regions, with convenient access from Oakland, San Francisco and Sacramento airports. The location is a great base for exploring Napa Valley and indulging in the culinary pleasures of nearby St. Helena and Healdsburg.

The First Impression
Arrival is a scene straight out of the movie Sideways, (NWS) with carfuls of Polo-clad travelers in between various rounds of wine tastings at local vineyards like Schramsberg and Sterling Vineyards.

Glossy white-painted bungalow-style buildings are intersected by drought-tolerant gardens of olive trees, sculptural succulents and wild grasses.

The lobby has the air of a pristine spa, complete with white-beam ceilings, free-flowing architecture and mannered staff with perfect complexions.

Finding Your Room
Upon checking in, guests are chauffeured in covered bicycle carts to a series of bungalow-style cottages arranged along a drought-tolerant greenbelt (or grayish green) throughout the property. The arid planters require anywhere from 40%-60% less water than traditional landscaping.

A total of 89 guest "studios" and "suites" are graced by freestanding entryways flanked by two Beachcruiser bicycles to enjoy during the length of stay.

In-Room Amenities
Loft-style rooms feature chilly concrete floors that defy global-warming and wool upholstered furnishings like generously sized sofas and hearty club chairs.

Most rooms look out onto private patios with vineyard views, while others overlook opposing guest rooms. Larger room categories include the added perks of outdoor bathtubs and more generous entertaining areas, ideal for summer get-togethers under the Napa sun.

Bathroom and Details
Bathrooms are a little sparse for anyone used to veiny slabs of marble or Waterworks-style luxury. A simple sanctuary of raw floors and occasional double vanity, the bathroom's best amenities are the details like pebbled-floor shower, soaking tubs in larger studios and rainforest-style showerheads with low-flow caps for water preservation.

Bathrooms are stocked with full-size toiletries that don't require daily replenishment and won't end-up floating in the San Francisco Bay; but at the same time, they won't end up in your guest bath back at home.

The Green Details
The most successful part of Solage Calistoga is an element you won't even notice -- the fact that it's one of America's most eco-friendly luxury resorts, built upon a green initiative that extends from the bamboo and reclaimed cedarwood floors to furnishings painted with nontoxic vanishings.

The hotel is a member of the Green Hotel Association, an online directory of "green"-focused hotels and resorts.

Other eco-friendly touches include the use of environmentally safe cleaning products, solar panels and extensive recycling throughout the hotel and restaurant.

Hit The Pool
Don't think the sleek and chic resort area got left out of the "green" action.

The 130-foot swimming pool utilizes an ozone-based filtration system that minimizes chlorine use and won't leave post-spa skin feeling chemically chaffed.

Surrounded by oversize rattan loungers and shaded cabanas, spa-loving guests barely know the difference as they sip on cucumbery water and juice-infused cocktails from the nearby bar while taking in the views of glistening bodies and vine-strewn hills.

Restaurant and Bar
As the sun sets into the Pacific, guests turn out in heels and fresh-pressed shirts making their way through the waterfall-lined courtyard and crackling fireplace outside the hotel eatery.

Known as Solbar, the hip, see-and-be-seen restaurant headed by former Danko chef Brandon Sharp serves up Napa Valley cuisine in a granola-chic dining room and terrace with fire pit and vineyard views that's currently one of the hottest restaurants in the valley.

The menu utilizes sustainable, locally grown produce from regional organic farms for many signature dishes. Later in the evening, the lively wine lounge is alit with Napa Valley singles till 1 a.m.

Spa Solage
Those coming for the pampering will discover Spa Solage, a massive "green theme" spa of treatment rooms, mineral baths and plunge pools assembled with an environmentally friendly selection of massages, facials and body treatments that aim to halt global warming one mud bath at a time.

A separate fitness area is equipped with endless cardio choices -- or, if you prefer, a Yoga & Movement Studio offers morning Vinyasa Flow yoga, Pilates and spinning classes conducted on reclaimed bamboo floors.

What's the Real Deal?
The average room price was $450 to $525 for studios and $775 for suites for early June.

The price is on average 20% cheaper than nearby Calistoga Ranch and Auberge du Soleil, offering a younger clientele of fitness- and wine-lovers an ideal two-night getaway and spa retreat. Just don't forget to bring your Prius (TM).

Did you enjoy reading this post? You may also want to check out
Ten Organic Wine Discoveries, Now Even Credit Cards Are Green! Here Are Your Five Best Bets, and Four of the World's Most Delicious Factory Tours.

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