Solage, in California’s world-renowned wineland of Napa Valley, does the simple things well – very, very well. The emphasis is on good food, good wine and good times: the age-old recipe for a damn good vacation. There’s an esteemed restaurant and terrace-set cocktail bar, a geothermal spa, bocce courts and a cabana-lined pool looking up at the forest-coated valley. Explore the scenic Silverado Trail (which runs right past the front gate) by Cruiser bike or in one of the hotel’s Mercedes-Benz convertibles, winery-hopping along the way.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of Napa Valley wine and $70 spa credit per room
Double rooms from $359.10, excluding tax at 15.14 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of $45.00 per room per night on check-out.
Rates do not include breakfast; à la carte options including French toast, omelettes and a continental breakfast of pastries and fruit are available from $17.
Hotel guests get first dibs (and preferential rates) on the regular spa events, including full-moon qigong, chakra-balancing and sound meditations. Bring your pooch for a flat fee of $100 a booking: they’ll get their own bed, bowl, and a paw-ful of treats.
At the hotel
Mercedes-Benz to borrow, bikes to borrow, bocce courts, free Wi-Fi. In rooms: TV with DVD player, iPod dock, minibar with free soft drinks, tea- and coffee-making kit.
Our favourite rooms
For your own private hot tub and patio, go for the Silverado Suite. The Calistoga King Studios all have an enormous bed, and some have a Scandi-style gas fireplace and in-room bath tub, too.
There are three, and the main one is a monster – 130ft long and broad enough that – for the first time since primary school – swimming a width feels like an achievement. Children aged under 13 have a separate pool to themselves, and there’s another in the spa courtyard, too (strictly for grown-ups). Sunday pool parties are a feature of the summer calendar. Get ready for events with names like Rosé All Day or Tacos and Tequila.
Geothermal pools and mineral-rich Calistoga mud take centre stage at Spa Solage – for the full experience, head to the Bath House and sign up to the three-part ‘Mudslide’ treatment (best enjoyed as a couple, naturally).
Armbands? Swimming 130ft might be more challenging than you think, and in any case, they can always double up as in-pool drink-holders.
The 22-acre estate is on level ground and all communal areas are wheelchair accessible. There are several wheelchair-friendly rooms on the ground floor: a Valley Two Queen Studio, four King Studios and a Silverado Suite.
Grab a spot on the terrace, with a glass of rosé in your hand and a flickering fire by your side – on cooler nights, they’ll give you a cosy blanket, too.
It’s definitely more Moët than Lambrini, but there’s no need for full formal garb.
Originally from Italy, executive chef Massimo Falsini whips up an international menu of modern cuisine using seasonal ingredients harvested from the local area. Expect dishes as diverse as charred octopus with pimenton-sherry vinaigrette, wagyu ribeye with foraged wild mushrooms, and Sonoma lamb with honey yogurt.
Take a seat at the steel-clad bar or out on the patio at Solbar. Celebrate a successful day of Napa Valley wine tasting with… another glass of wine – or mix it up with a fruit-infused martini or classic negroni poured over a single jumbo ice cube.
Breakfast is served from 7am to 11.15am; lunch is from 11.30am to 3pm; dinner is from 5.30pm to 9pm.
Order fresh, seasonal food to your room, any time the restaurant kitchen is open.
Solage is just outside the small spa town of Calistoga, 75 miles north of San Francisco in Napa Valley.
Fly into San Francisco or Oakland international airports, then make the two-hour drive up to Napa Valley; Norwegian and British Airways are among the major carriers flying from the UK. Sonoma County Airport is closer (just 20 miles away), if you’re flying in from somewhere closer (Los Angeles or Portland, perhaps). If you need assistance with arranging any part of your trip, call the Smith24 team.
Anyone eyeing up an extensive tour of Napa’s world-famous wineries will need a car (and a designated driver) to do it – there’s no public transport in these parts. Hire from the airport, or bagsy one of the hotel’s Mercedes-Benz motors, available to guests for four-hour stints.
Worth getting out of bed for
Sunshine and wine are the order of the day, every day – take a bottle of home-grown rosé down to the pool and spend lazy afternoons alternating between sips and dips. Join yoga, pilates or cardio classes in the Wellness Studio, or grab a bike and combine your fitness fix with exploring the local trails. There’s a play area and hopscotch for kids, as well as two bocce courts for competitive souls of all ages. Remind yourself of Napa’s volcanic heritage with a short walk (or bike ride) into the spa town of Calistoga; at the far end you’ll find the Old Faithful geyser, which spurts 60ft into the air every 40 minutes or so. Take a picnic lunch to the Napa Valley Ecological Reserve, and keep your eyes peeled for the 150 bird species who call it home. Or, head to Robert Louis Stevenson State Park on the slopes of Mount St Helena, where the Scottish author spent his honeymoon in 1880; there’s a trail through the trees that leads past his cabin and the old Silverado mine to a viewpoint with panoramic views of the valley. The Silverado Trail runs right past Solage, so you can hardly avoid it – and nor should you. The 170-year-old route dips and curves for 29 miles through Napa Valley, offering damn-fine vistas of the tree-peppered hillsides, and passing dozens of wineries on the way.
Drop by easy-going Sam’s Social Club (1712 Lincoln Avenue), where hearty American fare is served up on the olive-tree-lined patio, or inside on comfy couches by the fireplace. West meets east at Two Birds One Stone (3020 St Helena Way) – expect Japanese yakitori plated up in the historic stone-walled interiors of the Freemark Abbey winery. For swagger and southern soul, book in at New Orleans-inspired Evangeline (1226 Washington Street) for a feast of Cajun fried chicken or deliciously dirty shrimp and grits.
The cocktail scene comes to you at Solbar, but for a change of scenery head to St Helena – The Goose and Gander’s Bali Spice Old Fashioned (with clove, cinnamon and star anise) is best enjoyed in the intimate basement bar, or sit out on the patio with cooling Cucumber Collins. In Calistoga, long-standing Susie’s Bar (1365 Lincoln Ave) is the local haunt for craft beers and shooting pool. Pop up the hill to sister hotel, Auberge du Soleil and choose a bottle from the 15,000-strong collection in the wine cellar.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this luxury hotel in Napa Valley and unpacked their tasting notes and souvenir corks, a full account of their Wine Country break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Solage in California…
Sometimes, it’s the simple pleasures that count. Sure, Solage has a sophisticated restaurant, deliciously designed rooms and an impressive spa, but its greatest power is nailing the holy grail of holidays: supreme relaxation. Here, there are no dawn-till-dusk activity timetables, and no obligation to tick off tourist boxes – it’s a place to enjoy in your own time, snoozing by the pool or rousing yourself for a game of bocce in the garden. Beyond the gates lies the winery-lined Silverado Trail, weaving through a blessed land of sun-kissed fields and oak-dotted hillsides, willows and bay trees swaying in the breeze. One day, you might take a Cruiser bike into the spa town of Calistoga; another, perhaps you’ll take a Mercedes for an open-top spin. This is the kind of place that explains why Californians are so darn smiley.
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