1. Eating Napa
2. Calistoga Ranch, An Auberge Resort Part I – Check-In, Our Lodge
3. Calistoga Ranch, An Auberge Resort Part II – Resort Facilities, Activities, and Food
4. The Restaurant at Meadowood + Meeting Chef Christopher Kostow
5. Eating Sonoma
As I had mentioned in Part I of my trip report, Calistoga Ranch truly feels like a complete escape from the outside world. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.