By Pati Navalta
The last time I went for a spa day was right before the pandemic forced us all indoors. At the time, guests at the usually popular Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection in Calistoga were sparse. Signs about hygiene and sterilization went up, while the use of the sauna and steam room was shut down. Nearly one year later, I returned to see how the property was faring. Like many hospitality businesses in Napa, the Auberge property is slowly finding its way back—and though not everything is as it once was due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, there is still much to appreciate and look forward to.
Let’s start with the resort’s restaurant—Solbar—headed by executive chef Gustavo Rios. Though the property still cannot allow indoor dining, there is a beautiful outdoor dining area, made cozy with string lights, giant umbrellas and heaters. The menu offers seasonal and innovative dishes that showcase the best of Napa’s pantry. Here are just a few standout dishes: first course: grilled octopus or black truffle tagliatelle; and main dish: sake marinated black cod or Liberty Farms duck breast. Don’t forget to leave room for dessert because Solbar has taken its most popular dessert and made it even better. The butterscotch pudding may sound boring, but it is definitely anything but. This deceptively simple sweet is made with Macallan 12, caramel sauce, toffee pearls (a new addition), and whipped chantilly.
Another major lure of Solage is its spa and bathhouse. Currently, you can only make an appointment for a spa service if you are a guest of the hotel. This is to keep the numbers down to allow social distancing. While the steam room and sauna are still closed, you still have access to the mineral baths and pools, which were a welcome respite for my weary work-at-home body. If you want privacy and plan to hang out for the day, you can reserve your own cabana. The poolside menu is currently limited to drinks only.
It’s worth noting that even though there are restrictions, Solage sits on 22 acres right off of Silverado Trail, with 89 rooms and suites. The resort is surrounded by sweeping views of the Palisades and Mayacamas Mountains and is within walking distance to the town of Calistoga. Beach cruiser bikes are parked outside each room for guests to enjoy—and there’s plenty to enjoy given the property’s natural, lush surroundings.
We all look forward to the day that travel and hospitality are up and running at full capacity again—especially employees in that sector who have been out of work for long stretches of time. When that happens, Solage is working on having the following additions ready for you to detox, retox and repeat in Napa Valley:
- New restaurant, PicoBar, is centered around Solage’s landmark pool culture, with a menu that changes with the harvest. “Pico” translates to “peak,” as local ingredients are sourced from the mountains, valleys and rivers in respective peak seasons. Signature items include whipped avocado, pistachio and kale dip, Cowgirl Creamery queso, and homemade Napa flavored tortillas such as garlic, olive and sun-dried tomato. PicoBar also boasts a wide assortment of tequilas, craft cocktails, wine and beer, meant to be enjoyed on a hot summer afternoon or as a flavorful palate-cleansing following a day of wine tasting.
- Eleven New Suites: Reflecting the small-town charm and urban sophistication of Napa, the 89 stand-alone studio accommodations are now fully refreshed to complement eleven newly built suites, including two 1,413-square-foot two-bedroom suites ideal for families and small group getaways. The suite’s loft-like layouts are designed with a deep respect for nature. Each has its own private outdoor patio, showers and hot tub for indulging in panoramic views of the Palisades and Mayacamas Mountains.
- Outdoor Living Expansion: Creating a modern space that serves as an extension of the valley landscape, additional resort enhancements include an expansion at signature restaurant Solbar with distinct new open-air lounge seating, versatile indoor-outdoor event spaces for celebrations and meetings, and a reimagined pool deck with lounge seating, amenity-rich cabanas and a children’s pool.
But why wait? There’s plenty to enjoy at Solage now.
755 Silverado Trail N., Calistoga, 866.942.7442, aubergeresorts.com/solage
Photos courtesy of Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection