Hotel at a Glance: Roman Spa Hot Springs Resort
The outdoor pool at Roman Spa Hot Springs Resort is kept at a steamy 92–96 degrees all year long because it's filled with mineral waters from the area's natural hot springs. The resort's indoor and outdoor hot tubs burble with the same geothermal waters; they're also used in mud baths and other treatments at the spa. Spring is one of the best times to enjoy a soak in the geothermal pools, when the resort's mediterranean gardens begin to bloom.
- Local wildlife: Hummingbirds can often be spotted flitting between colorful blooms on the outdoor patio.
- Charming rooms feature cherry-wood furniture and local artwork by artist Helene Minelli.
- Signature spa treatment: 60-minute mud bath mixed from Calistoga volcanic ash, natural peat, and geothermal mineral water
- Award winner: Roman Spa Hot Springs Resort received TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence in 2013; guests loved the mineral pools and proximity to downtown Calistoga (about two blocks).
- Take a wine tour: There are a dozen wineries in Calistoga and 15 more within a 10-minute drive of the town.
Calistoga, California: Down-to-Earth Hamlet in Northern Napa Valley
The story goes like this: 19th-century developer Samuel Brannan wanted to create a West Coast version of Saratoga Springs (renowned at the time for its mineral spas), but he had been drinking when he made the announcement and so the name came out garbled as the "Calistoga of Sarifornia." This origin myth sounds a little fishy, but nevertheless, Brannan's vision of creating a relaxing and therapeutic Napa Valley getaway was eventually realized. Thanks to the area's natural hot springs, a slew of spas sprang up, offering restorative mineral soaks and mud baths. You can still find many such businesses peppered among the restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries lining Calistoga's quaint, quiet main street, which is set against a backdrop of rolling hills.
Those hills are home to some of Napa Valley's more than 400 wineries, many of which lie within a short drive of downtown Calistoga. The curious wine lover can choose from a wide array of vineyard experiences, ranging from tours to tastings at wineries modeled on English castles and Tuscan villas. One word of warning: many of these places require reservations, so be sure to book in advance.