Hotel at a Glance: The Sunburst Calistoga
In a landscape dominated by green vineyards and traditional hotels, The Sunburst Calistoga, which opened in 2013, stands out with its bright colors and retro decor. The interior pops with shades of orange, blue, and green, and abstract artwork adorns the white walls. A classic California wine-country experience is never far away, however—the hotel offers direct access to Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail, home to some of Napa Valley’s most famous wineries and vineyards.
- Most scenic place to sip wine: Sterling Vineyards sits atop a hill and is accessed via an aerial tramway with equally gorgeous views.
- Celebrity chefs Michael Chiarello, Thomas Keller, and Masaharu Morimoto have restaurants in the Napa Valley.
- Hooked up: Guest rooms feature LCD TVs, iHome alarm clocks, and Keurig coffeemakers with Wolfgang Puck coffee.
- Two mineral pools are surrounded by lounge chairs and oversized hot tub.
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.