A Classic Calistoga Spa With a Fresh Face

DESTINATION: Indian Springs Resort, Calistoga


THE HEALTH-INSPIRED Indian Springs Resort in Calistoga has just completed a two-year refresh, which includes a face-lift for the Olympic-size geyser-fed pool. The 17-acre spread, famous for volcanic mud baths, has been owned by Pat and John Merchant of Marin since 1988. It’s impressive to consider how the original owners of the resort, built in 1913, brought the scalding-hot mineral-rich water down to a comfortable 102 degrees. Keep in mind, Theodore Roosevelt was president at the time and the women taking the waters were likely wearing black mohair bathing suits. The complete renovation includes 75 new bungalows and lodge rooms, indoor event and meeting spaces, outdoor gardens with a giant checkers game and shuffleboard, and the property’s first restaurant, Sam’s Social Club. The Agave Garden can host intimate weddings.

Indian Springs Resort Calistoga

STAY The 14 historic Palm Row Cottages now feature decor and furnishings selected by Pat Merchant. Each has two large bedrooms, a cozy living room, front porch, private back patio with fire pit, flat-screen TV, and other luxe amenities.

EAT Named after the resort’s founder and California’s first millionaire, Sam Brannan, this large one-room restaurant has been lauded in local and national press. At the helm these days is Sean McGrath. The chef’s impressive culinary resume includes Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley and Michael Mina and Americano in San Francisco.

DETAILS Rates start at $299 for rooms and $399 for a Palm Row cottage on weekdays. Go on a Tuesday, through August, and stay in a new view room for $229 ($80 savings). Or just go for a spa day: $95 gets you a mud bath and access to the property, including the Buddha garden.

Mimi Towle

Mimi Towle has been the editor of Marin Magazine for over a decade. She lived with her family in Sycamore Park and Strawberry and thoroughly enjoyed raising two daughters in the mayhem of Marin’s youth sports; soccer, swim, volleyball, ballet, hip hop, gymnastics and many many hours spent at Miwok Stables. Her community involvements include volunteering at her daughter’s schools, coaching soccer and volleyball (glorified snack mom), being on the board of both Richardson Bay Audubon Center. Currently residing on a floating home in Sausalito, she enjoys all water activity, including learning how to steer a 6-person canoe for the Tamalpais Outrigger Canoe Club. Born and raised in Hawaii, her fondness for the islands has on occasion made its way into the pages of the magazine.