Taking the Waters at Indian Springs Resort and Spa
We are reclined on chaise lounges overlooking the beautiful Buddha Pond awaiting our mud baths and massages – 90 minutes of pure bliss. Birds are singing as steam rises from the pond fed by a natural hot spring geyser on the property. While it may look like a resort in Southeast Asia, we are relaxing in Calistoga, a short two-hour drive from San Francisco.
Indian Springs Resort and Spa is one of the oldest mineral spring resorts in a town that caters to those wishing to experience relaxation and rejuvenation. The lush grounds are lined with palm trees and comfortable seating areas scattered about the property. We came for relaxation, but they offer croquet, bocce ball, tennis, and other outdoor activities for those interested in more high-energy pursuits. After checking in, we were only too happy to sit outside in the sunshine as we sipped champagne and watched the sun set over the Napa Valley.
The spa attendant found us at the Buddha Pond and directed us to the mud baths. This is one of the signature treatments at the resort. The mud is from local volcanic ash and combined with the mineral waters to detoxify. I was maneuvered into the bathtub on top of the mud, and the attendant layered on more mud so that my body was encased in a warm layer. The mud was odorless, warm, and soothing, and I drifted into a relaxed state.
After a few minutes, the attendant scraped the excess mud from my body so I could lift myself out of the tub. I showered off the remaining particles before stepping into a calming claw-foot soaking tub. The attendant provided citrus water and a cold cloth for my neck. My sister and I happily enjoyed the warm soothing water and the feeling of well being. Next came the steam room, which was so hot that even with a cup of ice water and an iced towel, I lasted only a few minutes. The final step of the mud bath regimen consisted of a blanket-wrap, where I was encased in a large towel and laid to rest with a light covering to return to a normal body temperature. I am relaxed and content, happy to have a 50-minute massage to follow. The massage passed so quickly that a soak in the restorative waters of the pool seemed fitting.
The Olympic-size mineral pool is the perfect place to spend the afternoon or take a dip before turning in for the night, or both. It is heated to between 92 and 102 degrees (depending on time of the year) from the geyser. As I floated over the water, steam evaporated from the pool, the moon rose, and a plethora of stars were visible. I could stay in here forever. Fortunately resort guests have use of the pool until midnight.
Accommodations include comfortable cottages and a lodge on the 16-acre property. Our lodge rooms had enclosed patios – a sunny place to drink coffee, read or relax. The sound of fountains and water can be heard throughout the property and created a sense of tranquility and calm. The beds were so comfortable, with luxury linens, soft pillows, and cozy bedding, that I found myself staying in bed as long as possible. My consolation for getting up was the soft robe that I donned for a leisurely walk through the grounds on the way to the pool and spa.
Thoughtful touches were everywhere, such as glass decanters of citrus water, a reminder to stay hydrated; outdoor fire-pits and fireplaces throughout the resort for warmth and gatherings; and throws in each room, to better enjoy sitting outdoors in the early morning or evening hours. Beautiful art, statues, and sculptures are located throughout the resort. There is a feeling of timelessness despite the historic photos of the original resort displayed on the walls at the pool.
There are no restaurants at the resort, however, it is a short walk to dining, nightlife, and shops in downtown Calistoga. Read about things to see and do in Calistoga and a romantic wine country weekend spent here. The resort provides complimentary bicycles for those wishing to explore the nearby wineries or downtown.
After a mere 48 hours of relaxation, rejuvenation, and indulgence, I feel like a new person, although I can’t wait to return to Indian Springs for more pampering.
Details: Indian Springs Resort and Spa is located at 1712 Lincoln Avenue in Calistoga. Phone 707-942-4913.