Driving north on Highway 1 to Napa is like ascending to an astral plane. You?ll pass through the mist to see seals cavorting on foggy beaches; Big Sur, rising like an exclamation mark; and dramatic Land?s End landscapes. By the time you hit Napa, you?ll be ready for a drink and a rubdown.
Happily, Napa spas, like grape vines, grow on the valley floor, on mountain sides, everywhere. There?s actually a terroir to spas, at least the better ones. At Auberge de Soleil a series of cottages on a hillside in Rutherford, you can sip house label cabernet sauvignon and look out over a quilt of olive trees and grape vines. At the Auberge Spa, the Meyer lemon olive oil treatment takes that which you saw and applies it to your entire body.
The valley floor spa Solage, past Calistoga?s quaint but tr?s chic Main Street, is more spread out. Guests buzz around on cruiser bikes over the 44-acre property to Pilates, geothermal baths, and the Michelin-starred restaurant Solbar.?Their signature treatment, the Mudslide, involves covering yourself and a loved one in mud, letting it bake in a private room, soaking, and listening to new age music.
For those who love privacy, Calistoga Ranch offers 48 cabins -- though they might be more appropriately called ch?teaus -- along a gurgling brook. The massage here is firm and bold. But no visit to the valley would be complete without tastings. If you?re driving try olive oils instead of wines. Round Pond offers tours of their mill and their silvery Elysian orchards by appointment.