A Review of the Indian Springs Resort and Spa, Calistoga, California

Thermal pools!

napa valley business hotels, thermal pool at Calistoga
••• Main thermal pool at Indian Springs Resort. David A. Kelly

If you travel for business, there’s a good chance you’ll end up in the San Francisco area at some point. And if you’re planning business meetings for your company, there are plenty of good reasons to consider the San Francisco area. In either case, a trip to nearby Napa Valley maybe just the thing.

Napa Valley, located about an hour and half north of San Francisco, makes for a great destination for business travelers who want to extend a business trip to San Francisco with a few days of rest and relaxation in the California’s premier wine country.

But Napa Valley is also a great location for corporate events, both because of the incredible setting, as well as a wide range of extra-curricular activities available, such as winery tours, hiking, and more.

If you’re a meeting planner, or business traveler planning a trip to Napa, you may want to consider a stay at the Indian Springs Resort & Spa, in Calistoga, California. Calistoga is located near the upper end of Napa Valley, about a half an hour from the city of Napa. Like most areas in Napa, Calistoga is close to many great wineries, but it’s also a cute little town with great restaurants and shops and a nice walkable downtown area.

Indian Springs Resort is centrally located within walking distance to downtown Calistoga and provides a great location for corporate events, as well as a great destination for an after business trip vacation. The resort is famous for its large and unique geyser-fed thermal pool and on-site mud baths.

Calistoga and the Indian Springs Resort are great destinations for any business traveler.

Hotel Overview

Calistoga is located about seventy-five miles north of San Francisco. The Indian Springs Resort is located within walking distance from Calistoga’s great little downtown area.

While there’s been a resort on the same site since the 1800s, the Indian Springs Resort is a modern, all-encompassing resort, with plenty of activities, an on-site restaurant, and beautiful grounds.

Rooms

The Indian Spring Resort has a variety of room types available to guests, from standard hotel rooms to cottages and bungalows.

The Lodge is a 1930s Spanish-style building (renovated in 2005) with modern rooms with queen-sized beds. View Rooms were built in 2014 and provide a mix of queen and king bedroom options. Cottages are historic small cottages that line the driveway. Cottages come in studios and two-bedroom units, with living rooms and porches. Even though they are historic, the Cottages have been totally updated to modern interiors and amenities. The resort’s Bungalows were new in 2014 and feature large (1,200 square feet) floorplans with two bedrooms and private gardens.  And last, but not least, the resort’s Houses are stand-alone homes with lots of space and great views.

During my visit, I stayed in one of the Cottages. Even though they were built in the 1940s, they are completely modern and updated on the inside, with nice living rooms, refrigerators, and more. The units are surrounded by palm and olive trees and have nice porches out front for relaxing in the afternoon or morning.

My two-bedroom cottage was spacious and nicely furnished. Since it was designed in the 1940s, the bathroom is rather small, but completely usable.

The shower was large. Both bedrooms were medium-sized, but nicely furnished and decorated. While the resort’s regular rooms are very nice, it was wonderful to have the extra space and extra bedroom that the Cottages provide. The Cottages are also centrally located for the resort’s massive heated pool, which is right across the driveway.

While I was very impressed with the overall resort, I did end up having two small issues with my room. When I first checked into the Cottage, it was quiet warm (it’s California, after all!). While the room has three air conditions (great!), they were controlled by a remote control, and needed to be turned on in a certain order to work correctly. The hotel provided a one-page instruction guide, I was unable to figure it out. Thankfully, a call to maintenance resulted in a very friendly, and very helpful maintenance man who was able to get the ACs pumping out cold air within a few minutes.

I had no further issues with the air conditioners during the rest of my stay, and greatly appreciated the fact that they unit had three of them. The second “issue” that I had with the accommodations was the water-saving spigot in the bathroom sink—it forced the water out in a burst which resulted in splashes each time I turned it on. I believe they’re going to work on adjusting that

My two-bedroom cottage had two medium-sized rooms, one with a queen bed, and one with a bunk bed, a nice living room, and a front porch with chairs.

While the room was nice, the real reason to visit Indian Springs Resort is the resort’s massive, thermally-heated pool (more on that later) and the surrounding grounds. It was simply wonderful to relax in the Adirondack chairs in front of the Spa at the end of the afternoon with a glass of wine. And it was really unique to take a dip in the pool at 10pm at night, with the stars and moon overhead.

Business Traveler Perspective

There is Wi-Fi service at the Indian Springs Resort. I found it to be excellent, but your mileage may vary.

Of course, the resort has full laundry services. Free self-parking is available, either in a central lot or in front of your cottage.

There’s no place to pick up small snacks or sodas at the resort (other than the pool), but the town is very close, with plenty of small shops and supermarkets.

The resort doesn’t have an exercise room, but it does have plenty of other ways to exercise, starting with the Olympic-sized main pool. If you’ve had your fill of swimming, or just prefer something dry, there are nice hiking trails winding through the property’s seventeen acres. There’s also a small, little-used hiking path that leads hikers to the top of the small hill (known as Mount Lincoln) behind Sam’s Social Club. Just walk past the restaurant and the trail will be on your right. The top of the hill has nice views of the resort and surrounding areas.

For more leisurely activities, guests can play bocce, shuffleboard, croquet, giant checkers, or take one of the free bikes that are dotted throughout the property and ride into town or wherever they’d like.

The Spa

The Indian Springs Resort’s spa is located in the heart of the resort, right next to the main pool. While the pool has a retro/throwback feel to an earlier time, the spa is completely modern (although also nicely styled). The spa offers a wide range of standard spa treatments (massage, facials, and mineral water soaks), but the specialty here is the unique mud baths.

The Indian Spring Resort’s mud baths are a mixture of water and pure volcanic ash, both of which are sourced on-site. If you’ve never taken a mud bath before, they’re completely unique. You basically submerge yourself in a large bathtub full of hot volcanic ash mud. It takes a bit of getting used to, and a good hosing off when you get out, but the it’s an experience that’s unlike any other spa experience you’ve ever had.

The Pools

Since the 1800s, the heart of the resort is its swimming pool (or more accurately, pools). Since the resort was founded, visitors have been coming to Indian Springs to partake of the its geyser-fed swimming pool.

The resort’s main pool is an Olympic-sized pool filled with hot geyser-fed mineral water. The hotel also recently added an adult’s only pool, which is located on the other side of the main pool.  The pools are generally kept at about 82 – 102 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the season.

I would highly recommend that any visit to Indian Springs Resort use the main pool at night, under the stars or moon. The pool is open until midnight, and it’s incredibly peaceful to float in the very warm mineral water with the cool night air and stars above. 

The water for the pools comes from the four thermal geysers located on the property. You’ll even see the steam coming from source of the geysers, where the water collects into a geyser pond and holding tanks, where it is cooled before being sent into the pools, steam rooms, and heating systems. 

For background, the thermal water comes from deep in the earth, about 4,000 feet down, where the it comes in contact with magma oozing through a fracture in the plate below the ground. The water becomes super-heated and surges through the earth, escaping in the form of geysers at a temperature of 230 degrees Fahrenheit.

The resort’s main, Olympic-sized mineral pool, was built in 1913 (and refreshed in 2016) and has a great classic feel. But not too classic—there are noodles and floats to float on, and chaise lounges and deck chairs to relax poolside. Nearby is a thermal steam room and outdoor fireplace cabana lounge.

Food

The Indian Springs Resort and Spa has an on-site restaurant, called Sam’s Social Club. The restaurant is named after the original resort’s founder, Sam Brannan.

Sam’s Social Club is located on the other side of the main pool, at the foot the entranceway. It’s open for breakfast, brunch (on weekends), lunch, and dinner. There’s also a happy hour Monday through Thursday, from 3:30 – 6:30, with discounted drinks and pizza. In addition to inside seating, there’s the a nice lounge area near the bar.

Sam’s provides “rustic” American cuisine, local wines (of course), artisan cocktails, and craft beer brewed onsite. It also has a nice outdoor setting, at the foot of Mount Lincoln. There’s a very nice (and large) outdoor patio and seating area, with a fire pit and geyser-fed water “feature.”

During my stay, I was able to enjoy a dinner on Sam’s patio, and it was wonderful. The weather (even though it was April) was perfect (although the restaurant has plenty of space heaters, if needed). I had a table next to the foot of the nearby mountain (more like a hill, actually), and enjoyed the serenity of the location. The food was good, and the service excellent.

Meetings and Events

Indian Springs Resort and Spa is a great location for meetings and corporate events. The resort itself has lots of great activities and areas to meeting and relax, and the cute, upscale town of Calistoga is within easy walking distance of the Indian Springs Resort.

Many of the resorts meeting rooms and function areas are either new or newly updated as part of the resort’s 2014 expansion, such as the Barn and the Garden Retreat Center. Sam’s Social Club, the resort’s restaurant, also provides catering services and additional function area options.

The resort features both indoor and outdoor function spaces for a variety of corporate needs, with a total of 3,500 square feet.

Companies or groups interested in holding a function at the Indian Springs Resort and Spa should contact the hotel’s sales department at (707) 709-2433 or groupsales@indianspringscalistoga.com.

Function spaces include:

  • The Barn. The Indian Springs Resort’s Barn is a new 1,200 square foot Mission Revival-style barn located in the corner of the resort. The Barn has views of the nearby mountains and hills, and has a large patio. The Barn is fitted with up-to-date audio/visual equipment and high-speed Internet access. The Barn can hold about one hundred people.
  • Terrace Room and Patio. The resort’s 400 square-foot Terrace Room is located right next to the Lodge. The room has a large wood-burning fireplace. Outside is a patio with another fireplace and a fountain, and a bocce ball court. The Terrace Room can hold about eighty people for a stand-up reception, or twenty in theater style.
  • The Cellar. Located under the resort’s new restaurant, Sam’s Social Club, the Cellar is a 580 square-foot function space that is great for smaller gatherings or dinners. To balance off the vibe from all the Napa Valley Wineries, the room features views of the restaurant’s (working) beer tanks. The Cellar can hold about forty people for a stand-up reception, or thirty in theater style.
  • Agave Garden. The Agave Garden provides a nice outdoor setting for functions, with a waterfall, gardens, and lots of natural stone. It has a capacity of eighty.

Hotel Info

Indian Springs Resort and Spa
1712 Lincoln Ave
Calistoga, CA 94515
Telephone: 707-942-4913

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with some discounted services for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.