Spotlight: Calistoga and a retro resort

EcoGo - Calistoga valley taken from Mt. St. Helena - Mark Doliner

Calistoga, California was first promoted as a rural respite back in 1862, after San Francisco millionaire Sam Brannan opened his hot springs resort. Located in the northern reaches of Napa Valley, Calistoga’s natural beauty, wineries and geothermal features have attracted visitors for 150 years. It’s been an eco-destination well before the term was invented, and is now called the most sybaritic town in America!

EcoGo - Town of Calistoga established in 19th century - Peter Stetson

Last year, Fodor’s Travel named Calistoga to its top-ten list of America’s best small towns. Fodor sought winners which could “be enjoyed year-round, have cultural or outdoor activities and a good selection of dining and lodging options.” Fodor Editor Michael Connelley said the wine country location played into the selection, along with its frontier feel and interesting store facades. “Calistoga is a little bit more fun than Napa,” he explained.

EcoGo - Secrets await - The Sunburst Calistoga

Calistoga offers all kinds of special lodging, complete with sky-high rates. Recently we discovered a cool, retro hotel that’s accessibly priced, starting $200/day in these parts. Built during the 1950’s and renovated in 2013, The Sunburst Calistoga features mid-century style,  modern amenities and hot spring-fed pools for relaxation and healing.

EcoGo - Water conserving landscape - The Sunburst Calistoga

The hotel operates sustainably, both conserving and showcasing its energy-saving efforts. On the outside, simple landscaping has been done with natural environment and local drought conditions in mind. Existing plant materials, already on the property, get moved around. New materials are added if they are energy efficient, including some grasses.

EcoGo - Retro room - The Sunburst Calistoga

Sunburst  also works to reduce water consumption, notably partnering with the City of Calistoga on a new water-audit. Inside the 50 rooms, low flow showers and toilets are installed. There’s a neat trick of adding filled, small water bottles to the tank as a water displacement technique.

Other practices include resort-wide use of energy-efficient light bulbs, green cleaning products and paper supplies. To reduce disposable waste, water stations and recyclable cups are placed near the pools. recycling packing materials are used for visitor purchases, and room key holders get recycled.

Last but not least, visitors may borrow Sunburst-owned bicycles and leave their cars behind. Calistoga is a fairly level, pedaling kind of place. Why not take a slow-paced tour of the town and all its offerings? Or venture further away, on Napa Valley’s Silverado Trail?

This post was written by Nicole

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 17th, 2015 at 10:37 am

Categories: EcoGo Dispatches,Ecotourism Destinations Tags: ,