California likely conjures up images of sunny beaches, beautiful vineyards, and of course, Hollywood. All-natural, mineral-filled hot springs might not make the list, but it’s true -- the Golden State is home to many geothermal areas. Even better, plenty of hotels use these therapeutic waters to supply the pools and spas on their grounds. To help you plan the ultimate wellness getaway, we put together a list of the best hot springs resorts in California, from Palm Springs to Napa Valley. Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit.
At Indian Springs Resort and Spa, a historic hotel at the northern end of Napa Valley, guests can simultaneously soak and stargaze. The Olympic-sized mineral pool — one of California’s largest — is fed from the on-site geysers and stays open until midnight. Take a dip here, or at the more intimate, but also mineral-loaded, adults-only pool. If privacy is your priority, the spa offers massages and restorative treatments, including mud baths using volcanic ash. The wellness-centric focus also spills into the farm-to-table restaurant, which serves healthy American cuisine, as well the rest of the tranquil grounds, which feature palm and olive trees, rosebushes, lavender plants, and ponds. Going back to your room — a bungalow, lodge, or private home — isn’t so bad either; the units feature cozy balconies or patios for relaxing.
A Michelin-starred restaurant, a 40,000-square-foot spa with its own thermal mineral spring, an 18-hole championship golf course, and a large outdoor pool put this Spanish Mission-style inn on many travelers’ hotel wish lists. The 226 stylish rooms also impress — some fireplaces and garden views, while others come with balconies. Still, the property’s crowning feature is its position 1,100 feet above a geothermal pool, which is used to provide guests with pampering treatments like mud baths and salt scrubs.
With a picturesque address in northern Napa Valley, Solage provides plenty of perks for various personalities. Young guests tend to like the property’s studios with high-vaulted ceilings and in-room coffee, and families with kids appreciate the children’s pool, complimentary bikes, and larger suites with private patios. Meanwhile, luxury seekers can savor services like massages and oxygen facials in the 20,000-square-foot spa. Try the signature treatment — the Mudslide — which offers a twist on the traditional mud bath. The geothermal pools here range from cold to hot, and the steam room and adults-only pool present even more spots for R&R. Elsewhere, the farm-fresh Michelin-starred restaurant, Solbar, satisfies foodies, and the modern fitness center with group classes and outdoor equipment pleases health-conscious guests.
A rumored retreat for Al Capone back in the day, Two Bunch Palms warrants a visit not only for its Hollywood past, but also for its top-notch wellness amenities. In fact, every aspect of the 77-acre property is designed to keep guests healthy and happy. The grotto — drawn from the Desert Hot Springs aquifer — has two soaking pools filled with mineral-rich water. The spa features everything from mud baths to Watsu pools. Other health-conscious highlights include hiking trails, a yoga dome, tennis courts, a lap pool, a fitness center, and a restaurant serving gourmet cuisine made with local ingredients. To top it off, guests under the age of 18 aren’t allowed, adding to the overall serene ambience.
California wine country comes with its fair share of luxury hotels, but Calistoga Ranch, tucked away on 157 acres in northern Napa Valley, stands out from the pack. Here, guests can rent private lodges — complete with outdoor showers and living rooms, plus floor-to-ceiling windows that let in uninterrupted views. Adding to the calm atmosphere is the spa, which features soaking pools fed with mineral water from Napa Valley’s hot springs. Outdoor mud baths and organic massage treatments are on offer for guests looking to recharge. There’s also a heated outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, private lake, bocce ball court, on-site restaurant with dishes starring seasonal produce, wine-tasting seminars, and hiking trails, but if you prefer to leave the property, loaner bikes (and even a loaner Mercedes-Benz) will help you access downtown Calistoga and other nearby attractions.
Well-regarded for its restorative waters, Desert Hot Springs is a town that lies between Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park. Situate yourself close to the area’s natural springs by booking a stay at the low-key Spring Resort & Spa. Here, guests can take advantage of three small pools, each supplied by water from the hot springs (170 degrees at the source, and then cooled to different temperatures). The spa, which also welcomes non-guests, is ready to reinvigorate with massages, facials, and body treatments. A relaxation-centric vibe pervades throughout the grounds, though, thanks to the no-kids-allowed policy and small number of guest rooms.
Calistoga Spa Hot Springs, near the base of Mount St. Helena, is proof that you can connect with nature without breaking the bank. It’s situated on the site of geothermal mineral pools that filter into a whirlpool, soaking pool, and multi-lane lap pool. Complement your soak with a massage, warm mud bath using locally harvested volcanic ash, or another one of the treatments at the full-service spa. There’s also a fitness center and an attached studio with weekly yoga and Pilates classes to further enhance your wellness getaway. Downsides? There’s no restaurant here, other than a snack bar, though the hotel is within walking distance of restaurants. Plus, the 57 motel-style rooms all have kitchenettes with two-burner stovetops if you prefer to cook.
Casual and comfortable, this laid-back resort located in a quiet area at the top of Napa Valley is the place to rest and recharge. The Baths here offer an array of services that use Calistoga’s mineral and geothermal waters, as do the indoor and outdoor pools. Take a dip, or unwind in the mud bath room. Come evening, have a barbecue in the outdoor picnic area with grills. The rooms and suites are equipped with kitchenettes for eating in, though the resort is located a block away from Calistoga’s main street with plenty of restaurants and shops, too.
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