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Indian Springs Resort and Spa

November 20, 2010

Indian Springs Resort and Spa is one of my favorite places on earth. Located in the tiny town of Calistoga, in California’s Napa Valley, it is reasonably priced, unpretentious, and unique. I’ve stayed in both the Lodge and the cottages, and both are very comfortable and beautifully furnished. Within walking distance is the main street of Calistoga, with shops and restaurants, or you can use one of the resort’s complimentary bikes to explore nearby wineries. I never seem to leave the resort once I arrive, except for a quick walk to the small market across the street for baguette, cheese, fruit and wine. Once I step foot in the geyser-fed mineral swimming pool, and have a couple of spa treatments, I am content to slow down and stay put.

The original Indian Springs Spa was created back in 1861, and has offered their classic volcanic ash mudbaths for more than a century. It is a unique experience not to be missed. I recently enjoyed a mudbath and massage that both relaxed and recharged me.

I was led into a room that contained what could only be described as several large concrete bathtubs filled with pure volcanic mud. As I reclined, I slowly sank down into the mud as the attendant picked up handfuls of mud and placed them over my body. The mud was warm, and surprisingly had no distinct smell. Once I was completely covered, after declining to have my face covered in mud, I felt my body slowly sink deeper and get more relaxed by the second. I began to realize how warm the mud really was, which felt great on my sore muscles. I found that if I wiggled my fingers, it would release more warmth from the depths below. The mud was heavy, and I had the sensation of being weighed down, which was actually very pleasant. I closed my eyes, cleared my mind, and lost track of time.

The attendant gently awakened me, and instructed me to shower off the mud, then placed me in a claw- foot bathtub filled with hot mineral water from the geysers on the property. She handed me a wooden stick to remove the mud from under my nails, and continuously filled a glass of iced cucumber citrus water for me to sip. After about 15 minutes, I headed off to the steam room, which was scented with eucalyptus and lavender. I’m not normally a steam-room kind of girl, but I found myself sitting back and enjoying the experience until it was time to head off to a quiet room where I was wrapped in a warm blanket and cucumber slices were placed over my eyes.  When I was awakened by my massage therapist, I could barely force my body to walk to the massage treatment room. I think I actually floated.

After a 50 minute massage, I proceeded to the Buddha Pond to relax and nap. The pond is surrounded by palm and olive trees, comfy lounge chairs, and dispensers of cucumber water and orange slices. I watched a group of hummingbirds make the rounds to the plants and flowers around the pond. They seemed to play and dance, and even barnstormed me a few times for fun. I dozed in the comfortably cool air, and finally made myself go back to the dressing room to shower and change.

The rest of the day was spent floating in Indian Springs’ unique pool. Built in 1913, the pool is fed by the four thermal geysers nearby. You can see the steam rising from the geysers just beyond the pool fence. Because the natural mineral water coming from the geysers is 230 degrees, it is cooled to a comfortable 102 degrees for the pool. If you’ve ever swam in a pool of 102 degree water, you know it is pure heaven. Especially on a starry, cool October night, there is nothing better than floating on your back to watch for shooting stars. The pool is open from 6:00 am to midnight, and my favorite times to swim were early morning and late at night, when the air was cool and the steam from the surface of the water made it seem otherworldly.

If you are traveling to Northern California, you owe it to yourself to take a few days in Calistoga, and experience the very special place that is Indian Springs Resort and Spa.

Today’s guest post was written by Lisa Pitzer, Account Manager for Covington Travel. Lisa specializes in Corporate Travel Management and has worked in the travel industry for 18 years. In her personal time, she has traveled widely and is an avid spa lover!

Resort photos courtesy of Indian Springs Resort and Spa.


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