California's First Spa: Indian Springs in Calistoga by

Issue 25 · Bath & Spa Style · June 19, 2012

California's First Spa: Indian Springs in Calistoga

Issue 25 · Bath & Spa Style · June 19, 2012

Indian Springs, named after the Wappo Indians that first settled here, is California’s oldest continuously operating pool and spa. Located in the refreshingly retro and down-to-earth town of Calistoga, at the far end of the Napa Valley, the resort features an Olympic-sized mineral pool and large deposits of volcanic ash used for mud baths.

Calistoga was the name invented by the town's founder Samuel Brannan, a settler who made his fortune in the Gold Rush and earned title of California's first millionaire. in the 1860s, he bought much of the land in the upper valley, aiming to make it a West Coast resort to rival New York's Saratoga Springs, hence the name Calistoga. (He sold it to Leland Stanford who thought of locating Stanford University here but the latter ultimately opted for Palo Alto.) The current owners, the Merchant family, bought the resort in 1988 and have successfully updated it over the years without compromising any of its native Californian charm. For more information, visit Indian Springs.

Above: Built in 1913, the Mission Revival-style pool replaced the original 19th century "plunge."

Above: The 230-degree geysers keep the mineral pool at 102 degrees in the winter and 92 degrees in the summer.

Above: The Olympic-sized mineral pool is heated by four thermal geysers on the property that supply the mineral-rich water.

Above: The entrance to the spa house.

Above: Resort guests can stay in self-catering cottages or at the neighboring lodge.

Above: The resort sits on a sixteen-acre property planted with palms, olive trees, lavender, and roses, with views of nearby mountains.

Above: The volcanic ash mud baths. Guest immerse themselves fully into the black clay (not for the claustrophobic).



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