THE MINERAL POOLS... of Calistoga have been a draw for decades and decades (and decades and more decades and centuries, too). Stroll the grounds of a destination like Indian Springs Resort, or go wading in its Olympic-big mineral pool, and you understand that the palms and fountains weren't put in the ground last Tuesday, but thousands of Tuesdays ago. Having a place this historic -- Sam Brannan first put that pool in, or what would become the pool, rather, in 1861 -- means that updates and refurbishments and additions should be considered with thought and style and not too much startling newness.
GENTLY NEW: Yes, of course, renovations always come with the aspect of the new, but many a traveler has called upon a storied property only to see a recent update that sticks out like a flat-screen TV sitting in the middle of a Victorian living room. Indian Springs, which just completed a recent renovation, did not go the route where the renovations stick out but rather folded them into the 17-acre property, like one might fold into a toasty and sticky mud bath. Which is, of course, one of the spa staples of the resort, along with the mineral waters. So what's new with the resort's renovations and additions, which were recently unveiled..?
SAM'S SOCIAL CLUB... named after the resort's 19th-century founder Sam Brannan, just made its open-to-the-public debut. The restaurant serves "new rustic American cuisine" just below Mount Lincoln as well as "artisan cocktails, local wines, and craft beer." Chef Kory Stewart is at the helm of the indoor/outdoor eatery. As for places to tuck away post-mud and post-grub? There are 75 new Mission Revival bungalows as well as lodge rooms, too. An Event Barn, which features an Agave Garden and more interesting spaces to socialize, marry, and such, is part of the reno scene as well. If you want to hang around for the resort's centennial, that happened in 2010. But surely the 125th year party, and the 150th, will make a mineral-watered splash.