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Indian Springs Resort & Spa, Calistoga

1712 Lincoln Avenue
Calistoga , California
Tel: 707 942 4913's insider take:

Before Napa became famous for wine in the late 1970s, the valley was best known for the boiling hot springs bubbling up through volcanic mud in Calistoga. The little main-street town was founded in the 1850s by Sam Brannan, an East Coast entrepreneur who envisioned a California version of New York's Saratoga. (Legend has it he was a drunk and declared the town the "Calistoga of Sarafornia.") Opened by Brannan himself, Indian Springs is the granddaddy of the town's mud-bath emporiums. There's nothing fancy about the utilitarian 19th-century spa building, but this is the real deal. You get buried in mud, soak in a tub of clear hot-spring water, then take a eucalyptus steam before drifting away in a blanket wrap; tack on a massage and facial for the full treatment. The effect is glorious: you'll feel both relaxed and detoxified. Afterward, take a swim in the gigantic, hot spring–fed swimming pool. The resort also rents cozy 1940s cottages and hotel rooms with Frette linens.

Open daily 8 am to 9 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.