- A newly-envisioned experience includes the debut of culinary venture, House of Better.
- Guests will be delighted with the remodeled guest rooms and updating of the famed mud baths and mineral springs spa.
- This iconic spa has attracted wellness seekers from around the world to its rejuvenating mud baths and healing waters for seven decades.
The new iteration of the iconic resort, founded in 1952 by the pioneering wellness practitioner John “Doc” Wilkinson and his wife, Edy, includes the addition of a culinary venture, House of Better, charmingly updated guest rooms, and a thorough remodeling of the spa facilities.
The iconic spa destination on Calistoga’s main street, easily identifiable by its original neon sign and classic 1952 Buick Special parked at the curb, has attracted wellness seekers from around the world to its rejuvenating mud baths and healing waters for seven decades. The resort’s renovation honors the storied history of the property while offering a completely modern experience. Featuring a fresh mid-century-inspired design, 50 renovated guest rooms, three geothermal mineral pools, a brand-new restaurant with expansive outdoor dining space, and a reimagined spa, Dr. Wilkinson’s is, more than ever, the place where wellness meets happiness.
The new resort offers a mix of guest room types, including a standalone, one-bedroom bungalow; three Spa Cottages featuring clawfoot tubs for soaking; a Peloton room for fitness-minded travelers; and a restored, five-room, 1924-vintage Victorian bunkhouse that sleeps 15, ideal for group travel and retreats. The renovation weaves in playful experiential touch points throughout, including a backyard lawn area for games and picnicking, and a retro-inspired lobby featuring an innovative water installation and a variety of local apothecary products. On-site programming includes backyard Pinot & Pétanque games, Wilk’s Wine Night as part of Visit Calistoga’s Fourth Fridays, and wellness-oriented offerings.
“As we embarked upon this renovation, one of our most important goals was to maintain the spirit of this property and honor the resort’s longstanding commitment to wellness and happiness,” said Robert Kline, CEO & co-founder of Chartres Lodging Group. “We’re extremely proud to be the stewards of Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs and the agents of its renewal. We hope our resort will provide a relaxed and approachable inspiration for locals and visitors to live well, whether that means enjoying a full day of healing treatments at our spa or simply having a glass of wine, a slice of pie, and a game of kubb on our lawn.”
Mid-Century, Modernized – The Design
With an emphasis on preserving historic architecture and respecting the resort’s integrity and legacy, SB Architects led the exterior redesign of the property, restoring three Victorian buildings, spotlighting the expansive property’s natural assets, and opening up public spaces to the outdoors. EDG Design spearheaded the interior renovation, inspired by a modern take on mid-century style. The airy, redesigned lobby is retro-with-a-twist, featuring an art installation of 52 clay disks behind the check-in desk (a nod to the hotel’s opening year) and a water tower that celebrates Calistoga’s long tradition of soothing travelers with its mineral-rich natural spring waters.
The spa features a fresh and calming palette with touches of terra cotta for an element of earth, while guestrooms feature designs that harken back to 1950s style, with original block walls refreshed with bright, white paint, white oak floors, and a warm color palette. Guest room accents include locally made artwork, one-of-a-kind handmade pottery pieces by local ceramics studio NBC Pottery, and a graphic map of the area, encouraging guests to explore the charming town of Calistoga. Curated art throughout the property highlights local artists, and artwork inspired by Edy Wilkinson’s beloved mosaics enliven the spa.
“Adapting an iconic wellness spa to match the modern experiential traveler’s expectations has been an exciting challenge. Our design vision acknowledges seven decades of pioneering history while creating a backyard environment that takes you back to your experiences and dreams of childhood exploration,” said Maki Nakamura Bara, co-founder of Chartres Lodging Group. “We designed spaces for relaxation as well as places for fun. And we crafted a restaurant that satiates and stretches your palate without stretching your waistband. Hop on the swing, hang out by the pool or soak under the stars – this is a place of relaxation and rediscovery.”
House of Better – The Restaurant
House of Better is the resort’s new counter-service restaurant and bar by Trevor Logan of San Francisco’s Green Chile Kitchen and his Sonoma-based Chile Pies Baking Co. Inspired by Logan’s time in New Mexico and his background in health and nutrition, House of Better features Southwestern-inspired food with a nourishing slant. Offering a balance between modern California comfort food and healthful options, the menu incorporates fibrous and Vitamin C enriched green chiles in traditional New Mexican dishes, such as green chile stew and nutritionally dense protein booster bowls.
Also on the menu are daily fresh-baked pies from Chile Pies Baking Co., including their famous green chile apple pie with a cheddar crust, walnut streusel topping and a slightly spicy chili glaze. The robust beverage menu also focuses on wellness, offering fermented drinks and adaptogenic mushroom teas, plus a curated list of local wines and beers on tap. House of Better encourages diners to eat outdoors, see the wood-fired over and chili roaster in action, and make full use of its expansive covered patio and back lawn area.
Dinner service is Thursday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. with weekend brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The complete menu is available here.
The Same Time-Honored Treatments, With a Twist – The Spa
The Spa at Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs remains the main attraction of the resort, offering the same world-renowned, mineral-rich mud bath treatments and secret-formula mud mixture of organic, local Calistoga volcanic ash perfected by Doc Wilkinson almost 70 years ago. The reimagined spa experience, designed by TLEE Spas, draws upon natural finishes, terrazzo stone floors, cedar wood, and recycled porcelain tiles to create the ideal balance of relaxation and rejuvenation. The spa features four completely renovated massage rooms, a brand-new outdoor spa garden for al fresco treatments, four indoor mud baths, seven indoor and two outdoor mineral baths, cold deluge shower, and dedicated geothermal mineral pool filled with calming, varied temperature water sourced from Calistoga’s natural healing springs.
Dr. Wilkinson’s unique mineral waters have been evaluated by the Balneology Association of North America (BANA), the leading authority of therapeutic bathing and medicinal springs, and are classified as distinctive, neutralizing, balancing waters with the ability to strengthen skin, balance the peripheral nervous system, reset stressed nervous systems, hydrate, and detoxify. Treatment highlights include The Works, featuring Dr. Wilkinson’s famed mud bath treatment, facial mask, aromatic mineral whirlpool bath, steam room, blanket wrap, and 30-minute massage; the Body Brew, featuring mineral whirlpool bath treatment with fresh hops, dry ale yeast, malt, barley, and a local beer on the side; and a 30-minute sound therapy treatment designed to achieve a balance of relaxation and revitalization. A full treatment menu can be found here.
To learn more and to book a reservation, please visit www.drwilkinson.com.
About Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs
Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs is an iconic resort and spa destination located in the heart of the charming town of Calistoga, nestled in the Napa Valley. Founded in 1952 by pioneering wellness experts “Doc” and Edy Wilkinson, the resort has since become a globally-recognized wellness retreat, offering time-honored mud bath and spa treatments, healing mineral pool soaks, and the best of Calistoga right outside its doors. Following a complete, top-to-bottom renovation, the transformed resort honors its iconic past while looking toward the future with a new mid-century-inspired design, 50 completely refreshed guestrooms, a new restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, a reimagined spa, and the same proven mud bath treatments first shared with the world nearly 70 years ago.
About Chartres Lodging Group
The Chartres Lodging Group, LLC, is an advisory and investment firm focused on the acquisition, asset management, renovation and development of lodging assets. Founded in 2002, the company has completed more than $3.6 billion of hotel investments across the United States, with additional investments in Japan, and has been responsible for a portfolio of more than 14,000 hotel rooms. The company is headquartered in San Francisco with additional offices in New York and Los Angeles.
About Sightline Hospitality
San Francisco-based Sightline Hospitality brings together people, places, and possibilities to redefine hotel management. Sightline is rooted in creating soulful stays that make an impression long after departure. Whether working on a global scale or with independent hotels, out of the box thinking and property management expertise allows Sightline to continue to shape experiential travel for decades to come.
About EDG Design
Headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area with offices in Dallas and Singapore, EDG has developed dynamic design solutions in the restaurant and hospitality industry for over 30 years. With expertise in branding, strategy and design, EDG presents authentic stories with the power to transform spaces while creating value for owners and operators. EDG is currently engaged with independent hotels, resorts, and destination restaurants around the world.
About SB Architects
Celebrating its 60th Anniversary in 2020, SB Architects has established an international reputation for design solutions shaped by the subtleties of the site. The firm has extended its leadership in hospitality, residential and mixed-use in 30 countries and across four continents, with a collaborative culture and dynamic team of passionate individuals driving the firm’s legacy and ongoing evolution. Since its beginnings in custom residential in 1960, SB Architects has prioritized staying true to the site and creating a strong sense of place that resonates with visitors, guests, and residents on an emotional level. As it continues strategic expansion and its portfolio reflects even greater geographic diversity, the firm leverages its entrepreneurial spirit and architectural craft to thoughtfully connect people to each other and to iconic experiences of a signature place. For more information about SB Architects and the world-wide reputation for excellence it has built in the planning and design of projects across the globe, visit www.sb-architects.com.