|Image by Solage|
There are a few resorts in the world that I can't recommend enough and Solage deserves a top spot on the list. Why? Let me count the ways...
1. THE POOL
Solage is a wellness resort first and foremost and the Olympic sized swimming pool reflects this. Lined with comfy loungers, with a jacuzzi and kiddy pool to boot, the Solage pool is the perfect place to chill out in the searing California sunshine. Then cool off like an athlete, if you fancy it.
The cherry on top is the poolside bar – great service, generous cocktails and light lunches mean you can stay all day, sipping and dipping to your hearts content.
2. THE STUDIO
Sometimes the holiday ritual of sleep, eat, repeat can get a bit boring. Thankfully, Solage is also a health club with a high-tech gym and picturesque studio for pilates, yoga and TRX classes. Every day there is a yoga hour and a reformer pilates class to keep you in tip-top shape on your break.
The bright, spacious studio is particularly charming, with glass doors opening out on to the spa grounds. I'd recommend attending at least one yoga session on your stay – the instructors are brilliant and the surroundings are stunning. One, two, three: Ommm.
|Image from Solage|
3. THE RESTAURANT
There's more to American food than french fries and corn chowder. On the West Coast, the overarching focus is on seasonal produce and clever combinations. Boasting one Michelin star and a cult following of foodies, Solbar is the ideal place to sample true Californian cuisine.
In the Napa Valley, Solbar is a rite of passage for creative chefs. Evangeline's Gustavo Rios and Archetype's Ryder Zetts both cut their teeth at the restaurant, and current executive chef Brandon Sharp has held a Michelin star for five years.
The food is extremely well executed, but what really sets it apart is the menu concept. The options are split down the middle: on the left you will find light, healthy cuisine in green, and on the right there are a few heartier options in red. In the green corner we have Hawaiian hamachi with ponzu gelee; rainbow carrot salad with coffee-date sauce and Tuscan black kale agnologgi with crispy sprout leaves. And in the red we have black truffled poached egg with crispy confit duck; sardines from Monterey Bay and pork tenderloin with huckleberry jus.
Can't decide? Go naughty and nice with the five-course tasting menu with matching wines.
4. THE SPA
For stressed-out city sorts, no summer holiday is complete without a spa trip.
Voted Conde Nast Traveller's top US spa, the eco-friendly Solage Spa is not to be missed. The signature treatment is The Mudslide Experience, a three-part series consisting of "The Mud", "The Water" and "The Rest". You begin by creating a bespoke mineral mud mask at the Spa bar, which you then apply to your body in a private heated mud lounge, before soaking in a geo-thermal mineral bath and relaxing in the rest zone.
Alongside myriad indulgent treatments, the spa also has a relaxing thermal pool which all guests are free to use and virtuous ice tea on-tap to keep you hydrated.
5. THE SURROUNDINGS
Surrounded by world-famous vineyards and hike-worthy hills, Solage is truly breathtaking. In order to make the most of the area, be sure to explore by bike. Cycling into Calistoga for dinner is a lovely way to spend an evening, but it's also worth cycling to a couple of surrounding wineries.
We took a trip to Brian Arden Wines, a boutique winery on the Silverado Trail run by Brian and his wife Amanda. The tastings are informative but informal, priced at $20 for four small reds with a little sparkling rosé to kick things off.
The sparkling Kay Rosé was my personal favourite – light, fresh and oh-so drinkable, it's named after Brian's late mother and a percentage of proceeds go to cancer research. If only there was a UK stockist.
For more information on Solage California visit www.solagecalistoga.com. As ever, please do let me know your thoughts below or tweet me @SWfashion_.