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Four Seasons resort in Calistoga finally opens, exceeds expectations

One of Calistoga’s most often asked questions can now be answered: After nearly a decade in the making, the 400 Silverado Trail resort, otherwise known as Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley, is finally open.

The hotel, restaurant, spa, and winery officially opened Nov. 1, and the property does not disappoint, even after years of anticipation and expectations.

On a foggy and rainy morning the first day of November, the views from just about everywhere within the resort maximized views of surrounding vineyards and Palisades Mountains, and were inspiring. The design layout is welcoming, and everything you might expect from a first-class Napa Valley destination.

The resort brings the natural world in, with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors at nearly every turn. The development of the project worked around several natural features including building around a huge rock in one of the spa's Jacuzzis, 86-year-old olive trees, and adding several unobtrusive and soothing water features.

Indeed, the various elements of the property flow together, so that walking from the lobby, to your room, to the winery, or one of the property’s other venues seems seamless.

In contrast, the view of the sprawling 27-acre resort from Silverado Trail has been somewhat of a mystery during the 11 years the project has been under construction. But once inside, the embracing ambiance and service is at once an intimate and first-class Napa Valley experience that matches the price of admission.

Rooms start at $1,200 a night.

What to expect

Valet parking brings you to a spacious, serene, circular courtyard. (The front desk can be a bit tricky to find if you self-park.) The front desk itself was carved out of a single eucalyptus tree, and white, halved actual ocean buoys, converted to lighting, hang from large chains to “remind us how small we are in comparison with the natural world,” my guide told me.

The property at large incorporates art from local artists, including Angwin’s Will Callnan, whose more subdued works are on display.

Service from the staff is everything one might expect of a Four Seasons-managed resort, where guests' needs are anticipated and attended to with friendly, professional attention.

The “hotel” is really 85 guest rooms and suites that are more like condominiums, with eight rooms per building. The property is also dotted with 22 private residences.

The architecture and décor throughout the resort is modern and minimalist, and attention to detail is impeccable, from the lighting to the Negroni cocktail waiting for guests in their rooms. The wood headboard in each room is worth a mention, as each one is uniquely hand-made. Rooms also have fireplaces. The style is described as Napa Valley farm chic. 

Grounds and event spaces

There are six different event spaces, including a conference room where sand-blasted grapevine stems, each in its own white, lighted cubicle, line the walls. The space could just as well serve as a bridal dressing room, my guide suggested.

The grand ballroom can hold 174 people. Doors slide open on all sides, again bringing the outdoors in. The flooring is oak, and there is also a hoist that can support up to 2,000 pounds. That’s in case guests request trapeze artists a la Cirque du Soleil.

There is also an event barn, opened with a heavy barn door, and inter-locking ceiling beams. The interior smells faintly of cedar.

The resort has events on the books in 2022. According to Calistoga City ordinance, the resort is required to stop events like outdoor concerts at 10 p.m.

Restaurant, pool, spa

The tiered pool area is centrally located within the resort, with an elevated Jacuzzi, lawn space, and cabanas that can be had for $650 per day. Those include a private space with charging cables and a mini-fridge. 

The spa is a multi-level building that includes treatment rooms, a sun and mudding bay, and a small, circular cooling area, with cool mist rising out from birch wood flooring. Guests will appreciate that in the full heat of summer. Again, much of the experience incorporates the outdoors and the natural surroundings.  

The property’s signature restaurant, TRUSS Restaurant + Bar, is led by Michelin-starred Executive Chef Erik Anderson.

The kitchen is separated from the seating by floor-to-ceiling glass, and two chef’s tables are located within the kitchen, for those looking to be part of the cooking process. The menu boasts a highly curated 250-label wine list. Reservations are required. Look for a review of TRUSS in next week’s The Weekly Calistogan.

There is also an outdoor demonstration kitchen with a wood-fired grill. Invite 18 of your friends for a cocktail demonstration, or other cooking classes tailored to your needs.

Campo, the restaurant at the pool area, serves lighter fare including ceviche, and tortillas made in-house.

Vineyard and winery

The resort has its own nearly 5-acre vineyard, winery, and tasting room. Calistoga’s Thomas Rivers-Brown is the winemaker, and although Elusa Winery is blended into the property with the same architecture and décor scheme, it remains a separate entity. Tastings are by appointment only.     

Delayed opening

Though managed and advertised as a Four Seasons property, the resort is called Calistoga 400 Silverado Trail, due to the city's no-chain ordinance. It has been in the works since first approved by the city in November 2012. A groundbreaking was expected in 2014, with an opening predicted for 2015.

The project broke ground in 2015, and it was then announced that Four Seasons had come on board to manage the resort. The resort was then predicted to open in 2018.

The property underwent changes in investors, contractors, and endured numerous other setbacks including labor issues, wildfires, and the pandemic.

Throughout the years, Calistogans and visitors waited, watched as construction appeared to inch along, and speculated.

“'When is the resort going to open?' is one of the most asked questions, second only to 'When is the Lighted Tractor Parade?'” said Bruce Kyse, executive director of the Calistoga Chamber of Commerce.

Despite not having an opening date, the resort continued to support the town throughout the building process by donating to local charities, including the Boys & Girls Club of Calistoga, and promises to continue to do so. The resort has also already paid millions of dollars in impact fees, and is anticipated to bring in TOT dollars.

"We are excited to welcome this addition to Calistoga, it will be another opportunity for visitors to have an experience in our world-renowned destination," said Calistoga Mayor Chris Canning. "This property will not only benefit visitors, but will provide great-paying and career enhancing jobs for residents, and a significant revenue enhancement for our city to improve services and infrastructure."

You can reach Cynthia Sweeney at 942-4035 or csweeney@weeklycalistogan.com.

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