meet me by the pool!
a lazy luxury birthday vacation for two in napa valley: indian springs calistoga resort and spa, california • essellesse, a san francisco lifestyle blog
{ image heavy post }

We recently came back from my birthday vacation and WOW- it was NEXT LEVEL.

Year after year, we plan something special for my birthday and it’s become an annual event {which I’m totally ok with – ha!}

Erik’s birthday falls between Thanksgiving & Christmas so it’s generally a crazy time and since mine always falls around Memorial Day, it’s just easier to do something big for us… though we did make an exception in 2015 for his 30th and went HUGE: Australia & Fiji {I recently found a ton of photos from this trip, maybe I’ll do a tbt post!}!

Ok enough about Erik’s birthday, let’s talk mine!

When Erik asked me what I wanted this year, I had a very specific list: I wanted warm, palm trees, a POOL {VERY IMPORTANT}, domestic – nothing international, & preferably somewhere in California. I really didn’t want to to take a plane.

I could write a love letter to California – it’s my favourite state and one thing I want to explore more {& bring to essellesse!} is California – & especially Northern California while we still live here.

SO- we got to thinking & searching. After visiting my best friend in Denver & chatting with her, one thing was on my mind: Hot Springs.

I knew Napa had them but we haven’t been so basically, I googled “hot springs Napa” & THAT is where I found the Indian Springs Calistoga.

The second I saw it, I knew that’s what I wanted – I asked Erik if he was in and he was totally down and so we booked it!

For specifics: we booked the Palm View: King Fireplace Room”. I chose this because we spend a LOT of time on the balconies or terraces of wherever we are staying {& at home too} and these were the only rooms that had a private balcony. Highly, highly recc for extra privacy. As a bonus, all of these are on the top {second} floor! Take a peek here, & here

We arrived on Monday, May 27 – literally Memorial Day!

On the drive up, we stopped by William Hill & Saintsbury for a wine tasting and headed north to Calistoga. The weather was beautiful & I actually have a convertible! So we did the whole drive with the top down blasting my lazy luxury birthday playlist. It really helped set the mood!

We checked in around 5pm in the bright golden hour! We immediately went to their beautiful pool.

Basically, their pool is PHENOMENAL & the star of the show. It’s a geyser-fed, Olympic sized, mineral pool. It has a total retro feel, a small café on site, as well as beer, wine, & premade cocktails.

We were celebrating so I got some sparkling rosé & hit the pool until dinner.

the mineral pool at indian springs calistoga, napa valley • essellesse, a san francisco based lazy luxury lifestyle  blog

The majority of what we did was hit the pool but the hours seriously go BY while you’re just floating away with literally no care in the world.

One thing I loved about the Indian Springs Calistoga is that the restaurant on-site, Sam’s Social Club, is a bit of a walk {no more than 5 minutes} so it really had that “resort” vibe that reminded me of Cabo or Fiji.

The food there was NEXT LEVEL: we shared the piri-piri chicken, ham hock & bacon mac and cheese, & churros. Everything was out of this world good. I don’t have a lot of photos of the food since we tried to do as much of it offline!

the outdoor seating at sam's social club at the Indian Springs Calistoga, napa california the mineral pool at indian springs calistoga, napa valley • essellesse, a san francisco based lazy luxury lifestyle  blog

The next day was my birthday!! I celebrated being 33 and caught up on some texts from my close friends. We did a birthday brunch with totally necessary bloody mary’s & I did the egg in a hole: it was a parmesean crusted sourdpugh with an egg cooked inside!! Also, the breakfast potatoes here were some of the best we ever had… currently working on that recipe to bring here bc DAMNNB.

Another huge focus of the resort is the spa & their natural baths. We heard SO MUCH about the mud baths so we decided to do it! I’ll do a post on the experience as a whole to keep this from being too long but one of my favourite parts was the Buddha pond! If you do any spa treatments, you get access to it and it’s worth the treatments for that!

I finished my treatment and unbeknownst to me, Erik’s was 45 minutes later, so I had time in the Buddha pond for about a good 30 minutes by myself. It was all sans phone, in a robe, in the sun with the geyser in the background watching the dragonflies. When Erik came out, we sat together and took it all in for another 30 minutes or so.

If you go, I can’t recc it enough!

Erik Schuchard at Indian Springs Calistoga, Napa, California the mineral pool at indian springs calistoga, napa valley • essellesse, a san francisco based lazy luxury lifestyle  blog

After the treatments, we hit the pool {again} and spent sunset on the terrace. Then went to a local Mexican joint called Pacifico – IT WAS SO GOOD!!! We had empanadas, steak fajitas, margaritas and lotssss of chips & salsa!

We originally planned to do a late night swim to celebrate my birthday {the pool is open until midnight for all guests!} but I was so tired that we called it a night at like 9p.

The next day was our last full day so we spent the day in its entirety at the resort. We shared breakfast {scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, english muffins & bloody mary’s} & went to… you guessed it the pool.

the palm view king fireplace room at indian springs calistoga, napa california the mineral pool at indian springs calistoga, napa valley • essellesse, a san francisco based lazy luxury lifestyle  blog
Our room!

We had a full on pool & terrace day. Basically, our terrace days mean we open a bottle of wine, put on music, sit and talk. I really, really treasure those moments and it’s something we’ve done since 2014. After, we hit the pool for sunset where the lighting was out of this world.

In fact, Calistoga as a whole had the most ON POINT lighting. I want it in a filter. It was so hard to take a bad photo there because the lighting was just perfect.

We floated in the pool until dark & did our final dinner there: wedge salad, burgers, & churros to go!

We weren’t ready to call it quits yet & unfortunately there was no availability the next day so we got on hotwire and found another hotel in Napa {stay tuned for that recap!} but you can see a peek here on instagram!

If you are planning a Napa vacation, I can’t reccomend Indian Springs Calistoga enough. Not only is it BEYOND stunning – there is just so much to do, especially for two {my fav number ever!! I know I said it here but I really love & treasure being a family of just us two}

From the hot springs, to local wineries, to bike riding {anyone catch Erik on his on instagram? lol}, to local restaurants, to even on the resort: you can play croquet, bocce, chess / checkers, shuffleboard {my new obsession} and so much more. They have hammocks, walking paths, & picnic areas. It was really a perfect place to vacation for two.

adult pool at indian springs calistoga, napa, california the mineral pool at indian springs calistoga, napa valley • essellesse, a san francisco based lazy luxury lifestyle  blog
The Adult’s Pool!

They also have an adults only pool which is about 10 degrees cooler than the other, but there really weren’t that many children there while we were there. I’ll be honest here but when we look for vacations, we try to look for a place that isn’t tooooo child friendly. It’s just not our vibe at all. {I do imagine they get a lot over holidays though just as a heads up}

The pool itself is very quiet – there’s no music or anything – and everyone is pretty respectful to not disturb others. It’s fun to just float along with the geyser in the background.

mirror selfie at the mineral pool at Indian Springs Resort & Spa in Calistoga, California in Napa Valley • lifestyle blogger, shannon silver, based in san francisco • lazy luxury
A few quick notes on Indian Springs Calistoga:

there is no room service & Sam’s Social Club closes around 9/9:30p. you can get carry out and bring it to your room too {which we did with the churros for a birthday dessert!}

the only bar {besides the pool bar} is at Sam’s Social Club which closes pretty early. If you’re looking to get your drink on, there were a ton of fun places in Calistoga like Susie’s Bar {dive bar!!! love a good dive bar}, Hydro Bar and Grill, & Napa Valley Brewing Co.

The pool bar is the only place allowed at the pool for drinks & snacks. No outside drinks or food are allowed. Here are some more FAQ’s about the pool.

the mud baths here are not co-ed {these at Golden Haven are the only co-ed ones} so Erik & I had to seperate. If you are solo, you’ll probably be paired with another since it’s two baths parallel to each other, including the mud, water, and steam, so a heads up that you will be completely naked in front of a stranger {or a friend if you go in a group}. You can wear a swimsuit but I don’t recommend it.

the pool is open to hotel guests until midnight! The pool isn’t open to public: just for hotel guests + they have limited spa passes available. If you aren’t staying at the resort {you should though!!}, & get a 50 min+ spa service, see if you can get a pool pass too! Spa guests have access until 6:00p.

The pool temperature ranges from between 92 – 102 and is VERY pleasant!

Every morning, there is fresh coffee outside the lobby & it was VERY good. We thought about getting out in Calistoga {Calistoga Roastery & Yo El Rey are supposed to be fantastic} for some but the coffee there was sooo good & we kind of like just lazing around the resort!

lazy luxury

I seriously cannot reccomend Indian Springs Calistoga enough!! It’s only a 90 minute drive north from San Francisco and it felt like we were WORLDS away from home.

In fact, I felt jetlagged when we got back but I think it was from all of the sun!

My birthday vacation was truly one for the books & extra special. In fact, I hope to go back again this summer! If you are thinking of going & have any questions, feel free to ask.

I’ll share the second hotel in a separate post {we loved it too!!} & make a list of some wineries to visit but we stopped by {& became members lol} at Tank Garage Winery {LOVE!!!} and T-Vine.

Do you have any secret gems near where you live? Would love to know about them – it’s so fun to have a true vacation so close to home!


lazy luxury

~* all my birthday swimsuits here *~

~* my lazy luxury birthday playlist was inspired by this hotel completely! I made this playlist to get the mood I wanted to capture and it was PERFECT. We had it on constantly in our room and on our terrace *~

Leave a Comment


  1. 2.6.20
    Radostina Blagoeva said:

    Glad you had a birthday vacay full of relaxation. Sounds perfect!

  2. 2.6.20
    Rach said:

    What an incredible place to celebrate your birthday! Lazy and luxury sounds amazing to me!

  3. 2.6.20

    I’ve never been there, but it looks so relaxing! Adding it to my list 🙂

  4. 2.6.20
    Maria said:

    I love when people post a bunch of pictures of their hotel, that way I can decide if I ever want to visit as well. This place looks so relaxing, I want to go so bad. So glad you had a great bday celebration 🙂

    • 2.6.20

      I’m the same way!! In fact, I was kicking myself on the drive back that we didn’t take any photos of the room but guess we were too busy enjoying it!! Can’t recc it enough if you find yourself in Napa! x

  5. 2.6.20

    This place looks relaxing, beautiful photos.

  6. 2.6.20

    I am in love with your pictures!!! Hope you had a great birthday vacay! <3