Whether drawn by the hot springs and the healing mud or by the wineries, folks have flocked to Calistoga, a town in California’s Napa Valley, for more than a century. Which has given rise to an array of options for soaking and sleeping. They now include the Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa at the top of the vineyard-lined Silverado Trail.
Born in the 1940’s as the Sunburst Calistoga, a roadside collection of 50 cottages and a bathhouse, the property has experienced a radical makeover by AvroKO. The design takes its cues from the great American road trip, as viewed through the lens of filmmaker Wes Anderson, whose color-drenched, fictionalized depictions of the past feel at once familiar and magical. “There’s a nostalgia for the carefree, simpler days of the ’50’s, ’60’s, and ’70’s,” AvroKO design director Nicole Campion says, citing the “analog vibe.”
The lobby is imagined as a mash-up of a Brady Bunch–era living area, with green velvet on the sofas and a communal table for sipping coffee. Behind the reception desk is the first appearance of the hotel’s signature graphic, a swooshing striped pattern suggestive of the trucks going past on the freeway. Stripes are a running motif for tilework, rugs, pool umbrellas, and even the Hula-Hoops that hang in the guest rooms.
Channeling the inside of a camper van, each guest room’s booth-style banquette is backed by a mural of mountains, as if framed by the vehicle’s rear window. That quirky approach continues with the old-fashioned framed needlepoints admonishing: “No selfies in the bathroom.” In the spa, tongue-in-cheek signage proclaims “Restorative Libations” and “Snake Oil Cures,” while hand-painted pictograms depict services: mud bake, salt soak, steam, massage.
As one lounges in the sun, slathered in mud, the Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa feels like the Platonic ideal of a roadside motel—congenial, comfortable, subtly transformative. Every good road trip should leave you just a little bit changed.
Project Team: Signum Architecture: Architect of Record. Brand Bureau: Graphics Consultant. Julie Coyle Art Associates: Art Consultant. Garden Route Company: Landscaping Consultant. Structural Design Group: Structural Engineer. Litzenberger Engineering: Mechanical, Plumbing Engineer. NAI Consulting Engineers: Electrical Engineer. Richard Williams Upholstery: Upholstery Workshop. RHA Builders: General Contractor.
> See more from the October 2017 issue of Interior Design