If you don’t already know, I’m a bargain shopper. When it comes to travel, I’m the same way- searching for the best deal for the most value. So when I share my recent spa trip with you, you might be surprised at how cheap a relaxing vacation in wine country can really be- without downgrading your amenities. Cute, upgraded hotel- check! Posh spa treatments- check! Delicious dining- check! And…it doesn’t even include pretentious wine-tasting on the agenda…which could rack up the dough. Here, my friends, is how to be ballin’ on a budget. Follow this formula and in no time, not only will your body have a detox- so will your wallet. But if you want to stay where I stayed and do what I did, act quick because deals are slipping away…..
I don’t want to be misleading, but I got my hotel for free from a contest- but I can show you how to get it for cheap…but you must act fast before the deal ends….
For this spa vacation, the hotel deal actually drove me to choosing Calistoga for my getaway. I’m a member of Gilt City, and when I saw a deal for stays at the Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa, I was intrigued to give it a try. The photos looked super cute, the property was updated with a retro-modern vibe (totally me!), and on top of that, they have so many amenities that I couldn’t say no to:
- Geothermal mineral pools- 3 of them!
- Free bike rentals!
- Cute spa on property!
- Pool games and activities!
- Drip coffee in room!
- Cozy sweatshirt robes with hoods!
- Complementary drinks and snacks in room!
- Walking distance to restaurants!
So here’s what you can do to get it for a bargain price (and get an extra $25 off):
- Sign up for Gilt City here.
- Find the deal for Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa. Select your travel package:
- One weekday (Sunday-Thursday) night for $155 (originally $229)
- One weekend (Friday-Saturday) night for $230 (originally $309)
- 2 weekday nights for $299 (originally $478-I chose this and stayed Sunday-Tuesday since this is the best value)
- Use promo code GIVE25 and take $25 off your order on top of that!
I love small boutique hotels and this is one that is memorable to me. From the cool lobby, to the quirky décor in the room (hello corkboard wall!), this spot tickled my fancy.
The pool area had plenty of beds, hammocks, and cabana-style seating areas, and the pools themselves were a blessing. The larger, deeper pool is kept around 82-88 degrees, which is still refreshing yet not too warm/cold upon entrance. The shallow, wading pool is kept around 90-96 degrees, and it may sound hot, but it’s like a warm bath. So nice to chill in. Then the covered pool is the whirlpool hot tub. I’m not sure of the degrees but it’s definitely a hot tub!
And remember, the pools are actually mineral pools with water from the hot springs below the property. These waters can help you relax (yes, long naps), revitalize the skin, refresh your oxygen levels, and detox your system. Wayyyy better than a normal pool!
I loved the pool so much that we extended the check out, then extended it again so we could lounge by the pool all day. There is an outdoor shower and restrooms to change, so after putting the bags in the car, we enjoyed the pool for as long as we could until we went to grab the stuff from the car and change.
You’re probably wondering how I was able to get my hotel for free….well, let’s just say I’m pretty lucky. A few months ago, I entered an Instagram contest for Gilt City….and won a credit! But I had such a great stay that I’m actually going to purchase another deal so I can come back and stay here again!
Ok, so I also used my Gilt City credit here too, but you can also get spa treatments for cheap too:
You can’t go to Calistoga and not get a mud treatment…it’s what they’re famous for. Well, if you can’t fathom sitting in a tub of gooey mud, then I have a better solution that is equally as healing and more fun (and clean) in my opinion.
By the name of it, you can tell there is a spa on the property at the Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa, but you can’t tell how cute it really is! The name is even cute: Moonacre Spa. And since Calistoga is only 1.5 hour drive from the Bay Area, you don’t even need to stay in the hotel to have access to the spa and the pool all day…make a day drip out of it and you’ll save even more money on lodging!
You can score a mud treatment for $ by following the steps below:
2) Find the deal for Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa. Select your package:
- One Body cure treatment for $45 (originally $75): you can choose Perfectly Muddled or Splish Splash
- 50 minute Massage Knead for $90 (originally $130)
- Use promo code GIVE25 and take $25 off your order on top of that (if it’s your first order and over $75)!
- Call Moonacre Spa and book your appointment. Make sure to leave time to enjoy the facilities, like sitting in the garden, chillin’ in the steam room, and relaxing in the healing waters of the geothermal mineral pools.
I opted with the Perfectly Muddled mud treatment as I knew I needed some mud in my life, even though the Splish Splash bath tub room looked super cute!
We got to our appointment, checked in, and went to the locker room to change out of the hotel robe and into the spa robe. I was already wearing my suit so this was a quick process.
We went to this even cuter waiting room, drank some crystal water, and then our attendant met us and brought us outside.
This garden is SOOO beautiful! I love the décor and the landscaping., and the outdoor shower area is so cute. She gave us loofahs and told us to start to dry brush ourselves, starting from the legs and going towards the heart.
After, we showered off the dead skin cells and she ushered us to the lounge area set up with towels and our mud concoctions.
The white mud was for the face and sensitive areas, while the darker mud was for everywhere else. She gave us paint brushes and we went to town. We first did our front side: I enjoyed using the paint brush on my face and body, while my man was digging in with his hands.
I used my phone’s camera as a mirror so I can see what I’m doing (and not look too crazy)….and also to take a few selfies.
We then sat out to dry and then rinsed off, so we can then do each other’s backside. I hooked my man up with my own hands and finally got down and dirty, and he did the same. We laid on our stomachs and dried out again, and then hit the shower with a cold rinse to close the pores.
We relaxed in the garden for a bit before entering the steam room. This was a great way to relax even more and sweat out those toxins. I absolutely loved my mud treatment and will definitely be going back when I stay again.
Hit the market, eat during happy hour, and when you splurge, do it smart!
Calistoga has some yummy places to eat but when you’re trying to detox but also eat everything in sight then you have to find some balance, and for me, it comes down to my wallet. Here are some tips for eating in Calistoga that will still tickle your tummy, provide some pretty Insta-worthy shots, and give you room to breathe.
Stock up at Cal-Mart
On Lincoln Ave, right down the street from Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa and in the action of the town, you will find Cal-Mart. Here is where you can get a good selection of wine and cheese, the key ingredients for a bad and bougie extravaganza.
Stock up your cart with:
- At least 2 bottles of wine
- At least 2 varieties of cheese (I did a truffle gouda and a peppercorn goat cheese)
- At least 2 varieties of crackers (I chose a hearty whole wheat and a thin rosemary crisp)
- At least 1 fruit (Cherries for me!)
- At least 1 nut variety (yummm, almonds!)
- At least 1 baguette (They have Bouchon in store!)
- Quince or fig spread (yes, we fancy!)
Yes, I know this could get expensive, but when you think about it, the savings are worth it. You’ll have a fancy poolside snack that will hold you over from brunch until dinner. You’ll have snacks in your hotel room. You’ll have a yummy spread for a wine tasting in the vineyards (which I totally didn’t do but I can just picture it….) You get my drift.
TIP: Bring your own cutting board, sharp knife, cheese knives, and wine glasses so you can enjoy your cheese and charcuterie plate without having to shell out extra dough- or use tacky plastic.
Happy Hour at Sam’s Social Club
If you like apps, pizza, and beer, then from 2:30-5:30 Sam’s Social Club has happy hour that you won’t want to miss. Located on the Indian Springs property, this restaurant is only a short bike ride from Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa.
Sit on the pretty (dog-friendly) patio and enjoy the sounds of a fountain and the smells of fresh basil growing. Now, here comes the business: order a thin crust pizza and Sam’s in-house beer for only $15! The pizza is big enough to share, so I suggest also getting a snack and beer for another great deal: $10!
We first ordered the house-made ricotta crostini with pepper jam, and I thought I’d be tired of cheese and bread but OH DAMN! This is so dreamy! The ricotta was so fluffy and the chili jam really kicked it up a notch. The crostini was perfectly crisped and each bite I literally professed how much I loved the dish.
Next up was the Market pizza, with crème fraiche, mozzarella, fontina, pancetta, local apricots, with Calabrian chili oil and green garlic. The flavors all went so well together and I really wanted to try a pizza that I couldn’t get anywhere else. The crème fraiche was a creamy sauce for the pie and I loved their crust…..so much I had to order a Margherita pizza so I could take it home and enjoy it!
I could have easily stopped there but when I was looking at Yelp reviews of the place, I kept seeing photos of these churros. The server mentioned they were made with MUSHROOMS in the dough, but you can’t even tell as the candy-cap mushrooms give off a molasses flavor. I was totally down for this. Out came the churros and DAMN! Ultimate heaven. They came with a side of dulce de leche cream to dip into. So dreamy that I ALSO ordered some of this to take home. I shared some with my daughter, a churro-lover, and when I told her, a mushroom-hater, that there were mushrooms in the dough, she was at first mad at me, but then couldn’t hate because she love them too!
Grab a slider, or 2, at Johnny’s
Honestly, I slipped into Johnny’s because of a long nap after a relaxing day and Johnny’s is the only spots opened late in Calistoga (“late” in Calistoga means until 11pm). It’s in the Mont View Hotel and Spa, right next to Cal-Mart. I love how everything is just so close! Since it was late, I knew not too order too much. They have sliders for only $4 each, and honestly, one is enough! We ordered the fried chicken sliders served with a buttermilk slaw. The chicken was crisp and juicy and the buns were so soft. We liked it so much we ordered it again the next day for a bite at the pool after a spa bath.
I also tried the pork belly slider, which wasn’t good as it was probably the wrong cut of pork belly for me. To bring it all together, we tried the Mac n Cheese for $6. This stuff was CHEESY! I think there definitely was some gouda in the mix. If that wasn’t enough, we also got their “famous wings” with Frank’s Red Hot. They were cooked well but a little too saucy for me. I could have done without them, but that just meant more food to eat in the middle of the night…hehe.
No corkage at Rutherford Grill
With all the savings, we decided to just have a splurge outro at Rutherford Grill since it was about 25 minutes out and on the route home. What’s great about this place is there is no corkage fee for the first bottle. We brought the bottle from the car and enjoyed ourselves a glass with our late lunch.
I ordered myself the Enchilada and Tri Tip for $32 (could have easily just ordered the enchilada with no tri-tip and saved $12, but anyways…) and shared a side order of the kale salad.
The kale salad was so refreshing with chopped curly kale, cabbage, mint, green onions, and crushed peanuts served with a peanut vinaigrette. I really want to replicate this salad, it was soooo good. My enchilada was cheesy with butternut squash, and I like how it was topped with both red and green sauces….sometimes it’s hard for me to choose. The cucumber salad on the side was cool and hearty and a great pair with the enchilada. The tri-tip was good and juice, don’t get me wrong, but I’m a burnt edge lover and this cut was only a small piece. I could have easily gone vegetarian with this meal but I couldn’t help but tasting the pork ribs from my man’s plate. He ordered the BBQ Combo Plate ($31), complete with rotisserie chicken and BBQ pork ribs, but he also could have skipped the chicken and just went all ribs for the same price. The ribs were so tender and delicious…fell right off the bone! His sides were fries and cole slaw, which were prepared well and equally slammin.
All in all, I had a wonderful, relaxing weekend in wine country that didn’t involve too much wine. I think that helped with my detox even more. Now that I did the deal, I know what to do next time to cut costs even more to get the best deal. Cheers!