History Meets Luxury at the Brannan Cottage in Napa Valley

In 1860, Calistoga town founder Samuel Brannan built the Hot Springs Resort, a spa resort getaway where California’s rich and famous could escape the booming city. More than 150 year later, the last remaining resort cottage still in its original location can be found at 109 Wappo Avenue. It’s been reincarnated and brought fully up to date as the Brannan Cottage, a six-room inn that offers a “modern twist on Victorian elegance” on the north end of the Napa Valley.

The cottage is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and its history has been carefully incorporated into its thoroughly modern design and amenities. Every room has been thoughtfully designed to provide exactly what guests need, and nothing that they don’t. Period antiques mix with modern reproductions. Old-world touches mingle with state-of-the-art technology. And the result is quirky elegance that nods to the past while offering the comfort of a luxury inn.


The Deluxe King room

The inn’s six rooms are divided between the main cottage (rooms 1-4) and the Brannan House (rooms 5-6), a building added to the property in the 1950s. My room, a more modern-style Deluxe King, was on the second floor of the Brannan House and had its own private entrance and private deck  (perfect for a late afternoon glass of wine in the sun) overlooking the small yard. Each room throughout the inn has its own color scheme; my room was decorated in soft yellows and golds, with a Simmons pillowtop King bed with duvet bedding with Frette linens and bathrobes. There was a gas fireplace, small table for storage and an Illy espresso machine, and a bathroom stocked with Malin + Goetz bath products and a mini-fridge.


Historic rooms

Each of the rooms also has a variation on the inn’s signature wallpaper. When the designer was looking for Victorian reproductions she found a geometric Art Deco pattern that “conveys a historic feeling with modern colors” and, luckily, came in the same number of colors as the inn has rooms.

The historic rooms in the main cottage come in King, Queen, or ADA varieties and open on to the outdoor communal patio and garden. The bathrooms in these rooms have pedestal sinks, ceramic tile, and marble inlays and – one of my favorite little touches – Victorian push-button light switches. In every room, additional thoughtful touches add to the comfort level: bedside power outlets (no hunting for outlets on the floor), USB charging outlets, and a headphone jack so you can sleep while your night-owl husband stays up late watching TV.


Little touches

Each room also has either a 48” or 55″ flat-screen TV that comes loaded with Netflix, Amazon video, DISH, and premium channels like HBO and Showtime. WiFi is complimentary throughout, and there’s free parking, pastry and coffee for breakfast, and a free shuttle that runs throughout Calistoga. The inn will also happily arrange wine tastings, dinner reservations, and tours, and recommend things to see and do around town.


The inn grounds

If you go: Room rates start at $299 per night. Check-in is at 3pm; check-out is 11am. For those who want more time there (and you will), late check-out can be arranged for $25, and early check-in at noon can be guaranteed for $15. The inn is a pet- and smoke-free property. Make your reservation directly on the Brannan Cottage Inn website or book with Travelocity.


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