There’s no shortage of luxury properties in Northern California wine country. From vineyard views to onsite Michelin star restaurants, hotels pull out all the stops to woo guests. But for Napa Valley newcomer, The Francis House, it’s not just about top notch amenities. The small boutique inn stands out among the crowd because it has history on its side.
Built in 1886 as a family home for a wealthy merchant, The Francis House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And though its golden Tufa stone walls can be seen as you make you drive through Calistoga on Foothill Boulevard, its future wasn’t always so bright. After serving as a hospital from 1919 to 1964, the property fell into disrepair, and was facing possible demolition when Dina and Richard Dwyer set their sights on turning into a luxury Napa Valley getaway.
After three years of meticulous renovations, The Francis House added a new chapter to its intriguing story as a luxury five-room inn. Sleeping in a restored historic home has all the makings for a memorable experience; it doesn’t take long to settle in and get comfortable. Spending the night at The Francis House isn’t like checking into a hotel, it’s more like spending the night at a friend’s house – a friend with a very nice house.
The ground floor of the property features a small living room with fire place, and modern furnishings look right at home in front of the restored stone walls. Guest rooms are located on the second and third floors. Although no two rooms are identical, they all have a similar old-meets-new feel, with a touch of French elegance thrown in for beautiful measure. Antique desks, smart televisions, and hardwood floors, surround comfy beds made with fine white linens. Bathrooms boast heated floors, Carrara marble, and conversation inducing heated Toto toilets.
For a small property, The Francis House offers an impressive number of amenities. The immaculately manicured grounds include two fountains, and a heated pool with nap inspiring loungers. In addition to an infrared sauna and salt room, there’s a stone fire pit.
There’s no restaurant, but a plated, two-course breakfast is included with every stay. The Dwyers are happy to suggest their favorite wine country restaurants and assist with reservations. The couple lives at The Francis House, so they know the neighborhood well, and always seem to be nearby when help is needed.
Room rates range from $495 to $695. Wi-Fi and parking are complimentary. You can book your stay on Priceline or other booking sites.
Review and photos by San Francisco Bay Area travel writer and television correspondent Dana Rebmann. Her stay was hosted by The Francis House, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own.