As most of you know by now, I work two days a week at a commercial architecture and interior design firm, AP+I Design, Inc. Each year, it is my pleasure to plan the annual overnight (and very secret) holiday party. The owner of the firm, Carol Sandman, loves surprises and she likes to keep this event a secret up until the day of the event. Yep…the day of the event.
Early in the morning on the day of the party, all the employees gather for the formal announcement of the location. At noon, everyone scurries off to gather their belongings…and significant others…and make their way to the resort. This year the party was held at Solage Calistoga, an Auberge Resort.
Solage is located in the quaint town of Calistoga. Since its debut in 2007, Solage has garnered acclaim and numerous awards from many leading travel, dining, spa and lifestyle publications. They house a Michelin Star restaurant ~ SolBar, Travel and Leisure has named them on the 500 World’s Best List, Conde Nast has placed them on their Hot List, Best Spa List and the accolades go on and on.
The resort is comprised of individual cottages that include two bikes for getting around the resort or to go downtown. They operate on an eco-friendly philosophy incorporating an extensive recycling program, use of solar panels, non-toxic cleaning products, organic produce and much more ~ which makes a group of architects and designers very happy.
Of course, we were primarily here for the holiday party but a few of my coworkers were able to experience the incredible spa with its signature mud treatment, mineral water therapies and many other incredible offerings.
Solage did a great job of coordinating our event, from the reception hour through dinner and dancing. The room was decorated with simple, yet festive, trees with twinkling lights and natural branch wreaths. We had a roaring fire pit set up outside for those who wanted a little fresh air and to quietly mingle. As always, the party was a success and everyone had a great time. This is a great group of people and it’s really such a pleasure to work with people that I truly admire and enjoy.
The day after the party, everyone is on their own time. My husband and I were staying an additional night, so we decided to take advantage of the hotels complimentary Mercedes Benz rental program. The weather was absolutely gorgeous so we chose the convertible model and decided to drive over to the adorable town of Healdsburg. As we were leaving the resort that morning, we saw several people from our group riding into town on their bikes for breakfast.
We spent the day strolling through Healdsburg and I discovered some really adorable shops. My favorite was a store called Tallulah’s, just recently opened a few months ago. It is owned by two fun women, Kim and Denise, who decided to open a store that reflected all of their favorite things. The store is brightly colored with pinkalicious trees dangling beautiful ornaments, designer (Hermes, Chanel) scarves framed for hanging, fun modern furniture, pillows and much more.
My other favorite store was a floral and home store called Uniquely Chic. My sister would think she had died and gone to heaven in this store. The store has a French motif, with all items in neutral colors, shiny silver accessories and incorporating the natural greenery of the florals they sell.
For lunch we came across a bakery, slash coffee house, slash deli that had the most incredible food. We sat outside on the front patio and listened to the singer/guitar player.
The following day after checking out of the hotel, we took our time driving home, hitting all the cute little towns along the way. It was a must that we stop in Yountville and go to my husband’s favorite bakery, the Bouchon Bakery, where there is always a line out the door but well worth the wait.
We ended the day in Half Moon Bay at the Moss Landing Distillery contemplating what an incredible weekend we had. Now I have my eyes set on our next trip to Bacara in Santa Barbara.
Check out the photo gallery for more pictures of the party and the adorable towns we drove though.