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Walnut Creek Magazine

Calistoga’s Brannan Cottage Inn Proves that Great Things Come in Small Packages

Mar 08, 2020 02:37PM ● By Fran Miller

“Some places have a soul, an indefinable quality you can feel,” says Eden Umble, the amiable hospitality and marketing director for Calistoga’s quaint Brannan Cottage Inn. “This is such a place.”

That feeling is sparked upon initial viewing of the Wild West-meets-Victorian beauty of the Inn, serenely situated on a quiet street in picturesque Calistoga. The bronze historic landmark plaque out front and a towering palm signal that this is someplace special. Gray and white contrasts with zingy yellow gingerbread flourishes. A bucolic patio garden welcomes those seeking a bit of morning sunshine; in the afternoon, the al fresco space fills with those willing to share their wine tasting haul with other guests. A fleet of complimentary cruiser bikes stands at the ready, and Sam’s General Store supplies tasty offerings to keep wine country explorers nourished and satiated.
Eden Umble, hospitality and marketing director, Brannan Cottage Inn


More than an irresistible place to stay within Napa Valley, Brannan Cottage Inn is living history. In 1862, Calistoga’s visionary founder Sam Brannan opened this hot springs destination as a getaway spot for well-to-do San Franciscans seeking old world relaxation. Originally 25 cottages existed; today, Brannan Cottage Inn is just one of three that survive, and the only one on its original site. Through the years, it’s been a private home, a rooming house with a ramshackle garden, and a National Register of Historic Places landmark. Since 1986 it has served as an inn. Its newest owner is Carl Dene, a hospitality industry entrepreneur, father of two boys, and passionate coffee aficionado who with his family owns and operates four Long Beach Italian restaurants. Trained as a graphic designer and head of a thriving creative agency, Dene, with the help of Umble, has infused the property with style, substance, genuine warmth...and great coffee. 

The six room boutique hotel is surrounded by an embarrassment of Calistoga riches and is steps from downtown’s shopping, dining and spas. Known and loved for its cozy comforts, the Inn boasts award-winning hospitality and an appealing mix of history and modern swag. “We’re proud that the property is known for insider hospitality with a quirky personal touch,” says Umble, who personally curates itineraries suited to guests’ taste. “Whether it's your first trip to Napa Valley or you're a frequent visitor, we can help with personalized recommendations for wine tasting, dining, active hiking, biking adventures, tours, seasonal events, and hot springs spa relaxation - the natural resource that put Calistoga on the world wellness map centuries ago.”


And, through the Inn’s exclusive partnership with a local five-star luxury spa, guests can soak in hot springs mineral pools, take a yoga class, and use the gym and bathhouse for a day use fee (spa treatment not required). 

Inn guests enjoy complimentary breakfast supplied by the on-property Sam’s General Store, a convivial hot spot also enjoyed by locals and guests of other nearby hotels who favor the full service coffee & espresso bar featuring Vittoria coffee, Bouchon Bakery pastries, savory offerings such as quiche, frittata, New York bagels and avocado toast. Soon-to-be-available sandwiches will be perfect for pre-order picnic lunches, and beer and wine are also soon to flow. 

The Inn has long been a favorite for those seeking a cozy, wine country stay, and repeat visitors are common. Says Umble, “If we’ve done our job at Brannan Cottage Inn, your first stay with us is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

 Photos: Fran Miller, and Brannan Cottage Inn

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