Imagine being pampered by body oils, massage, aromatherapy, waterfalls and gentle music.
At a resort in the heart of California wine country.
Actually, below the resort.
OK, it's in a cave.
That's Spa Terra, a new spa in an estate wine cave at The Meritage Resort in Napa, scheduled to open April 15. Developers are calling it the world's first such facility.
"We were originally skeptical of the idea of a spa in a cave," said Dan Fitzgerald, a sales and marketing official with parent company Pacific Hospitality Group. "After all, wine country visitors are well aware that caves are generally cool and often damp. Great for aging wine, but not an obvious choice for a massage."
Some of the same properties that make many caves good for aging wine worked in favor of the project.
"I never thought about it until this project came to our attention, but the cave environment is actually incredibly well-suited to spa design and construction for a number of reasons," said David Bury, whose firm specializes in spa design.
"It maintains a constant temperature, which makes it very energy efficient in terms of heating and cooling, it's quiet, and structurally it's incredibly stable. And, perhaps most exciting for us as architects, the client needed us to focus all of our energy on interior design elements -- since the exterior of this project was handled by Mother Nature."
The 9,000 square foot, $7.5 million project features such elements as hand-forged wrought-iron fixtures, water features and extensive custom tile work, including Mediterranean-inspired mosaics, plus an eart-tone color palette.
It includes 10 private treatment rooms, including two designed for couples; separate mens/womens steam saunas and soaking pools with water walls, and a spa menu and wine service.
The Meritage Resort, a Tuscan-inspired facility that opened last July, is located on an eight-acre private vineyard in the Carneros wine region, adjacent Vino Bello Resort.
ON THE WEB
• Napa Valley Wineries
• Napa Valley.com
• Napa Valley Wine Train
• Map of the region's wineries
• Napa Valley Museum
• COPIA: The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts
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