Wine Country Personality: Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort

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wilkenhsonsign-5504-8x6.jpgBorn and raised in Calistoga, where ancient volcanic activity left the region rich with hot mineral springs, volcanic ash, and mud resulting from the mixture of the two, Mark Wilkinson and Carolynne Wilkinson Clair co-own and operate Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort.

They inherited their love of the business from their father, the famed Dr. John Wilkinson, a founder, pioneer, and innovator who taught the world about the healing properties of Calistoga mineral water and mud.  Founded in 1952, Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort put Calistoga mud baths on the international map and remains an industry flagship to this day.
Grandparents on their father's side, John and Julia Wilkinson, were farmers. While growing crops in California's Central Valley, the Wilkinsons filled their home with music and cultural elements from their European heritage and supported their son's passion for pursuing innovative methods of alternative holistic health care. Prior to coming to Calistoga, John in fact became a chiropractor. Carolynne describes her father as the ultimate gentleman "Father never swore, but mother's language and mannerisms could be spicy," and admits that she has an affinity for the exuberant temperament inherited from her mother's side instead. Mother, Edy, ran their household with astute attention to quality and detail. Artistic, well read and self educated, Edy left formal schooling at the age of 12 to work alongside her mother, Carolina Risso. Carolina divorced her husband when divorce was virtually unheard of and ran a restaurant to support her family becoming widely known as one of the best Italian cooks in Northern California. "When it comes to our family we can't help but smile at the term 'women's lib'," says Mark.  

Mark and Carolyn Wilkinson.jpgSince inheriting Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort, Mark runs the hospitality side of the family business, while Carolynne is in charge of business practicalities, operations, and accounting.  "Carolynne runs an exceptionally tight ship and keeps everything smooth with a joke and a good laugh.  It's in her genes." "I am the farmer's daughter," Carolynne jokes, making light of the fact that she is a perfectionist and relentless cruncher of numbers like her mother.

As for Mark, he's the quintessential man about town and is definitely no stick-in-the-mu! A dedicated gourmet he dines out nearly every evening, cajoling with winemakers, local personalities, and visitors who've been drawn to the mystique of healing mud in this year round playground where hot mineral water bubbles effervescently below the earth. An accomplished classical pianist, he often plays for friends after dinner. He avidly collects rare books and Napa Valley memorabilia, including the largest stash of historic Napa Valley post cards known to exist.  

Mud Bath.jpgTogether, Mark and Carolynne have consistently improved on and upgraded Dr. Wilkinson's by adding guest rooms and contemporary amenities to this mid-century modern resort,  giving a "revitalizing facial," of its own you might say!  Yet, despite improvements, they believe it's the Dr. Wilkinson's hot springs treatments that are the core reason people come back again and again. "Our mud baths have been described as a floating experience where one's sense of time and tension quickly evaporate," Mark explains. "Our formula is lighter than some others. Rather than oozing into mud, our guests are slowly immersed into our supportive, nurturing mixture, which wraps them like a cloud and is not at all claustrophobic. This treatment is the primary reason our following reaches across continents and through generations."  "We love hosting long time fans and young people taking their very first mud bath, as well as celebrities," Celebrities such as  Dick Vermiel, former American League Coach for the NFL and avid supporter, was born in Calistoga and comes to Dr. Wilkinson's whenever he comes to town.  However, the resort attends to people from all walks of life because as Carolynn emphasizes,  "Our bath house is down to earth, simple and affordable."   If interested in coming to stay, see below for an outstanding offer!

Bath.jpgThe Best Winter Special Ever-Only $159 plus tax !
We are happy to announce our first annual complimentary mud bath routine with overnight stay offering.

Stay Sunday-Thursday in a double queen or king size room and enjoy two free mud baths. Treatment consists of volcanic mud bath, armomatherapy mineral whirlpool bath, mineral steam room and blanket wrap...and Use of three mineral water pools-hot indoor pool, outdoor warm soaking pool, and outdoor swimming pool.

This offering must be booked by phone and cannot be combined with other bath and/or lodging packages.

Lodging tax applies. Package is based on double occupancy. Offer valid January 3rd through April 1, 2010, Sunday thru Thursday and is subject to availability. Mud bath treatments are not transferable and must be taken at the time of your stay. Price and dates are subject to change. All rooms are non smoking.

Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort
1507 Lincoln Avenue
Calistoga, CA 94515

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