Six Senses Napa Valley to open in 100-year-old Californian ghost resort

Luxury hotel brand will breathe new life into Aetna Springs, one of the oldest resorts in Napa County

Six Senses Aetna Springs will open in California's Napa Valley in 2026. Photo: Six Senses
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Six Senses will open its newest luxury wellness resort in California’s Napa County.

The renowned hotel group has announced the launch of Six Senses Napa Valley, scheduled to welcome travellers in 2026.

It will take over the historic Aetna Springs, one of Napa’s oldest and most fabled mineral springs resorts. Originally developed in 1887, the 1,215-hectare resort is being revitalised by Six Senses after years of neglect.

Six Senses will regenerate the rural landscape in the region, with a focus on native planting and rewilding. Photo: Six Senses

Nestled in the far-flung reaches of Pope Valley, the destination spa resort opened in 1887 and quickly became a hotspot for well-heeled San Franciscan and Hollywood holidaymakers, who would reach its sanctuary via an eight-hour horse-drawn carriage journey.

Today, it’s only a two-hour drive from San Francisco, but the retreat has been closed since the early 1970s.

Six Senses will regenerate the rural landscape in the region, with a focus on native planting and rewilding.

With 95 rooms and suites, including 10 luxury tented structures, interiors will be by 1508 London, the same designers behind aesthetics at Four Seasons Hotel Suzhou, The Carlton Tower Jumeirah in London and Mandarin Oriental Residences, Beverly Hills.

Aetna Springs Resort was a Hollywood hotspot in its heyday. Photo: Wiki Commons / Sanfranman59

In keeping with the resort’s heritage, there will be a huge focus on wellness with guests having access to an extensive programme of yoga, meditation, mindfulness and nature-inspired therapies.

An on-site organic garden and four food and beverage outlets will offer a variety of dining options with in-house “alchemists” crafting home-made and herbal tonics, tinctures and detox juices, and showcasing the region’s best wines.

“Six Senses Napa Valley will marry the region’s beauty with the unique natural resources of the original Aetna Springs,” says Six Senses Hotels Resorts & Spas chief executive Neil Jacobs.

“Working with Weller Development Partners, Pegasus Capital Advisors, and committed sustainability partners, we have the right energy in place to revitalise this precious jewel in the Napa crown as a destination to rewild our guests back to a connection with nature, each other, and ultimately themselves.”

Restoration and sustainability at a century-old resort

Six Senses will preserve original structures and regenerate the resort's rural landscape. Photo: Wiki Commons / Sanfranman59

Dating back to the 19th century, Aetna Springs was one of California's original mineral springs resorts and the first golf course west of the Mississippi.

Aetna Mineral Water, first bottled in 1886, was sold throughout the American West. Ronald Reagan declared his candidacy for governor of California in 1966 on the steps of the resort's dining hall.

Its popularity declined post-Second World War, and the resort soon closed. It was placed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1987, but has been listed on Napa County Landmarks' Threatened Treasures list — a grouping of local historic buildings in peril — several times, including last year.

Having survived wildfire devastation that has swept through California in recent years relatively unscathed, Aetna Springs is now gearing up for a new lease of life at the hands of award-winning architecture firm Olson Kundig.

“There’s so much about this site that I find deeply inspirational, from its layers of history as an agrarian and resort community to its stunning natural beauty. This new project provides a great opportunity to craft an authentic experience for visitors that centres around deepening connections to this special landscape,” says Tom Kundig, owner and founder of Olson Kundig.

Six Senses is known for its sustainable hospitality and the group will work closely with experts in this field to restore the recreational green spaces, vineyards, and agricultural activities surrounding the resort. A water bottling programme will tap into the natural springs and offset operational water requirements.

Practices such as rewilding zones and the use of sustainable design and materials will help the resort achieve LEED certification.

Updated: January 25, 2023, 9:31 AM
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