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The Francis House exterior and pool. Photo credit Chris Gramly.

The Francis House in Calistoga, Napa Valley

By Published On: April 10th, 2024

Three Floors, A Thousand Stories.

Entering through the front gate, you might momentarily forget you’re in Napa Valley as you take in the grand stone building with arched windows, wrought iron balconies, and mansard roof. The authentic French Second Empire architecture was thoughtfully restored by owners Dina and Richard Dwyer as they transformed the property into their elegant seven-room wine country bed and breakfast.

The Francis House entrance. Photo Courtesy: Chris Gramly.
The Francis House entrance. Photo Courtesy: Chris Gramly.

Surrounded by meticulously tended landscaping, citrus trees, flowers, and an herb garden, the gated property is a serene adults-only sanctuary a few minutes walk from downtown Calistoga’s restaurants, boutiques, spas, and mud baths.

The Francis House Property

“The Francis House embodies the spirit of French Country in California Wine country,” according to owner and interior designer, Dina Dwyer. “ It was our goal to design the building, the outdoor spaces, and the interiors in classic French Maison D’Hote or hôtel particulier style. We wanted to capture the essence of history while providing modern amenities for today’s discerning guests.” 

The Francis House living room.
Living Room. Photo Courtesy: The Francis House.

Dina and her husband, Richard, a real estate developer and general contractor, combined their skills and experience to complete the three year rehabilitation of the 1886 building, listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

The property has a long history, once the family home of prominent merchant, James H. Francis, and also served as a hospital during its time. “Rich and I have our own strengths, our own styles, and our own projects. But since this particular one involved designing a special property in Calistoga, where we both will call home as well as a business, we made every decision together as a team, as a couple,” Dina said.

Dina and Richard Dwyer. Photo Courtesy: The Francis House.

The Francis House Accommodations

Old-world Parisian elegance is captured in vintage desks, antique brass luggage racks, and restored antique chandeliers in the rooms, seamlessly combined with modern technology, convenient bedside USB chargers, heated floors, high-speed WiFi, and Dyson hair dryers.

All rooms have a safe, steamer, magnifying mirror, and Toto heated toilet. Plus the simple details that complete a luxury stay, a boudoir pillow, shower caps, slippers and cozy robe. 

The Premier King rooms feature original interior stone walls, Baccarat chandeliers, Chantilly lace curtains, and French marquetry tables.

Premiere King Guest Room. Photo Courtesy: The Francis House.
Baccarat chandelier. Photo Courtesy: The Francis House.
French marquetry table. Photo Courtesy: The Francis House.

The third-floor Deluxe King rooms have two windows draped with Chantilly lace, comfortable seating, antique writing desks, and luggage racks. The rooms have angled walls that are typical of parisian mansard roofs with French Second Empire architecture. 

Deluxe Queen rooms on the third floor also feature the angled walls representing the property’s historic architecture in addition to full-length mirrors, antique French chandeliers, writing desks, and chairs. 

Deluxe Queen Guest Room. Photo Courtesy: The Francis House.

The Pool House Suite, located in a new building on the property, is more private and modern in style. It is the property’s largest room with a living room, a three-seat linen sofa, burlwood coffee table, two classic Danish armchairs, an antique writing desk, and a fireplace. Views of the century-old main building create a sense of place on the historic property. 

The Francis House pool house bed.
Pool house interior. Photo Courtesy: The Francis House.
The Francis House pool house living room.
Pool house living room. Photo Courtesy: The Francis House.

The Francis House Amenities

Tennis fans will be happy to see the perfectly groomed turf court.

The Francis House tennis court.
Tennis court. Photo Courtesy: The Francis House.

Each morning, breakfast is served. The menu highlights seasonal ingredients like fresh eggs, local product, artisanal cheese, and estate-grown herbs. Fluffy omelets, Eggs en Cocotte, and savory rice bowls with fried eggs all delight. There’s also ricotta pancakes with bacon and maple syrup. These are some of the special morning dishes offered at The Francis House.

Dina Dwyer preparing breakfast for guests at The Francis House.
Dina Dwyer preparing breakfast for guests. Photo Courtesy: The Francis House.
Savory breakfast served every morning at The Francis House.
Savory breakfast served every morning. Photo Courtesy: The Francis House.

The heated outdoor pool is surrounded by chaise lounges and their signature red umbrellas for shade. Bistro-style tables and chairs are also set on the pool deck. The area is surrounded by lush jasmine hedges with pristine landscaping.

Guest relaxing by the pool at The Francis House.
Guest relaxing by the pool. Photo Courtesy: The Francis House.

High quality bath amenities by Aesop are provided for guests’ pleasure.

Relax With A Deep Tissue Massage, Halo Therapy, or Detox in Their Infrared Sauna

Guests can arrange on property deep tissue massages, a signature treatment. 

There’s a salt room for halo therapy and an infrared sauna. It has invisible rays that gently stimulate circulation and promotes the release of toxins for gentle healing.

Guest inside the sauna at The Francis House.
Guest enjoying the sauna. Photo Courtesy: The Francis House.

The beautifully landscaped property features a welcoming stone fire pit, surrounded by comfortable chairs. It sets the perfect scene to enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of tea or coffee in a cozy setting while french music plays in the background. 

The Francis House guests sitting around the fire pit.
Guests sitting around the fire pit. Photo Courtesy: The Francis House.

There’s a living room, dining room, meeting room, and library. All keep with the blend of old and new, from gilt-framed art to vintage objects collected by the Dwyers in their travels. For guests’ convenience, the property features an onsite Tesla charger.

The Francis House dining room and living room view.
Dining room and living room view. Photo Courtesy: The Francis House.

Things to Do in Calistoga

The walkable town, just two blocks away, features a Saturday farmers market, shops, restaurants, wine tasting rooms, and spas. There are also the well-known mud baths, warmed by mineral rich natural hot springs. Art galleries, shops featuring local crafts, and cafés make strolling along Calistoga’s streets a great way to spend an afternoon.

Many visitors bike through the area’s vineyards, hike in the mountains, or take hot air balloon flights. The owners of The Francis House are pleased to create custom itineraries for their guests.

The Francis House Hospitality

The Francis House opened on September 7, 2018, the culmination of a dream for the Dwyers. “We have been welcoming guests for five years now. Dina says “we have made thousands of new friends, and we never end a day without the affirmation that we are blessed with these encounters.”

The Dwyers still appreciate the accomplishments of saving the historic Napa Valley property. Three years of complex decisions, repairs, renovations, and hard work are in the past. Now, they love sharing it with their guests.

Dina said, “While it is our utmost desire to have our guests enjoy a true wine country experience, it is equally important that they know that staying at The Francis House is a contribution to saving historic places and landmarks. She continued, “The Francis House is unique because of its history, but more than that, it is special because it is a living testament to human connection and friendships.”

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