One of the amazing survival stories from the wildfires that raged across Northern California involves the historic Triple S Ranch Napa and neighboring properties in Calistoga. Surrounded by fire on all sides, the ranch was saved due to a 10-hour battle waged by owner Derek Webb and a handful of courageous employees and neighbors.

Webb saw the firestorm coming up the mountain from Franz Valley shortly after 10 p.m. on Oct. 8. Nine people used tractors, rakes, shovels, and wet blankets, and rigged up their own fire truck using water from the pool to keep the fires at bay. Since the roads were blocked, everyone’s ultimate escape route was the swimming pool, which fortunately was a plan never used.

Triple S Ranch is one of the oldest resorts in Napa Valley and has a colorful history as both a working ranch and a resort and restaurant. The property has been restored by Webb over the past five years and has a grand Victorian built in the 1860s, a large redwood dairy barn/restaurant, gym, pool, hot tub, cabins and several acres of walnut trees. “There are no winners in fire,” Webb says. “Though SSS Ranch was saved, many of my neighbors lost everything. I still cry when I drive down the street and see all of the complete destruction. I realize how close we came to losing everything.” 

This summer, Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite is debuting $25 million in expansions. The new Explorer Cabins at Tenaya Lodge features a central gathering building, communal outdoor fire pits and more than 50 two-bedroom cabins. Also, the lodge recently introduced new Glacier Point at Sunset Tours that run from May through September and combine the expert knowledge of a local guide with the beauty of Yosemite National Park. Groups can enjoy wine, cheese and crackers or their own picnic dinner while enjoying the alpenglow.

 

Originally built in 1927 and located in Death Valley National Park, the mission-style Inn at Death Valley celebrated its $100 million transformation with a grand reopening celebration in November 2018. The property, owned by Xanterra Travel Collection, features 66 updated rooms, a renovated fine dining restaurant and cocktail lounge, the new Tranquility Spa, and a spring-fed pool bordered by a new café and cabanas. Twenty-two one-bedroom casitas have been added along with Mission Gardens, a prime location for outdoor events.

 

The Josie Hotel, a ski-in/ski-out boutique property in Rossland, British Columbia, opened its doors in November at the base of RED Mountain Resort’s slopes. The 106-room property, named after one of the town’s most notable mines, Josie Mine, also is located along Canada’s world-renowned Powder Highway in the heart of the West Kootenays. Key amenities include more than 1,500 square feet of function space, a spa (opening winter 2019) and fitness center, and The Velvet Restaurant & Lounge.