A Perfect Place to be Pampered -Chateau Elan Winery and Resort
By Ella T. Newman
My cousin, Dave, who lived outside of Atlanta, introduced Fred and me to a unique treasure in the town of Braselton 25 years ago when we came to visit our son at Emory University. Then it was a unique sixteenth century style French Castle on a property that was just being developed though it already showed signs of greatness. We always remembered how much we enjoyed our stay there. Since then, it has flourished into a sprawling 3500-acre resort surrounded by rolling vineyards and wooded forests. Chateau Elan recently was named one of the top ten resorts in the USA. As decerning travelers Fred and I agree with this designation based on our recent stay.
It was an easy hour’s drive from Atlanta airport. There is a large bronze statue of woman majestically stomping grapes towering over the entrance to the property that welcomed us.
We were greeted by the friendly, polite staff at the entrance and reception desk. The lobby has high ceilings and warm fireplaces that are surrounded by inviting contemporary leather chairs. As we crossed over to the elevators, we were offered a choice of two wines to taste and enjoy as we continued up to our floor. This was just one of many opportunities they gave us to have their plentiful world class wines.
Our suite was newly furnished and spacious with lovely views of the vineyards and forests. The large bathroom featured an inviting soaking tub and separate glass shower, along with an attractive magnifying mirror on the bathroom vanity. We felt relaxed and happy to be there. Fred and I appreciate being at a place that lives up to our expectations.
We got settled and ready to go to the pool which is large and surrounded by dark green and white striped cushioned lounge chairs with umbrellas and small tables next to them. It was pristine and relaxing. We met some lovely people and mentioned we had dinner reservations at the Marc, one of the nine different award winning eating and bar choices available on the property. We asked them to join us there as well. We savored salmon, filet mignon and braised iamb. The food, service and wines were all delightful.
After dinner we sat at the large square marble and black crystal fire pit. The perfect place to talk about plans and get to know people. A chance to indulge in S’mores over the fire was a fun way to end the evening while bringing back memories of childhood.
After a restful sleep we met for a guided hike through the property at 8:00 AM. Windy, the guide, took our small group through the woods and around the vineyards where she told us to taste the sweet juicy muscadine grapes right off the vine. She discussed how the property belonged to the Donald and Nancy Panoz family since 1981 and had expanded to its present size.
When we finished, we went to breakfast. We appreciated having a sumptuous egg and bacon filled croissant and French Toast with berries in the Versailles restaurant at the center of the Inn below the expansive lobby.
At noon we visited the winery for a tour and tasting. We saw how the wines were made and bottled. They process local and imported grapes. After the tasting we bought one of the reds. Then we enjoyed the sunset and a charcuterie outside overlooking the vineyards before we returned to the room to prepare for dinner.
The next morning began with a complimentary class at the fitness center. After that we drove over to explore their European-style Spa which offers breakfast, lunch, and a complete array of services to pamper the guests. I had a facial and Fred considered a massage.
The following day we took the resort shuttle to Sarazin, where we had breakfast at the 18-hole professional golf course and school. We relaxed on the porch and watched the players as we ate. This area is near their racquet clubs.
That night we had dinner at Paddy’s Irish Pub, which has an authentic Irish décor brought over from Ireland. Fred and I sat at the outside tables where we watched the sunset and had delightful fish and chips and other pub style cooking like Bangers and Mash.
The next day, our curiosity took us over to explore the estates on the property and the surrounding area. Upon our return we were greeted with champagne at the reception desk to enjoy by the pool. While winding down our time at the Resort, which was punctuated with good meals, wines, and many lovely people, we knew we would look forward to returning.
The Chateau Elan is a perfect place to unwind surrounded by flowers and vineyards and the right level of ambiance and choices of activities and events.
Ella Newman has been a trusted financial professional to individuals, business owners, families and their advisors for over thirty five years. She brings her experience in Business Development and as a Financial Advisor to her private client role at Norton Advisory Group a member of PH Robb Legacy Alliance.
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