An Elegant Blend of a French Countryside & Southern Hospitality
By Charlene & Richard Mixa
Lush vineyards, rolling foothills, a magnificent Chateau and an elegant Inn create an inviting and gracious southern welcome with a French flair. With a sweeping panorama of the Northern Georgia foothills, Château Élan creates a “touch of France” as a premier Atlanta destination. A unique and magnificent resort, it combines luxury and conviviality, providing leisure opportunities of championship golf, full-production award winning winery, European health spa, culinary studio, huge swimming pool, and more world-class amenities.
Just off I-85 at Exit 126 north of Atlanta, we drive through the gates of Château Élan, a 3,500-acre estate with vineyards gracing the rolling terrain and a 16th century French-styled chateau. Anxieties are quickly whisked away in this serene setting reminiscent of a French Countryside.
After a full day of driving it is definitely time for a peaceful respite. Warm hospitality and southern charm welcome us at the Château Élan Inn. Our expansive corner guest room beautifully emulates a “French Estate” with a fresh flair. The free standing bed in dark rich walnut is accented by embroidered crisp white linens. Stylish furnishings of a leather couch and flat screen TV are complimented by subtle French touches of walls with muted shades. The lavish bathroom has an oversized tub, separate shower and large vanity. Being on the fifth floor (top floor) our corner room has windows on two walls providing views of the Château, the vineyards and the pool.
The sparkling outdoor pool is the perfect respite after a day’s journey. Ahh – refreshing to wash away all our “cares and woes” in this large private pool with fireside patio and plenty of comfy lounge chairs. Muscles relax in the hot tub with its cascading waterfall. For dinner it’s an easy stroll over to Paddy’s Irish Pub. This is our second visit to Château Élan so we have familiarity with the Inn and dining. It’s a “Real Irish Pub!” All Paddy’s furnishing and fixtures were created in Ireland, shipped to Château Élan, reassembled on site, and then opened in 1997. Richard enjoys their beer selections with his tantalizing Shepherd’s pie and I am thrilled with Château Élan chardonnay to accompany my Bacon and Apple Salad. Of course, I have a few hearty tastes of the Shepherd’s pie. The evening is very quiet at the Resort. The power is out! It will be a few hours before power returns. Amazing, the hotel staff greets each guest with a flashlight, efficiently carries luggage to guest rooms, and takes great steps to make guests as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. In our room we enjoy the solitude and make it an early night.
Today is a full day of golf, wine tasting, dinner and whatever else we opt to squeeze in. First is some good stretching and light cardio at the Fitness Room. Boasting a variety of machines and equipment with Free Weights, Stair Masters, Treadmills, Elliptical and Men and Women’s Locker Rooms it has all we need and more. In the beautiful glass atrium is the Versailles restaurant. Featuring a magnificent Breakfast Buffet with a wide array of hot and cold items, as well as, made to order eggs and omelettes. We attempt to pace ourselves but it is tempting to try more tasty breakfast treats.
Fore! Offering 63 holes of championship golf, we look forward to a round of golf. On our last visit we only played the Par 3 course, which is great for working on the short game. A short drive from the Inn, we‘re efficiently checked-in at the Clubhouse.
Teeing it up on No. 1 of the Woodlands, we prepare to take on this championship course. Designed by renowned architect Denis Griffiths the course winds through rolling foothills. Woodlands offers plenty of challenge with tree-lined holes, sparkling lakes that come into play, and stunning holes. The course offers plenty of “fight” to keep us on our toes. Richard gets on track with his game and begins to make great shots and putts. Luckily, my putting is very good today, which definitely helps my score. It’s an exciting and demanding day of golf. At the Clubhouse Grille, it’s a light lunch reliving our great or not so great shots. Now for a refreshing dip in the pool and an afternoon nap in the comfy poolside chaise lounges. So peaceful!
Refreshed and revitalized, we walk to the Château that houses the Winery, the Wine Market, the Culinary Studio, and Café Elan. Wow! The Wine Market has changed since our last visit adding more tasting stations and more wines. A unique variety of wine merchandise compliments the wine selection. Winery Château Élan began with the planting of vineyards in 1981. From these lush vines the winery produces Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet & Riesling wines. Today the Winery boasts the success of their Winemaker, Simone Bergese. Joining Château Élan in 2013, he has already achieved over 50 awards at prestigious wine competitions. Plus, Simone has extended the wine offerings to over 20 styles. Bragging rights continue as the Château Élan Winery is the most awarded winery on the East Coast the past 2 years. Yes, we are definitely impressed and purchase a few bottles to share with family and friends.
BON APPÉTIT! Scenic vistas of lush vineyards along rolling foothills and sipping wine on an enclosed veranda all create a wonderful setting for our final evening at Château Élan. Oui! Yes! The Château captures the essence of being in the French countryside. As the evening cools and a gentle breeze wafts through the large open windows the ambiance is that of a French café. Café Elan specializes in modern French inspired classics with a Mediterranean twist. Our servers graciously give suggestions and carefully describe each dish. Tonight, the pace is set for a slow leisurely dinner. Sipping the delicious Château Élan Chardonnay, a classic oak style, rich and full bodied wine, it definitely pleases my taste preference for a rich Chardonnay.
Starting with the tangy Mushroom Bruschetta with the delicate, yet, meaty taste of wild mushrooms, we follow it with the tantalizing Lollo Rosso Pomegranate & Asian Pear salad with a vinaigrette dressing. My entrée of Sea Scallops over a Cauliflower Puree with Foie Gras Butter is succulent. Richard’s Artic Char accompanied with Wild Rice Porridge, Baby Beets, Breakfast Radish and Baby carrots definitely exceeds his expectations. After a leisurely dinner, on our stroll to the Inn under a moonlit sky we stop to admire the statue of a lady girl stomping grapes in front of the Château. Merci beaucoup! Thank you very much! Château Élan easily creates an inviting retreat of a French countryside with warm southern hospitality nestled in the Georgia foothills.
If you go:
We recommend planning your visit to enjoy the many amenities of the Resort. Their European health spa is excellent whether going with a day pass or partaking of spa services. Cooking classes and Cooking Demos are exciting and an activity we have on our list to experience on our next visit. Be sure to check out the many packages designed to create an escape to meet your dreams. Escape to a French countryside in Georgia at Château Élan Winery & Resort!
Château Élan Winery & Resort| 100 Rue Charlemagne, Braselton, Georgia 30517