Sometimes, when I leave the station to go venture out in to the world, I meet nice people and we get to talking. One of those people was Rich Aaron with Chateau Elan and he gave me a grand tour of the resort, since I had never been. This was probably the most fun tour I've ever done - no stone was left unturned - Rich literally took me everywhere I wanted to go see - everything was so pretty it made my eyes the size of saucers and at the end there was wine and cheese. Plus, I got all of my steps in for the day and enjoying a wine tasting while your FitBit is congratulating you is also a nice feeling.
The resort has been nestled in Braselton since the beginning of the 1980s, with the first on-site vineyard planted in 1983 and opening to the public as a simple winery in 1985. A visitors center followed and the Inn began taking reservations in 1993. In 2008, a massive renovation took place at the resort and in 2012 Simone Bergese joined the team as the Head Winemaker. Under Bergese's watch, new vineyards were planted, the winery began winning many awards and outside renovations to the winery gave the place a fresh look.
I'll be upfront: it's very clear millions of dollars has been poured into this place. It's simply beautiful. I wasn't sure what to expect exactly because I just knew it had a reputation for being romantic and fancy and there was also a lot of wine (cue the meme of the Wine Lady) but I had only driven by once or twice.
The first thing I noticed while I was there was the beautiful natural light throughout the resort, which is great for taking photos and a hallmark of a well-designed building but also creates an airy, ethereal feel in whatever setting you're in. The high-end vibe continued when I toured all of the places to stay, with varying sizes of rooms and price points. Each room, despite what location, was tastefully decorated to fit the theme of the room location, feeling more like a bedroom than a rental, and was updated to suit the needs of a modern guest, even just for a night or weekend. You can rent a room at the hotel itself or at the golf course or spa, or one of the two newer hotel properties on site.
If you're looking to schedule some activities while at the Chateau, check out the full service spa, 63-hole golf course, or the seven varying dining experiences (alongside cooking classes) before you head the famous winery, and see how the wine is made and then enjoy a glass or two. If your activities are on the more serious side, you can also rent out one of over a dozen spaces of varying capacity and scenery to fit every event from a intimate afternoon wedding to a multi-part business conference.
Back to that "good photos" comment, don't forget to enjoy the great outdoors. If the manicured golf course wasn't enough, wander through the muscadine vineyards all around the property, and locate plenty of other sites, like fountains and sculptures, to make your Instagram feed a little more sophisticated.
The resort is not exclusively for special events, either. Area residents can make their work outs more beautiful with a fitness club membership or hit a bucket of balls at the public driving field at the golf club.
The Chateau was recently sold to Wheelock Street Capital out of Connecticut and they have said they have plans for a $20 million renovation and update. I am excited to see what ideas they have in store for the place and it looks like they have plans to keep things charming.
"We are excited and honored to officially join the Château Élan community," commented Patrick Campbell, principal and head of hotel acquisitions at Wheelock Street Capital. "As we begin this new chapter, we look forward to enhancing the resort's product and service offerings, while maintaining the estate's character and charm, to deliver guests an even more unforgettable guest experience than ever before."
If you're looking for something the feels extra fancy, but doesn't require a trip to Atlanta, look no further. From Gainesville, head to Highway 53E, after a short distance turn right on Ga211S. Keep going and be prepared to turn left into the resort after you see the Publix shopping complex.
If you're looking for either an upscale conference location, a fairy tale wedding spot, a weekend getaway or a more exotic place to enjoy a glass of wine with friends, Chateau Elan in Braselton is a good place to be.
Make a reservation (or just check out their photo gallery) and join me on another North Georgia adenture next month.
Until then, stay curious.