Want to feel like you are in a French vineyard without leaving Georgia? Look no further than Chateau Elan in Braselton, GA. What began as a non-wine-related business trip for founders Donald and Nancy Panoz has turned into a world-class and award-winning resort just 45 minutes north of Atlanta.
We had a list of requirements to curate the perfect overnight getaway:
- Spacious location
- Variety of dining options
- In-house activities (that were COVID-safe)
- Close to nature for outdoor activities
- Less than 2 hours from home
Chateau Elan was ticking every box for us. It seemed like the ultimate retreat and honestly, it by far exceeded our expectations. Although we were only there for 24 hours, our stay felt like a full vacation. Read all about our adventure below!
Chateau Elan is doing an amazing job of complying with CDC health and safety guidelines. They were detailed in their communication throughout, from before booking until departure.
Masks required in all public spaces (including outdoors) unless you are actively eating or drinking. Everyone was considerate of the requirement and the staff did a great job of upholding it.
As far as hotel service, it was minimal and contactless, and yet warm and inviting. They made sure we knew they were still available for any requests we might have.
Hand sanitizer was readily available throughout the property.
Indoor facilities and activities have limited capacities – think restaurants, spa, wellness classes, and winery tours. It may seem like a lot of restrictions, but it did not interfere with our stay. Advance reservations are highly recommended for spa treatments, culinary classes/demonstrations, and Marc Restaurant.
With 3,500 acres, a larger-than-life atrium, and an expansive wine tasting area, there’s plenty of room for social-distance without sacrificing any of the amenities.
Brunch at Fleur-de-Lis
We chose brunch at Fleur-de-Lis for its lake views and seasonal menu. Fleur-de-Lis is one of the smaller restaurants, so reservations are highly recommended. Some of our favorite dishes were the Georgia Morning Frittata and the SF Steak Sandwich. Pair any of the dishes with one of their four sparkling wines for the full brunch experience!
Of course, one of the main attractions at Chateau Elan is the award-winning winery and its tasting room. You have the option to tour the winery, but we chose to opt-out and instead spend more time with our tasting. $40 gets you seven tastings, which is a great deal! I preferred and enjoyed their COVID-safe procedures more than in my previous experience. There is more seating (both indoor and outdoor). The rule is to get in a socially-distance line to approach the bar. Once your tasting is poured, you are to go back to your seat until you are ready for the next tasting. If you have ever been to a wine tasting pre-COVID, you know a lot of time is spent fighting your way through the crowd to get to the bar. This new arrangement not only allows guests to follow health and safety guidelines but also allows them to enjoy their tasting at leisure.
Dinner & The Big Game at Louis’ House of Bourbon
Whether you need a break from the wine or you are craving a unique lounge atmosphere, Louis’ House of Bourbon is the place to be. Yes, we might have gone there to watch The Big Game, but we definitely got more speakeasy vibes and sports bar vibes. The dinner menu is small and delicious – we highly recommend the short rib sliders and the bourbon buffalo wings. Speaking of bourbon, they have over one hundred options of bourbon, rye, whiskey, and scotch. They also claim to have the best Old Fashioned in Georgia, which is an accurate claim.
One of the favorite in-house activities, especially in the winter, is Fireside Evenings. You can purchase a s’mores kit and curl up around the cozy fire pit to enjoy an evening under the stars. We were lucky enough to have the whole fire pit to ourselves!
Walk along the nature trail
There’s so much to see at Chateau Elan! I think one of the best ways to explore the property is by foot or by bike (there are complimentary shuttles that take you to the different areas of the property if you don’t want to walk/drive). Many trails allow you to explore the property; we went for a leisurely stroll and came across an equestrian center that we didn’t even know existed. We only got to see a snapshot of the property and look forward to exploring more of it.
Staying at The Inn
The Inn at Chateau Elan is reminiscent of a French country estate. Like a French country estate, the common areas and rooms are elegantly furnished with natural materials and leather accents. The modern lines and state-of-the-art amenities bring The Inn into the 21st Century. One of the benefits of staying at The Inn is that you have access to the majority of the amenities under one roof with the winery and spa only steps away.
Many people are hesitant to stay overnight at Chateau Elan as the nightly rates can get upward of $300 per night plus taxes and resort fees. Luckily, if you live in Georgia, you do not need to stay overnight to enjoy the amenities, activities, and events that Chateau Elan has to offer. Keep an eye on their extensive events and activities calendar to make the most of a day-trip or an evening out. If you are looking for alternative places to spend the night, look no further than Chateau Elan’s own Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton. This brand new hotel is on the Chateau Elan grounds, so you get all the benefits of staying on the resort without the resort price tag.
Reasons to Return
- Restaurants – Chateau Elan has six restaurants, a cafe, and a poolside bar. We didn’t have the opportunity to visit all of the eateries, so we look forward to returning to a different dining experience.
- Spa and wellness Activities – Who doesn’t love a spa day?
- Ever-changing Wine Selection – The winery has 30 different wine selections. Since we only tasted seven, we have 23 more selections to try.
- New Activities – When Chateau Elan says it has activities for everyone, it is not a bluff. From wine education to children’s pastry classes, they have an extensive monthly activities calendar with a little something for everyone.
We have only scratched the surface of possibilities at Chateau Elan. What would you include in your itinerary?