Exploring North Georgia’s newly renovated Château Élan resort and spa
After helping me plop down into the deep, bubble-filled whirlpool tub, the spa therapist pours half a bottle of 2017 Merlot Reserve and a cup or so of steeped black tea into the water, then turns down the lights and leaves me to soak for 20 minutes.
Having just enjoyed an hour-long Swedish massage from said therapist as part of the Antioxidant Soak Massage Experience (starting at $175), I’m already a puddle of goo, and that, coupled with the whirlpool’s warm, pulsating jets, lulls me to sleep for a few minutes. I dozed off again for a bit afterward while lying under a plush blanket on one of the cozy chaises in the candlelit Quiet Room.
I can think of few better ways to start the day than with a thorough rubdown and calming soak in a luxurious wine bath at a spa at a place like the Château Élan Winery & Resort, the luxe hotel and winery about an hour northeast of Buckhead in Braselton.
Château Élan has long been a favorite getaway for Atlantans looking for a weekend or longer escape, and the recent $25 million renovation gives them even more incentive to check in for a stay. The property’s new look combines modern Southern touches with subtle French undertones, while still paying homage to its original 16th-century, European châteauinspired design, and it included an overhaul of the 250-plus guestrooms and suites, the winery, lobby, pool area and spa.
Four new food and beverage outlets were added as well, including Le Petit Café, where my travel companion and I grabbed coffee and pastries, and Marc Bar & Restaurant, where we supped on the salt-brined pork chop with mac and cheese and apple chutney, and a 12-ounce New York strip with foie gras butter and a side of sautéed mushrooms.
Sarazen’s, the restaurant at the clubhouse overlooking the Woodlands golf course, is a great place to begin the day with a hearty breakfast. Go early enough and, like me, you can enjoy your meal with a view of the early morning haze lingering over the links. The resort has two courses to choose from, providing 45 holes of championship golf amid a lush landscape of rolling hills and geese-filled lakes, plus a driving range and practice facility.
Golf isn’t the only activity on-site. Guests can get into the swing of things on the five lighted tennis courts and four pickleball courts. Or they can rent bikes and go for a spin around the 3,500-acre property and surrounding neighborhoods. We chose to take a long stroll on the series of gravel hiking trails that meander through the grapevine-strewn grounds.
Of course, no trip to Château Élan is complete without a visit to the winery. During our seven-glass wine flight, I learned my favorite was the limited edition Brut D’Ananas handcrafted in Tahiti exclusively for the resort. It boasted aromatic pineapple and hints of lemon and vanilla.
The accommodations range from standard double rooms to three-bedroom villas. Our third-floor double, which overlooked the pool, was plenty big enough for two people and was decked out in a palette of soothing greys and taupes. A long soak in the garden tub and a good night’s rest in the comfy bed, along with all of Château Élan’s other recent enhancements and improvements, made it all the more difficult to leave when check-out time came around.
CHÂTEAU ÉLAN WINERY & RESORT
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