This weekend, Luke took me (Manda) on a trip for my belated Valentine’s gift. We have been looking forward to a getaway for weeks, and this trip could not have been more perfect or fitting for a needed break from reality and some “us” time in between my graduate school courses.
Chateau Elan in Brazelton, north of Atlanta, GA. Chateau Elan is a popular wedding destination, winery and resort, and we could certainly see why!
We arrived on Saturday afternoon since it is only 2.5 hours from home and checked into our luxurious upgraded room, complete with a jacuzzi tub and pool view. (He really spoiled me this time :p).
A bottle of champagne was waiting for us upon arrival, too. This was part of our package, the Chateau Experience, which includes one night’s stay, dinner at one of their five-star restaurants, a bottle of champagne, a buffet breakfast, and a 50-minute couples’ massage. I would recommend this deal to any of our friends and family looking for a special getaway. We postponed the champagne though in favor of a wine tasting and tour of the grounds.
The Winery has several different tasting options, and we ended up choosing the Classic European Flight which allows you to sample eight of their best, house made wines. Luke does not even like wine (at all), and he found himself liking the red Velvet Reserve which tastes like a Merlot, in my opinion. (Granted it was our 8th sample, so we didn’t necessarily buy him the bottle just yet, but maybe there is hope that my husband will someday join me in my love of wine!) My favorites were Sauvignon Blanc and a delicious Dolce Rose.
The weather was a bit overcast, but still lovely, so we enjoyed our drinks on the patio with a built in fire pit. Afterwards, we made some purchases for family (and ourselves). My favorite is a gift for my mother-in-law (hoping she won’t read this before we give it to her), but we found a wine glass made from a mason jar that we think she’ll really get a kick out of!
We took our purchases to the room and then spent some time exploring the grounds before dinner. They have a three-mile walking trail, but we ended up taking a short stroll through the vineyards and around the golf course instead.
We had reservations at Cafe Elan, a Mediterranean-inspired bistro at 8:30, so we even got a little nap in before it was time to get ready. I had forgotten my hairbrush, so that also gave me time to check out the Hotel Gift Shop; they had so many cute things. I ended up finding a pretty pair of gold and black dangling earrings for dinner, since my favorite black earrings had broken after the last wear and I had not had time to get them replaced yet.
Dinner was wonderful! We each got to order an appetizer, entree and dessert with our package. I started with the Belgian Endive Salad, and Luke had Cauliflower and Fennel Soup. Both were tasty! He had the swordfish for his main course, and I had the Ranch Striploin, and I think it is safe to say we both enjoyed these too (complete with the requisite sides that neither of us could pronounce!) We ended with dessert–creme brulee and an Opera Torte (basically a tart with layers of chocolate, strawberry jam and vanilla.) I had wanted the Raspberry Cheesecake, but the waitress told me they were out, and then a few minutes later we overheard another table order the Cheesecake. Our waitress heard too, and she immediately apologized and brought me a piece too; she genuinely didn’t know they still had any. So, I got two desserts 🙂
The resort had an outdoor pool and hot tub, so we spent some time soaking and laughing after dinner. I loved the pool area with several huge stone fireplaces–perfect to relax and dry off before heading inside!
We finally landed in bed around 12:30 and slept in late this morning. It turned out to be good since the weather was very rainy today; we knew there was a 90% chance of rain, so this was no surprise. I was glad we took the chance to explore the grounds yesterday though.
Breakfast was absolutely phenomenal, even if my eyes were bigger than my stomach (blame an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet for that one.) My favorites were the cook-to-order omelets, pancakes with real fruit toppings, cheese blintzes, Hickory smoked bacon, oatmeal with brown sugar and fresh strawberries. Their biscuits and gravy were also to die for!
(As much as I hate to admit it, we were so stuffed that we took an after-breakfast nap before it was time to shower and get ready for check out!)
We loaded the car and then spent some time reading the newspaper together by the fire and driving around the rest of the property to kill time before our 1:30 spa appointment. The Chateau Elan Spa is one of the nicest I have ever been to, and if you purchase any service, all of the amenities are all-inclusive, which we did not know about when we were killing time in the hotel lobby.
Since we spent too much time relaxing by the fire, we had to check in quickly for our couples’ massage (another Manda favorite that Luke typically hates, so I was grateful and surprised that he booked this for us. What a special treat!) We changed into our robes and sandals and headed to the waiting area, which had free snacks–chocolate covered pretzels, an organic Chex Mix, Hot Tea, and Apple-Cinnamon-Ginger water– to wait for our masseuses. The Spa overlooks the golf course, and the floor-to-celing picture windows gave us a beautiful view of the rose bushes surrounding the property and the fountain, even on a dreary day. We finally headed back for our Spa treatments, which were truly heavenly, at least in my opinion. I am still waiting on Luke’s verdict, since he got sick after our last couples’ massage on our honeymoon. So far, so good though! My neck and shoulders are generally killing me since I have so much desk work with my job and grad school, so my therapist even showed me some stretches that I can do on my own to help reduce the pain. He also advised me to sleep with a pillow between my knees, since I am a side sleeper, to help with my overall posture. It was very helpful and relaxing…I drifted away for a while with the scent of eucalyptus essential oils and the sound of soft, classical music.
After the massages, we visited the whirlpool-style hot tub to relax and munch on some of the free snacks we had missed out on before. Then, Luke headed to the Sauna, while I grabbed a glass of wine (Dolce again) and visited the “Quiet Room,” a darkened candle-lit area with chaise lounges and blankets staged purely for relaxation–no technology allowed.
We finally headed out around 3:30, feeling thoroughly relaxed and prepared for MY work week; Luke is off on Spring Break–lucky duck!
We got back a little while ago, and it’s back to the real world, but I am so thankful for my amazing, sweet husband who planned all of this just for me. We had a great time, shared many laughs, and made some incredible memories that I will always treasure. If you are looking for a good getaway, with a significant other, by yourself or with a group of friends, consider Chateau Elan. It is well worth it, even if just for a night or weekend. You can really see everything there is to see in that time period; we were there about 24 hours and felt that we experienced just about everything minus a round of golf or tennis!
Cheers to the Beginning of Spring!
Luke and Manda