All photos courtesy of Shelby Rae Photographs
Not every trip is an elaborately planned week-long production. Sometimes, all you can spare is a weekend away. The little moments can be just as restful as the big ones if you have the right person (like your BFF) and the right locale. I'm sharing my Chateau Elan Spa and Winery review before too much time goes by, and I hope you enjoy it/find it valuable if you're traveling to the area. (As a note, this post isn't sponsored…I just wanted to share my opinion of one of the most popular getaway destinations outside of Atlanta since travel, in all sense of the word, is a passion for me.)
One of my dearest friends, Shelby, and I had been planning a girls trip for a while. We'd planned a long weekend in Nashville, but due to a bit event in Nashville that weekend (and poor planning on my part) we had a hard time finding lodging. I'd also been out of town the two weeks prior dealing with a death in the family for my fiance, Rich, so it ended up being a blessing in disguise. We decided to keep it simple and journey the short 45 minutes up 400 to Chateau Elan, just outside of Atlanta.
It was Valentine's Weekend and slightly overcast, but we had fun anyway and came back to Atlanta after 36 hours rested and refreshed.
Our Stay at Chateau Elan & The Chateau Elan Spa
Large rooms, super nice, comfortable and clean. I got a great night's sleep! The bathrooms were a bit dated (think the best of the 90's) but still nice.
My advice: Enjoy. Due to being woefully out of practice when it comes to day drinking, Shelby and I did a mask treatment and were in bed by 8:30 (Not kidding.) Being in bed by 8:30 is my ideal best life, but even if you're a night owl, the beds were incredible so plan to sleep in a bit!
If I'm being honest, the food was hit or miss. We both had a delicious meal of small plates with nice wine pairings at marc, the restaurant inside their winery. We also enjoyed the so-large-its-almost-sinful breakfast buffet at Versailles on Sunday morning, but our Saturday night dinner at Paddy's Irish Pub was lackluster, although the bar staff there is exceptionally nice.
I didn't love it. I know it's what Chateau Elan is “known” for, and I'm a bit of wine snob, but it's definitely a tasting vs. a let's-finish-the-bottle wine. Shelby and I had a lot of fun in the tasting room (and the tastings are economically priced for what you get), and we definitely found ourselves with full glasses instead of light sips. The value is undeniable, but after trying 7 (!!!) different Chateau Elan wines, I was both incredibly tipsy and slightly sick, which only got worse as the evening progressed.
And if I'm deducting stars, the free wine tours they give a few times a day are also super lame now. I've been before when you could walk on the winery floor, but since ownership changed hands, you kind of just stand and look at the big vats and the vines. Yawn.
My advice: Pre-game on your favorite beverage and hit up the winery for tastings. Take it easy. Eat beforehand. And if you don't like the way a wine tastes, don't feel obligated to finish it like you did in college. (Just sayin')
Also, if you don't like the wine, don't tell the staff you don't like the wine. They will frown at you.
I'm done ragging on the wine. The service while we were there was fantastic. Seriously. Everyone was so nice and went out of their way to be accommodating – it was another really nice touch to the trip!
The Chateau Elan Spa
Probably the highlight of the trip for me and the most compelling reason to visit (unless you like golf, which I'm told is excellent there as well.) On Sunday morning we booked massage treatments and Shelby and I both agreed we wished we'd booked the day before so we had more time to enjoy all the Spa had to offer. It was a truly immersive experience, and the price of your treatment includes access to the full amenities – the hot tub, sauna, steam room, quiet room, cold plunge and more. Our day started out in the softest robes, snacking on almonds in the quiet room.
I booked a deep tissue treatment, and ever since my car accident in November 2017, I've been doing 1-2 of these a month to help with some lower back and neck pain I've been having. I'm a person who enjoys massages and gets them fairly frequently, so when I say that the massage at the Chateau Ela Spa was the best I've had in years – I mean it! Shelby also enjoyed her hot stone treatment and she does not typically like massage treatments!
My advice: We took advantage of the full spa amenities but didn't hang out as much as we wanted, so take that as a tip to plan into your trip enough time to enjoy this standout spa. It's on the expensive side for treatments (and they do include gratuity), but well worth it.
Is this hotel a “great value?” Uhm no. It's not meant to be a value vacation. This is where you go when you want to plan a romantic weekend getaway or indulge in a little pampering and “me time.” There were lots of couples, yes, but also lots of groups of girlfriends young and old. It's a fully immersive, resort experience meaning you can park and never leave the property for the rest of the weekend. Also, considering it's proximity to Atlanta, you'll be shocked by how far away it feels…which is really the most important point when considering a quick getaway.
Often, it's the people I'm with that recharge me the most rather than the production of a vacation. I'd go to Chateau Elan again, (mainly for the Spa), but mostly I'm thankful Shelby and I got a little time together to relax away from our guys and create some new memories.
What's your favorite local getaway? Favorite “girls only” destination?