Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chateau Élan (Part II)

The word 'élan' is synonymous with...flair, style, confidence, and elegance.
At Chateau Elan in Braselton, that's exactly what I found. And, it starts when you turn into the driveway featuring views that are expansive and welcoming.
From the team of valets at the front door of the Chateau, all the way up in the form of CEO and President Henk Evers who waited to greet the Georgia Traveler team personally.
Nearly everyone at Chateau Élan is international. We met staff from The Netherlands , Ireland , Germany , and Turkey . There’s also a great group of locals who work there.
We were shown a corner suite. Wowza, wowza, wowza! The bathroom … to die for, including a snowy white bathrobe that is a serious snuggle draw. The bed … a decadent treat for body and mind. Both suite and bath were festooned with red and white rose petals, a special package for couples.
Anyway, enough of this drooling. You simply must visit this place for yourself. While there, check out Paddy’s. It’s an Irish Pub built in Ireland , disassembled and rebuilt in Braselton. Even the staff is Irish.
And, don’t forget The Spa at Chateau Élan for relaxing and unwinding. It even smells good in The Spa, which has its own kitchen. Oh yeah … the menu at The Spa features the carb count of your favorite foods!
International award winning chef Marc Suennemann made lunch for us, featuring seared sea scallops, white asparagus, truffles, fingerling potatoes and pork tenderloin. Chef Marc was kind enough to make my appetizer and lunch diet friendly. Desert was chocolate molten cake a la mode. (Okay, I had one bite. Who could resist?) A white chocolate cigarillo accompanied this homemade confection. UMMMM! BTW: Chef Marc is a dream to work with and his team offers cooking classes.
If there’s one drawback to this place, it’s that the gift shops stock too many gorgeous little things, which beg you to ‘pick me, pick me.’ As a self-confessed shop-a-holic, it was all too much for me to resist. But, then whoever said shopping is a bad thing?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chateau Elan and Road Atlanta

Chateau Elan and Road Atlanta by Valarie Edwards:

Ladies, this one is for you! I think men have kept the secret of road racing to themselves so we won’t know how much fun they’ve been having at the track. Here’s what happened. Recently, David and I, along with photographers Kevan Ward and Wayne Petty traveled to the Skip Barber Racing School at Road Atlanta in Braselton (about 45 minutes north of Atlanta ) as part of our Speed Tour of Georgia (premiering March 26th @ 9:00 PM). After first suiting up in our red rally suit and helmets, we then climbed into our Mazda Miata’s for a quick safety lesson from our instructors. (Check out the pix for how good looking these two are! Vrrrmmmmm vrrrmmmm!!) OK, seriously … these guys really know what they are doing.Even in the falling snow, the instructors, Sean and Rob controlled the cars through hairpin turns, reaching speeds of over 100 MPH. There’s even a part of the track called the skid pad that’s been slicked over to simulate an oil spill … we did it all, donuts and spinning, billowing tons of smoke. Yeah, I was holding on for dear life but hey, that’s ‘cause I was trying to hold on to my lunch too.Then, it was time for David and I to take the wheel and time off against one another. Long story short, David won the timed trials but was disqualified because he failed a regulation backup. I am officially claiming the race as a win for all womankind. (Insert end zone dance here.) This is serious fun anyone can enjoy. Check out the Skip Barber website for scheduled class times. Later we headed to nearby Chateau Elan for some serious winding down at The Spa at Chateau Elan. Everything about this place is FAB-U-LOUS! More about my visit to Chateau Elan in my next post. Let me just leave you with these few words … Chef Marc at Chateau Elan is H-O-TTTTTT.