Wine, A Birthday, and a Luxury Hotel

Or what happens when you're an eannegram seven


I have a habit of doing last-minute trips in October. At first, I say to myself, “let’s save money and not do anything,” but then next thing you know, that special birthday feeling overpowers me and I’m in a mad rush to go somewhere and do something exciting. What can I say - I’m a full eannegram 7. So, then I’ve done it. I’ve booked somewhere special.

Chateau Elan, 45 miles northeast of Atlanta has popped up more than once on my radar and this seemed like a perfect place to spend a birthday weekend. Done. The last king bedroom available was booked and the Better Half and I were off to enjoy a beautiful fall weekend.

But you want details, right? All the pros and cons……


The arrival greeting was so-so. The room was packed with wedding attendees (there were three happening there that weekend along with a women’s conference of some sort) and I got the feeling the front desk girl had had her share of check-ins. She became friendlier when talking about rating her a 10, a request I receive so often anymore, that I have started to space out when it gets said.


A true gem at arrival was Koray (I hope I spelled his name properly!!). This man, from the beginning, with helping us with our luggage, to getting us to the restaurant when the front doorman forgot about us for the shuttle, to giving us directions to the trails, etc. was excellent. And all the while remembering our names and helping a lot of other guests, too. This man, alone, reminds you of how a true luxury resort functions.


But I digress and let’s get back to the details. A pleasant atmosphere, clean, nicely decorated rooms, and situated on pretty grounds were a definite plus. The guest rooms were extremely quiet with heating and cooling controls that actually worked! The bed was so-so. Our first night was fine, but by the second night, the Better Half and I both had hurting backs.


No matter, we pushed on in our quest for the perfect weekend!


The winery is fun. For $65, you receive seven wine tastings with all wines made on the grounds. To note; only the muscadine grapes are actually grown here. This is the southeast and the soil and temperatures are not conducive to other varieties. But other varieties of grapes are purchased and brought in to make some nice wines to enjoy. HINT: purchase your tasting ticket when you get there and use it all weekend if you’re staying longer than one day.


Ladies - this is a well-appointed southern establishment. Wear one of three things: 1) your sexiest, tightest dress, 2) your cutest sundress with your southern belle hat, or 3) your flowing drama pants outfit. Seriously. But if you choose to wear jeans, do add your southern belle hat and it will work. I’m not kidding. This is Atlanta where southern and fashion meet. I won’t try to tell you how to work those lawn chairs with the tight dress but I think you’ll figure it out.


Opinion alert: guys - wear whatever you want, but don’t wear flip flops (my rule, not theirs - see other postings re my opinions on guys and flip flops anywhere but the pool or beach). Don’t believe me though? Go look at the gallery pics online - there are no flip flops! Girls do not want to see your feet. They want to see you dressed nicely and maybe even wearing a jacket.


We tried every restaurant on the premises and were never disappointed. Great staff and excellent food everywhere.


So what could possibly go wrong with all this for the weekend? Keep in mind, I do this every year. Every year I go to a luxury resort somewhere (Greenbrier in WV, Blackberry Farms in TN, and Old Edwards Inn in NC are wonderful examples). Seriously, those resorts have something - an essence if that’s the best word - that this resort did not. It’s a good resort, mind you, but think of an Embassy Suites instead of those I listed above. Maybe it was too many weddings and too many guests that showed up for breakfast in pajamas, but it seemed to lack a depth of character. Why do I compare them this way? Because they are all in a similar street price range and that’s really important in this class of hotel. Am I wrong? Have you had a different experience?


And one more problem. This resort charged an extra $45 per day resort fee, and three other taxes per day (state hotel tax of $5, a room tax of $33, and another random unexplained tax of $38 per day). Did I mention PER DAY? I know - a lot of states have added these random taxes, but they should be named properly. And a resort fee? Resort fees should be added to the price of the room and a real price given at the onset. But now for the last kicker - a Credit card processing fee every time you used your credit card. Every. Single Time. I know - buyer beware - and it’s too late for me, but now YOU know. Have I made my point? To hotels everywhere; give me a price and I’ll pay it - don’t hide behind hidden fees. Am I wrong on this, too? Feel free to let me know…..

So, a final analysis of Chateau Elan. Go for the day, enjoy a meal, enjoy the winery and take a few selfies on the beautiful grounds. Maybe even play golf, tennis or do the spa, but be careful about staying for more than a day or two.


P.S. Maybe it was coincidence, but we noticed zero kids on our weekend!


(Read more articles here on my blog and at pappasross.medium.com)


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