While the words French and chateau are often used together, I discovered not all great chateaus must be in France. The stately residence of Chateau de Sureau does a rather fine imitation of a country estate that could certainly allow your imagination take you to the French countryside. This Relais & Chateaux property did not disappoint offering a cozy feel and impeccable service. It is located in the small town of Oakhurst, California and perfectly positions one to spend time in Yosemite National Park. This intimate hotel offers a mere 10 rooms. In addition, there is Villa du Sureau. It is a stones throw from the main property and boasts two additional guest rooms or can be rented out as a whole and sleeps four individuals.
My stay took me to the property for a total of two nights in the Thyme Room. All of the rooms have lovely names and their own unique decor. On their website, you can easily scrutinize the furnishings of each room to find the one that is right for you. For ease, here is the link to learn more about the property https://chateausureau.com/. Due to the small size, it can be difficult to find availability particularly if you are set on staying in a specific room. Honestly, I ended up staying in the Thyme Room because it was the only one available during the time frame I was looking at. I recommend planning well in advance for a stay at this property. I immensely enjoyed my room in the main Chateau, but the Villa did look incredible particularly the beautiful fountain in the back and the small outdoor Roman Spa for relaxing. There is a massive balcony as well. If you are looking for privacy and opulence, this would be the way to go.
From the moment I arrived, the level of service that was going to be received was evident. I announced my arrival at the call box and the large iron gate slowly opened. As I made the short approach, three individuals were lined up on the stairs to greet me and tend to my luggage. As far as getting to the chateau, driving to the property is really necessary. The closest airport is the Fresno Yosemite International Airport. San Jose and San Francisco are additional options, but they are a much longer drive. I flew into San Jose due to the second part of my trip being in Berkeley. From the San Jose Airport to the property, the drive was about 3.5 hours. Needless to say, when I arrived at the hotel around check in, I was ready for some relaxation. After bringing your things inside, the staff will provide a tour of the property including the gardens outside, breakfast area, and what I will call the great room. Not too long after I settled in my room and arranged a time for breakfast, a tray of goodies was delivered. This included a turkey wrap with small almond cookies and a glass of tea. Already in the room was a mini coffee cake and little pastries dispersed throughout the room. Possibly the best part was a bottle of red wine that could be enjoyed during the stay or brought home to enjoy later. It was a 2011 vintage of Coquelicot from the Santa Ynez Valley. Outside of the food and wine left in the room, the Molton Brown bath products were a scent that really suited my tastes. The bath salts for the soaking tub were just as pleasing. The salts were presented in a glass bowl with a silver spoon. The adjacent card indicated the scent Frankincense intended to invoke calm and known to relieve stress. The display was such a nice touch. I’m suddenly reminiscing to my glass of red wine and the aroma of the bath salts in the soaking tub right now.
Some things that you can indulge in while on the property are the spa, pool, bocce ball court, life size chess board, gardens to peruse, and an upscale restaurant. Breakfast is provided each morning that includes two courses and, of course, a basket of croissants. Each day I started with the meat and cheese plate, which was the starter of my choice. The main courses during my stay were an egg frittata and eggs benedict. If you so choose, the property will pack you a picnic lunch to take with you to Yosemite or wherever you might want to enjoy it for $18. In the afternoon, the pool was my favorite place to relax. The temperature was perfect and there was plenty of shade. Even though the seating isn’t plentiful, I never had a problem getting a seat and, most often, I had the entire pool to myself. I did not try any spa services, but you can find more information at https://chateausureau.com/spa-sureau/. If you need any additional food options or forgot to pack something, the small town of Oakhurst does provide additional restaurants and a number of grocery stores. I stopped at Raley’s for food and drink both days on my way to Yosemite.
For dinner each evening, I had a reservation at the Elderberry House Restaurant. It is on property and a short walk past the pool and gardens. They offer a three ($70) and four ($90) course tasting menu each night. Due to convenience, I ate here both nights. Outside of the mere proximity, this restaurant really is fantastic. This could potentially lose its luster if you stayed at the property many nights as the menu choices do not change. There is a soup/salad course with three choices. The soup does change daily and the salads remain the same. The appetizer options include five selections. There is a choice of four main dishes. Last, you have the option to choose between three desserts. The difference between the three and four course tasting is the addition of the appetizer course. The chef has been at the property for years and the dishes were beautifully presented and excellent. One of the appetizer choices was caviar, which I don’t frequently have the occasion to enjoy. It was an exciting menu item to see! The cocktail list was small, but they do have some craft cocktail options. I tried the Elderberry Fizz. The wine list had some unique choices by the glass one of which was from the same vineyard as the bottle in our room. This was the Coquelicot Rose from Santa Ynez Valley. I thought this winery provided some great choices at a very reasonable $14 per glass.
I have to talk about a few fantastic things to do around bedtime. While you are gone for dinner, they will leave a small bag with bottled water and a tasty pastry or cookies. The treat was different each night and packaged beautifully. The rooms have fireplaces, which is such a great addition that you certainly don’t see with frequency in hotels rooms. They leave a log that is simple to burn by just lighting each end. It was just perfect right around bedtime. Finally, whether it is during the day or for a nightcap, don’t miss the opportunity to sit in the great room. It is lavish with a grand piano, many books, and a chess board. Whether you are enjoying a glass of wine, playing a game, or reading it is such a lovely place to admire. Perhaps the best part, if forced to choose, was the bed. This canopy bed was so cozy with luxurious, noticeably soft sheets. It was definitely a standout. In the morning, they will deliver coffee or tea to your door dependent on your preferences. I chose the raspberry tea, and it was such a great start to the morning. It would be safe to say that they provided all of the things needed for relaxation and a great night’s rest.
Well, another amazing Relais & Chateaux property left me nothing short of enchanted. Although, I think the pattern of excellence was already making itself evident. The Chateau de Sureau offers a peaceful stay with refined service. A 2-3 night stay will allow you to take advantage of everything the area has to offer.