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A couple of weekends ago my siblings and I gathered at my father’s place in Greenville, SC to send my sister off on an extended assignment to China with Intel Corp. My wife and I decided to add a couple of days to the trip and visit Chateau Elan for a couple of nights and I thought I’d report back some impressions here.

The entrance is just a couple of hundred yards off I-85 exit 126 in Georgia. The holiday Inn Express is across from this entrance on GA State Road 211. You enter the property on a causeway into the estate of rolling hills with the winery building appearing ahead and the main inn off to the right, which sits slightly lower than the winery. A right turn before the winery will take you down and around behind the inn to the more secluded Spa building which has rooms as well. A left here takes you around to the new equestrian center. The main parking area is shared between the winery and the inn and is at the winery’s elevation putting it a short walk up some stairs from the inn’s entrance.

Check in was quick and the staff was extremely friendly. We were always greeted by staff members wherever we went and they seemed eager to please. Having grown up in the deep south but not spending much time there recently, it was a pleasure to hear those Georgia accents again although not all the staff is originally local. They all wear name tags that identify from where the hail.

Our room overlooked the pool area. It was large and very well appointed in a French motif with a king bed, quality linens, and plush comforter and pillows. The large bath had a tub and a separate shower either of which could take two if you’re so inclined. A turndown service is available. The only negative I could find is a peeve of mine and that is the how the bed is made. It seems hotels just can’t tuck in the sheets well enough for me. A little prevention on my part usually satisfies this.

There are several restaurants on site. The winery has a very upscale French spot with the no prices type of menu. Also in the winery is a Mediterranean bistro with entrees in the $15-$20 range which we did not try. In the ground floor of the winery at the same elevation of the inn’s entrance (about 100-150 yds away) is Paddys. This is an Irish pub built by the founders of Chateau Elan in Ireland and then moved to this location and reassembled. Bill of fare here is definitely pub style ranging from $7 to $12 with a nice selection of adult beverages. In the main inn in the atrium is the Versailles restaurant. We had lunch buffet there for about $15 each and it was excellent. Rib eye, tilapia, chicken, veggies, desserts, etc. Great selection and very well prepared. There is another sports type bar on the main level overlooking the atrium we did not have the opportunity to try due to private functions. It serves appetizers and sandwiches. This is the only smoking location on the property as it meets the new Georgia law requiring separate ventilation. Cigars are allowed according to the bartender over at Paddys. Overall the estate’s food is excellent but my personal feeling is a little more availability of moderate priced fare would be nice.

Behind the main inn is a tennis center with several courts and an assigned pro at the shop. Also below and behind the inn there is an executive Par 3 golf course and some walking trails. We discovered an interesting challenge course on a walk through this area with a rock climbing tower, high wire walks, rope nets and a few other rigs high in the pines. The main inn has a large pool, a smaller indoor pool and a Jacuzzi all adjacent to a well appointed gym. The two full up golf courses are up the road a mile or so and there are golf villas there which I believe will also be available at CCR. The estate runs a fleet of shuttles and if you want to go any where they will round one up immediately. This includes rides to another off site restaurant called The Carriage House about 15 minutes away serving southern cuisine. They also shuttle to and from local shopping and horseback riding as there is nothing presently at the equestrian facility. There are numerous meeting/banquet rooms on the atrium floor level.

It was actually a little quiet there during our short stay. They did have a couple of business groups there but overall occupancy was low. We will see how the staff performs under a full load. Not having yet been to a CCR, I’m not certain how our organizers will set up the vendors and such on the grounds but it seems that there should be ample space. All in all, a pleasant experience and it seems like a good choice. We’re looking forward to attending next year.
 

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Thanks for the report. Good to hear from an otherwise unbiased reporter on the venue. We have a lot of work to do, but it promises to be a great one, which we hope you'll decide to attend.
 

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All we need now are some buffalo, coyotes, elk, bear (both black and grizzly) and us 05 CCR attendees will feel at home!

I will not miss the big ride, but that was fun. This ride of only 150 miles will feel as if we hadn't been anywhere.

Later y'all!
 

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OMAHA! What's in Omaha? Maybe a trip to the Key's and back up to Ga?
BTW, Georgia in late August early September is fine. Still warm and not as many bugs. Evenings are great.
 
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