Oakhurst/Château du Sureau

Charming Relais & Châteaux property Château du Sureau (Elderberry Castle) has the distinct advantage of being located just 20 minutes from Yosemite National Park’s South gate.

Oakhurst/Château du Sureau

Built in the grand style of a European châteaux, the Five Diamond Award-winning Sureau was the original vision of Viennese chef and hotelier Erna Kubin-Clanin, who once studied scenic design in Vienna and later in London, drawing inspiration for the château from her visits to castles in Provence.

Oakhurst/Château du Sureau

The property has changed hands but the level of service and design have remained top-notch inside this gorgeous property nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Oakhurst/Château du Sureau

Passing through the iron gates and to the front entrance, hotel staff are waiting to welcome you and to bring your belongings to your room, a pleasant change from hotel check-in desks.

Oakhurst/Château du Sureau

Entering the Château, I’m immediately drawn to the attention to detail, from the stunning variety of antiques to the curvy staircase leading to the rooms upstairs.

A large, ornately-tasselled antique room key with a gold bar featuring your room number is placed inside a small box at the entrance, then collected upon your return.

Oakhurst/Château du Sureau

Relax in the Hapsburg-style salon (featuring a hand-painted domed ceiling and baby grand piano) following a sumptuous meal at onsite restaurant The Elderberry House, or stroll along the grounds where you can hear frogs in the little pond out back and crickets chirping around the hotel’s nature trail.

Oakhurst/Château du Sureau

Château du Sureau is beautifully illuminated at night, taking advantage of its imposing architectural details.

The attentive staff see to your every need (Emily and Cody came to my rescue when I was experiencing trouble with my rental car’s Bluetooth pairing!); turndown service includes pillow chocolates and a small hand-illustrated sign wishing you a bonne nuit.

Oakhurst/Château du Sureau

I looked forward to returning here at the end of each day to enjoy my room and the hotel’s peaceful surroundings.

Oakhurst/Château du Sureau

Rooms

There are 10 rooms to select from, each inspired by a fragrant herb native to the South of France. Whichever room you decide to call your own while exploring the region, each is lovingly styled with European antiques, a welcome bottle of wine and sweets plus a vase of fresh orchids.

Oakhurst/Château du Sureau

My Lavender Room on the second floor has a pretty wooden desk with a parrot lamp, stately wooden beams above, lots of built-in nooks housing antiques and vases of dried lavender, beautiful bathroom tiling, a wooden armoire (with a CD player and CDs inside) and a king bed in a mahogany wood frame and headboard.

There are paintings spread around the room, with even more antiques and objects d’art in the bathroom.

Oakhurst/Château du Sureau

A log in the wood-burning fireplace is ready to go when I’m in the mood for a relaxing night in. There’s even a tiny Canadian flag in a stand above the mantelpiece to welcome me in from Vancouver!

it’s easy to simply laze about and enjoy a fire in your room’s fireplace, along with a glass of Coquelicot organic estate wine from the Rosenen’s family vineyard.

Let the pampering begin … and continue throughout your stay, making this hotel an A-lister favourite: John C. Reilly was married here, with friends Will Farrell, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Jimmy Fallon in tow. Barbara Streisand and Jack Nicholson have been Château du Sureau regulars over the years too.

Oakhurst/Château du Sureau
[Nature trail outside hotel]

Thinking about a honeymoon in this idyllic part of the world? Sureau has a 2,000 square-foot Parisian styled villa with sitting salon, library, two bedrooms (each with their own marble bath), a petite cuisine and royal balcony. It has a private gated entrance for complete privacy (that is of course until you request the services of your personal butler, included with your stay).

Oakhurst/Château du Sureau

Sleep

Beds are super comfortable containing goose-down pillows and Italian linens; windows open for allowing fresh mountain air inside.

All lighting units have dimmers or low settings to prepare your body for a fitful sleep. At the soaker tub’s edge are a pair of tea lights and a glass bowl of bath salts.

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Spa, Pool

Onsite Spa du Sureau is just the ticket for winding down following a day of exploring stunning Yosemite National Park. There’s an extensive spa menu offering facials, massages, plus three traditional European Kurs: Thalassotherapy (marine therapy), Kräuter (herbal baths) and Thermal Mineral (using mud and medicinal elements).

Oakhurst/Château du Sureau

You might just opt for a Basalt Sone massage or the Hikers Repose to ease tension and soothe those sore muscles with arnica and ginger.

Oakhurst/Château du Sureau
[Spa du Sureau]

A full range of bride and groom services are also on offer should you choose to tie the knot at this stunning property.

Oakhurst/Château du Sureau

The inviting outdoor pool is perfect for warmer days. Outside the gate is a little walking path leading to a giant chessboard, pair of swings, gazebo and beautiful foliage.

The Elderberry House

Dining

Dining at The Elderberry House evokes an era of yesteryear in a room filed with antiques and French fabrics. This fine dining establishment has gained a loyal international following for its award-winning cuisine and curated wine list.

The Elderberry House

I dined here on my first evening in town and enjoyed a selection of local cheese, handmade pistachio crostini, a lovely bowl of ginger/squash soup and grilled chicken with tempura vegetables (made to order and gratefully appreciated following a long day of travels).

Oakhurst/Château du Sureau

All are artfully presented in small portions as to enjoy and pace yourself for an evening of five-coursed, prix-fixe deliciousness, all ingredients locally-sourced and organic from nearby Central Valley farms with Executive Chef Rob Snyder heading the culinary team.

The Elderberry House

The elegant, candlelit interior invites a gastronomic experience with optional wine pairing.

Oakhurst/Château du Sureau

Each morning, a hearty breakfast is served inside the Chateau for guests (the antique-filled breakfast room’s floor tile was sourced from an old church).

Oakhurst/Château du Sureau

A selection of fresh fruits and cereals are at each end of the room; a full breakfast with coffee or tea and juice follows, along with a copy of the daily newspaper.

Oakhurst/Château du Sureau

In warmer weather, breakfast extends to the outside adjacent patio.

Château du Sureau is located at 48688 Victoria Lane in Oakhurst, California. From Fresno Airport, it’s just under an hour’s drive. If you’re headed down from the Bay Area, count on just over three hours.

Oakhurst/Château du Sureau

My stay was hosted by Visit Yosemite | Madera County. Opinions, as always, are my own. Unwatermarked images courtesy of Château du Sureau.

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