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On the edge of one of America’s most beautiful natural landmarks, lies the perfect European chateau hotel run by a warm-hearted Viennese woman, Erna Kubin-Clanin. The hotel is a time capsule of stone on six manicured acres, the living room a Hapsburg salon with its elaborate detailing and its burgundy walls. The gardens are dramatic in a continental manner with an enormous chessboard in the center that will make you feel like Alice in Wonderland. Beds are swathed in canopies, Oriental carpets cover the dark wood floors, headboards are Victorian and even the glass in the windows is 19th century. Fireplaces are stone and keys are heavy and silver with thick silk tassels.
Service is appropriately chivalrous. Maids scurry in ruffled aprons, to dust, stoke the fire, and bring you finger sandwiches and mulled claret in the evenings. The newly built Villa Sureau, a white and gold wedding cake of a building separate from the main house, includes a butler, along with two bedrooms and a study, Empire period chaise lounges and commodes and free use of a Jeep. And the butler has plenty to do—unpack, press trousers and schedule engagements, as well as make sure your bath is drawn, your pillows are plumped, and your crystal decanter of port on the sideboard is filled.
Then there’s the food. Chateau Sureau is the only place for miles that you can get a decent meal—and what a meal it is. Frau Kubin-Clanin takes a hearty Bavarian approach to the appetite. Forget three square meals a day; at Sureau, there are at least five. Even breakfast is a two-course affair, and dinner nothing less than poached quail eggs, black truffles, and grilled beef tenderloin.
At night unwind in the library where leather-bound books confront leather-bound chairs, or in the salon, where the musically gifted can tinkle away on the baby grand. And you thought that you had to bring your camping gear in order to enjoy Yosemite. It may be a touch too decadent for die-hard wilderness buffs, but it suits us just fine. Thoreau can keep his shack in the woods. We prefer to enjoy nature like his mentor Emerson—in a civilized fashion.
How to get there: Chateau du Sureau is located at The Estate by the Elderberries. It is a 45 minute drive from Fresno, about a 3 hour drive from the San Francisco area, and approximately 4 hours north of Los Angeles. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for directions.
- 9 Rooms
- Style: Traditional Elegance
- Atmosphere: Secluded
- Chateau du Sureau
- 48688 Victoria Lane
- Oakhurst, CA, USA
Hotel amenities and services
- Free parking
- Free wi-fi
- Outdoor swimming pool