For most, a trip to the Sierra Nevada is a rustic adventure, an escape to a wilder place. A hike (or rafting trip) into the back country and a night under the stars satisfies our deepest desire to connect with the wilderness. But we all need some pampering from time to time. Not far from where our Merced rafting trips meet, there is a place to experience that kind of luxury.
Visitors to Yosemite who are looking for a truly five star European style lodging and dining experience need look no further than the small town of Oakhurst, located on Highway 41 about 15 miles outside the Park’s south entrance. Here guests can step into the refined and elegant world of a fine Austrian Chateau. The Estates by the Elderberries is a luxury resort spread over 9 manicured acres and includes truly inspired first class dining at Erna’s Elderberry House Restaurant; a luxury 5 Diamond 10 room hotel, the Chateau du Sureau; a private villa, the Villa Sureau; and a state-of-the-art spa, the Spa du Sureau. The total effect is enchanting.
Erna’s Elderberry House Restaurant
Opened in 1986 by owner Erna Kubin-Clanin, Erna’s Elderberry House Restaurant quickly gained recognition and awards for its fine cuisine and discriminating wine list. An excellent 1987 review by New York Times restaurant critic and food editor, Craig Claiborne helped to spread the word. Erna’s attention to detail and uncompromising commitment to fine dining managed to create a world-class experience in this quiet corner of the Sierra Nevada. Travelers who take the time to discover this award-winning Michelin style gourmet restaurant will be rewarded with a truly unique and superlative 5-course dinner menu. Dinner is served nightly from 5:30pm to 8:00pm and Sunday Brunch 11:00am to 1:00pm.
Continued recognition and success allowed Erna to expand her vision of refined hospitality. In 1991 Chateau du Sureau opened its doors, offering a level of elegance and hospitality unmatched in the region. Awarded an AAA 5 Diamond and Forbes 5 Star rating, the Chateau is consistently rated as one of the top hotels in the US. Each room is decorated with impeccable taste. Professional staff make sure you feel at home during your stay at the Chateau, and every accommodation is made to make your visit one to remember.
Need a little more room? The Villa Sureau is your very own very private 2 bedroom, 2000 sq ft Villa, furnished in fine art and antiques, complete with two large marble baths and a outdoor Roman spa. Think weddings, honeymoons, anniversaries, couples getaways, post whitewater rafting luxury. Everyone deserves a little pampering, so go ahead and take it to the next level.
This latest addition to the property completes the experience. The Spa du Sureau offers massage, unique skin and facial treatments, and hydrotherapy pools. All packages begin with a delightful signature Elderberry Foot-bath providing a relaxing, refreshing prelude to your treatment. Much like paddling exciting whitewater, a stay at the Chateau is hard to describe in words, you must experience it for yourself. Visit their website at chateausureau.com.