Château Élan Winery & Resort is a picturesque destination tucked off of Interstate 85 in Braselton, Georgia. The resort has more than meets the eye when it comes to what it has to offer to for an event planner. Known for its wine and beautiful wedding ceremonies, Château Élan has a diverse list of options for meeting spaces, both indoor and outdoor. The 3,500-acre property is home to a newly renovated hotel, a spa with an outdoor pond and walking trail, tennis courts and golf courses for outdoor activities, a conference center with 40,000 square feet of meeting space and a winery with 11 venues for meetings and events.
On a beautiful weekend in January, I had the pleasure of experiencing Château Élan and looking at it with future events in mind. As I explored, I was shocked at how big the property is and the number of ideas that automatically came to mind while thinking of planning an event. The check-in experience was quick and easy, which is something that we, as event planners, expect for our attendees.
The Inn features 250 guest rooms that are clean, modern and spacious with big windows and natural light coming from views of the surrounding acres. The walls are thick, and I didn’t hear outside noise from other guests on my floor. The bathrooms are bright, spacious and feature a walk-in shower with a bathtub option. I would be proud to put attendees in these rooms knowing I felt comfortable and clean in them.
Located in the center of The Inn is the conference center, which begins with a wide hallway that would be perfect for registration, sponsored booths or a cocktail reception. The high ceilings made the space feel luxurious, and windows from the atrium and outside doors gave the space a bright ambience. The design of the conference center is made of neutral beiges and whites with touches of marbled floors and beautiful archways. The breakout rooms and ballrooms are large with an outdoor patio close by overlooking the golf course, which took away the feeling of a stuffy conference center.
Although not fully private, the atrium within The Inn is a gorgeous space for cocktail receptions for a large group. The atrium has beautiful lighting with modern furniture and a grand staircase leading to the first floor. I would utilize this space if I were also using the ballroom or breakout rooms in the conference center. For a more private reception in the same vicinity, Louis’ House of Bourbon has a masculine feel with leather sofas, game tables and specialty cocktails. A DJ booth is available in the corner, while large TV’s are mounted on the walls for presentations or sponsored videos.
The Winery is great for a private event or a group wine tasting. The open space allows for a large group to interact with one another while tasting the variety of wines that are all bottled on the property. The walls are lined with wine bottles for purchase, which makes for a great amenity when hosting planners at The Inn. I tasted my wine, along with an array of cheeses and roasted Georgia pecans, while sitting at a cocktail table made from a barrel. The open space is large and versatile and can be arranged for groups of any size.
The culinary experience at Château Élan is exquisite with 10 restaurants and bars on property showcasing Southern cuisine, Irish pub food, Mediterranean meals and healthy dishes. I dined at The Marc for dinner, which is located next door to the Winery and could act as an extension of the space for a larger event. The patio overlooks the vineyard and is a sight to see during a Georgia sunset. The menu consists of delicious Southern-inspired dishes such as tempura fried pickled okra, seared sea scallops and grits. I recommend planners have a specialty cocktail, such as the Bulldog Smash, at an open bar for their guests when hosting in this space.
For a more casual group dinner or reception, Paddy’s Irish Pub is the place to be. The room was full of couples and groups listening to live music and enjoying soft pretzels with beer cheese and Irish beers. The menu is adventurous and pairs well with Jameson. The live music and outdoor seating are a bonus that will surely lead to laughter and dancing among your group. The Spa also has a more casual dining setting with its healthful restaurant, Fleur-De-Lis. Here you can find eccentric meals such as crab cake Benedict or pumpkin French toast.
The resort has plenty of locations to create Instagram-worthy experiences for your guests. Wellness is a big experience I have incorporated for attendees, and I felt The Spa at Château Élan is the perfect place for this. I was able to enjoy time relaxing and brainstorming what could take place inside this cozy space. The spa is located next to a pond with a walking trail and also has an aerobics room with classes each morning. In addition to this, we like to incorporate yoga into our events and this would be great for a yoga session in the vineyard outside of The Inn. Nearby you will find two golf courses consisting of 45 holes that are great for a golf tournament as well.
I left the weekend at Château Élan full of bright ideas and surprised at what the resort has to offer. The kindness and hospitality of the staff, the delicious food and the open spaces are exciting to me as an event planner who showcases properties for our audience. I found myself wishing to plan a future event at this relaxing resort.