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In the Shadow of Yosemite National Park, Château du Sureau Steals the Spotlight

Château du Sureau
Château du Sureau and its Elderberry House restaurant are destinations unto themselves; the fact that glorious Yosemite National Park is nearby is simply an added bonus.

Visitors to Yosemite National Park have their choice of overnight accommodations—from the ICONIC Ahwahnee within the park’s valley floor, to more budget-friendly options just outside its boundaries. But absolutely none match the charm of the European-inspired Château du Sureau located in Oakhurst, a relative stone’s throw from Yosemite’s South Gate.

With a mere 10 rooms, and a separate two-room villa, this luxe, service-oriented Relais & Châteaux inn is not your typical high turnover hotel geared toward those merely passing through. Château du Sureau and its Elderberry House restaurant are destinations unto themselves; the fact that glorious Yosemite National Park is nearby is simply an added bonus. 

The elegant property is owned by the Rosenson family whose small hospitality empire includes Solvang’s charming Mirabelle Inn and outstanding First & Oak restaurant, San Francisco’s luxurious Mansion on Sutter, and Los Olivos’ Coquelicot Organic Estate Vineyard, from which a complimentary bottle of wine is offered in each sumptuous Château du Sureau room. 

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Additional amenities included in every Château du Sureau stay include a delicious welcome snack with fruit infused iced tea, turn down treats and a gourmet three-course breakfast, served in-room or within the inn’s dining room, which is suffused with the melodies of classical piano-interpreted pop songs. (Trust us, this lovely soundtrack is more than fitting.) 

The lush grounds beg for exploration. A garden path leads to a shimmering pond over which a set of swings is poised. A giant chess set and a bocce court provide a bit of entertainment. And when the sun shines brightly, there’s no better spot at which to relax than the sparkling swimming pool. 

In cooler months, the inn’s large, French antique-filled living room is warmed by a massive fireplace, adjacent to which is a turret-situated piano that beckons all pianists. Though it would be easy to remain on property in order to fully enjoy these attributes, it would be a shame to miss the majesty of nearby Yosemite—a two night (or longer) stay allows for full enjoyment of both. 

Yosemite National Park’s South Gate is a mere 16 miles from Château du Sureau and the valley floor is an additional hour. Ask the kitchen to pack you a picnic lunch, which you can enjoy at a number of spectacular vantage points. Spend the day hiking and exploring Yosemite’s natural wonders before returning to a well-earned, multi-course dinner at The Elderberry House. Just steps from your Château du Sureau room, this fine-dining restaurant melds French technique with local, seasonal ingredients. A stellar wine list features a multitude of favorites from France and California. The sumptuous, twinkle-lit dining room is warmed by a central fireplace, while in warmer weather, a European-inspired patio allows for al fresco dining. 

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Elderberry House Patio

And the rooms. Each features lofty down comforters, intricate textiles, deep soaking tubs, Molton Brown toiletries, and working fireplaces. To state that Château du Sureau is a hidden gem is an understatement. This gracious inn is a revelation – one not to be missed on its own merits. But if seeking a little luxury with your Yosemite exploration, this is the spot for you.

To state that Château du Sureau is a hidden gem is an understatement. This gracious inn is a revelation – one not to be missed on its own merits.

THE MAJESTY OF YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

“It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of nature I was ever permitted to enter,” said ICONIC naturalist John Muir of Yosemite National Park

Anyone who visits likely agrees with his sentiment. The awe-inspiring vistas of this glorious National Park never get old, especially when the panorama changes nearly every hour with the shifting sun, and with every season. 

Half Dome

Photo by Kim Lawson

In summer, verdant meadows fill with wildflowers. Fall features a blaze of fiery color that is eventually blanketed by winter white snow. In spring, as temperatures warm, Yosemite National Park’s waterfalls flow feverishly, filling rivers and streams with the energy of Mother Nature. Round any corner, and the vantage point is even more spectacular than that which preceded. 

El Capitan and Half Dome might dominate, but beauty lurks within every inch of this protected wilderness. Take your hiking shoes and spend a day (5 – 7 hours) walking the 13-mile Valley Floor loop in order to observe every magnificent inch of this California treasure. Or tour within your car, and hop out when inspiration strikes. (Be sure to check the park’s website prior to arrival in order to learn of any weather related road conditions and closures. And during busy summer months, make a reservation, which the park requires between May 20 and September 30 in order to control crowds.) 

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