Photos courtesy Chateau Elan Winery and Resort
Chateau Elan Winery and Resort is French in name and in style, a 16th-century-style chateau that flies flags atop its turrets on 3,500 acres 40 miles north of Atlanta.
But pure France it is not. Its Southern location and its well-traveled owners have given the conference resort multiple personalities.
• A few yards from the inn sits a true Irish pub, built in Dublin and reassembled in north Georgia as Paddy’s Irish Pub. Commissioned by resort owners Donald and Nancy Panoz, it is a reminder of the 20 years they lived and worked in Ireland.
• Over at the resort’s 2,600-square-foot arena, used only on weekends for horse shows, weeknights might find what resort staff describe as “an upscale redneck party” in progress. A hay wagon serves as a shuttle; beer is drunk from long-necked bottles and a mechanical bull might entertain.
• Car racing rules in the South, so it is no surprise that cars at the Skip Barber Racing School at Road Atlanta a few miles away get a workout. Recently, the school fulfilled a corporate group’s “need for speed in a Mazda MX-5 while enjoying a healthy dose of competition,” said Doug Rollins, vice president of sales and marketing. Donald Panoz and his son operate Panoz MotorSports, which owned Road Atlanta until last year when NASCAR bought it.
Of course, even with those diversions, there is plenty of European ambiance for those who want that experience without the transatlantic travel and expense.
A European health spa is ensconced in its own mansion, with 36 treatment rooms, a restaurant, pools and 14 guest suites.
“For the right size executive group, the spa can be a wellness retreat,” said Rollins.