Intimate charmer in Yosemite's shadow
10 Rooms / 2 Suites
Step into Château du Sureau and you’ll feel like you’ve entered a European castle, but this elegant resort is only 14 miles away from Yosemite National Park. Spend a day exploring the park’s wonders, then return to Provencal architecture, sumptuous furnishings and impeccable service at the hotel.
Vienna-born Erna Kubin-Clanin opened Château du Sureau in 1991. Her vision was to create a world-class resort that evoked the sophistication and luxury of Provence in this mountainous area of California. A hint at how lavish the boutique hotel is: Affixed to the doorway, a small plaque inscribed with a quote by Oscar Wilde reads, “I have the simplest of taste, I only want the best.”
Château du Sureau rises out of the golden California foothills, its dazzling white walls and terracotta-tiled rooftops towering over Italian cypress trees. Stroll up the stone walkway and through the heavy, wooden door and you’ll swear you’ve just entered an enchanted palace. No detail has been spared in creating the Old World allure of a European castle.
High ceilings and arched windows filter the natural light, illuminating the details that make the luxury hotel so grand. Thick Persian rugs obscure 300-year-old ceramic tiles from France, and the hallways are decorated with medieval tapestries and oil paintings. In the common area, leather-bound books encircle hand-carved furniture, and a grand piano rests under a frescoed ceiling that’s reminiscent of the Sistine Chapel.
Situated on nine acres of manicured lawns and whimsical gardens, the grounds of Château du Sureau are as beautiful as the interior. Lounge beside the outdoor pool while you sip on a glass of Bordeaux or meander through the garden to discover a hidden gazebo and sparkling fountains. Don’t miss the life-sized chessboard. While you indulge in a lively game of chess, a butler will provide a glass of elderberry iced tea to keep you cool.
Ten rooms offer variations on luxury. Steep in the opulence of the Saffron Room with its immense wardrobe and canopied bedframe of ebony wood inlaid with ivory, or retreat to the Lavender Room and imagine you’re Rapunzel about to let down her hair as you gaze from the windows of the stone turret.
Every room has its own richly tiled bathroom, stone fireplace and king-sized feather bed encased in fine linen sheets. Antique writing desks inspire your creativity, and a viewing balcony of the gardens invite leisurely afternoons. In the morning, enjoy a freshly baked croissant with housemade elderberry jam.
For more privacy, stay in the Villa Sureau, a two-bedroom gated villa that’s the choice of Hollywood celebrities who come to visit Yosemite. The villa has a dining balcony, an outdoor Jacuzzi tub and 16-foot ceilings with equally tall windows draped in silk curtains. Antique armoires disguise modern amenities like a sound system and flat-screen television.
When you’re ready for a bite to eat, make a reservation at the Château’s in-house restaurant, Erna’s Elderberry House. Named after the elderberries that cover the grounds, this Four-Star restaurant specializes in farm-to-table cuisine. The prix fixe menu changes daily and is whipped up by chef Jonathon Perkins. With dishes such as seared halibut clam chowder, spruce and blackberry braised wagyu short ribs and roasted hazelnut panna cotta, this fine-dining experience is a must. Every plate is paired with a wine from the restaurant’s extensive cellar.
Relax and regenerate at Château du Sureau’s Art Deco-themed spa. The spa is lavishly furnished and its soft colors and natural light soothe you. A team of skilled therapists will pamper you with body wraps, massages and refreshments. Make sure to try the spa’s Hydrostorm treatment, an enormous couple’s shower that massages your entire body with alternating steam and hot water.