Château Élan Winery & Resort, the enchanting château and full‐service winery nestled among North Georgia’s picturesque foothills, unveils plans today for an extensive $25 million dollar renovation, scheduled for completion in November 2019. The complete transformation introduces a fresh, yet timeless, modernized design while delivering a unique, distinctly southern concept dressed in French undertones, honoring the existing estate’s 16th century‐style charm. Beckoning a new generation, the transformation will include a complete overhaul of 251 guestrooms and 24 suites, four new food and beverage outlets, the winery, as well as the resort lobby, with a facelift to the existing pool terrace and immersive spa.
Conceptualized by the Atlanta‐based interior and architectural design firm, BLUR Workshop, the team was tasked to lead the multi‐million dollar renovation formulating a design concept representative of the resort’s vast southern locale – inspired by the surrounding rolling hills and lush vineyards. Accessorized with local artwork, further defining its sense of place, the new design features a modern palate painted in variations of gray and taupe with pops of chartreuse, turquoise and gold, warmed by rich wood accents, elegant lighting, white Calcutta marble and industrial touches including tufted leather, wrought iron and carved limestone. Giving a nod to its topography, the design will boast vineyard inspired details throughout, with the most dramatic being a custom‐made glass chandelier hand‐blown in Crystal Valley of the Czech Republic, shaped to mimic the shifting grape vines along the vast rolling hills.
“Embarking on a renovation of this magnitude for a resort destination with such a well‐respected reputation requires a committed responsibility to honor the property’s legacy, while still delivering upon the modernized expectation to mirror our ever‐growing wine, epicurean and experiential programs,” said Ed Walls, general manager, Château Élan Winery & Resort. “Every single detail was hand‐selected with great intention and we cannot wait to introduce the new generation to our beloved Chateau Élan.”
Project details include:
- Full redesign of 251 guestrooms and 24 suites including custom designed carpeting, bathrooms with upgrades including freestanding vanity areas made of wood and stone. The selected color palette of greys and taupes simplify the backdrop, allowing for pops of walnut, brushed oak and the studded, leather‐tufted headboard to make a statement.
- Upgrading corridors to create a clean and sophisticated feel, the reimagination uses local Georgia carpeting, a raw silk inspired wall covering layered by local art and iron sconces to help tell the resort’s rich, modernized story.
- Maximizing every square foot to enhance the resort’s public spaces, the renovation will include a fully refurbished lobby, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere complete with a centrally located, custom carved limestone fireplace and hand‐tufted rugs. The atrium will also be fully transformed with white marble and natural details complimented by polished bronze and gold accents, in addition to adding a cozy, vintage‐inspired library and 2,000‐piece crystal chandelier dripping across the glass ceiling – evoking the shifting landscape of the vineyard.
- Adding flair to both flavor and design, the renovation calls for both revamped and completely new food and beverage outlets to create individualized, yet cohesive, gathering options.
- Adding to the ‘new’ will be a coffee and wine bar located in the lobby, which delivers a modern take on a Paris café, combined with a curated gift shop and outdoor seating. The Marc Bar will be added to the back of the winery restaurant incorporating French oak, iron accents and soapstone. The all‐new expansive Atrium Bar, designed to anchor the grand room, will be crowned with an iconic 40‐foot Douglas fir wood sculpture, which was crafted around the vineyard’s movement to be interactive, changing views as you drift through the space.
- The revamped areas include a complete transformation of Versailles, the American cuisine buffet located in the Atrium and a full overhaul, including rebranding, of the existing L’Auberge Lounge to Louis’ House of Bourbon ‐ which will act as a contemporary sports bar with the ambiance of an old‐world speakeasy. With wood paneling, leather furniture, eclectic art, neon signage and a curated bourbon display behind the glowing amber bar, the lounge will be a junction between country and chic to evoke the southern charm of Kentucky bourbon, while the old‐world accents recall the bar’s French namesake, Louis.
“We were tasked by Wheelock Street Capital to deliver a new and fresh image for Château Élan: one that was distinctly southern and sophisticated, yet welcoming,” said Foreman Rogers, principal, BLUR Workshop. “It was important to us to make the design authentic, using as many local artists and craftsmen as possible.”
The renovation of Château Élan Winery & Resort follows the recent purchase of the property by an affiliate of the Connecticut based real estate investment firm, Wheelock Street Capital, in January 2018. “Since joining the Château Élan family, we have looked forward to this much anticipated transformation,” said Keith Manning, vice president of asset management, Wheelock Street Capital. “Creating a cohesive, refreshed and timeless design, was the natural next step to set the tone for our guests and elevate the overall resort experience.”
Located within the bustling Atlanta metro of Braselton, Château Élan Winery & Resort offers guests a unique destination experience accessorized by lush vineyards and marked by its unmatched luxury, distinguished offerings and amenities. Home to one of the most awarded wineries on the east coast, a variety of delectable restaurants, 40,000‐square‐feet of meeting space, a 35,000‐square‐foot European spa, 45 holes of championship golf and a newly renovated golf club house and tennis center, Château Élan invites guests of all preferences to explore and enjoy the property’s picturesque land and architecture.
About HEI Hotels & Resorts
HEI Hotels & Resorts, headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., is a leading hospitality company that acquires, develops, owns and operates full‐service, upper upscale and luxury hotels and resorts, as well as, premium select‐service hotels throughout the United States under such well‐known brand families as Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and IHG. HEI takes a holistic approach to creating value for its investors and employees by setting the highest standards across all aspects of hotel management and operation and focusing on the central principles of excellence and continuous improvement. HEI prides itself on some of the highest employee satisfaction scores in the hospitality industry, fuels local economic prosperity by investing in communities and is committed to environmental stewardship and sustainability. For more information about HEI, visit www.heihotels.com.
About Wheelock Street Capital
Wheelock Street Capital (www.wheelockst.com) was formed in 2008 by Rick Kleeman and Jonathan Paul, two veteran real estate private equity investors, each with over 25 years of broad real estate transaction experience across all major asset classes. Wheelock has since raised over $2 billion in capital commitments and is currently investing its fifth fund comprising $725 million of commitments from leading pension funds, endowments and foundations. Wheelock will invest in a broad range of real estate assets throughout the United States. The fund may invest directly or with high quality joint venture partners through a variety of capital structures and transaction types, including acquisitions, restructurings, and recapitalizations.
About BLUR Workshop
BLUR Workshop is a design firm based out Atlanta, GA comprised of a team of energetic and capable professionals that have worked together continuously for the last 23 years. Our team offers full professional design services for both hospitality interior design and hospitality architecture. These services are led by industry veterans Liz Neiswander, Foreman Rogers, Scott Sickeler, Peter Green and Scott Morris. Together, this team has been instrumental in the design of $2.75 billion and 10,750,000 sq. ft. of constructed, award‐ winning work, delivered in budget and on time without a claim. BLUR Workshop was created with purpose. Even the name reflects our vision. We believe great hospitality environments blend exterior and interior, architecture and interior design. We think this notion is even more important in making a great resort. It is this blurring of disciplines that truly represents the way we approach our design process. The Workshop portion of our name comes from a desire to have a more hands‐on design process in which models and mockups become even more integral to our detailed and thoughtful design process.