Château Élan At The Vintage

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Romantic Getaways NSW - Château Élan At The Vintage

If love to escape to the country from time to time, and looking for a romantic getaway, there's a plethora of options just a few hour's drive from Sydney. For many people, however, a perennial favourite is the Hunter Valley, a picturesque region packed with vineyards, wineries, high end restaurants and top class resorts; there's also plenty to keep visitors amused, from wine tasting to horse riding and ballooning. If you love golf, spas, spacious accommodations and fine dining, one of our favourite places to consider is Château Élan at the Vintage, a $40 million retreat tucked away in Rothbury boasting a championship golf course as well as an elegant restaurant, a luxurious day spa, and spacious accommodations to use as a base for exploring, or simply to relax and enjoy.

The Rooms:

The entire resort has a modern, contemporary design, encompassing simple and minimalist elements, and with plenty of understated elegance. There is a mix of accommodations to choose from, including Spa King Rooms, Spa Suites, and One Bedroom and Two Spa Villas, all tastefully appointed with all everything you need for a relaxing and romantic weekend away. Our room for two nights was a Spa King, one of several in a cluster of buildings flanking the golf course. It was ground floor, with a courtyard featuring a table and two chairs, and expansive views; it's a lovely spot to enjoy a glass of wine at sunset, while watching kangaroos hop by.

The was open plan with a bedroom and generous living area, and a bathroom featuring a huge walk-in shower and a large spa bath. Conveniently, parking is close by, just up from the pathway leading to the door. The decor included an earthy brown-grey plush carpet, a mixture of warm beige and dark plum walls, earthy drapes, and warm wood furniture, with a glass topped desk and 42" flat screen TV diving the two areas. The TV swivels around so it it can be watched from comfortable king-sized bed adorned with crisp white linen, or from the living area, and comes with Austar including cable sports and news. The living area comprised a long soft in a dark beige and cream colour and hessian fabric, with a green easy chair and a large circular leather coffee table with a wooden top. Splashes of colour included the striking artworks, and cushions on the sofa, chair and bed. The room is also equipped with Wi-Fi.

Other facilities in the room included an iPod docking station, a Sony Dream Machine alarm clock, reverse cycle air conditioning, a fully stocked mini-bar, and a long wall of wardrobes including tea and coffee making facilities, and iron and iron board, a safe, and some wine glasses. The bathroom was huge, with large warm beige tiles, marble effect stone tops on the vanity, and there was a lovely spa bath big enough for two. Toiletries are also provided, including shampoo, conditioner and so on, from the luxury Appelles range.

Other Facilities:

The spa is a spacious facility with 18 treatment rooms, separate locker rooms for men and women, and a comfortable relaxation area with a view of the countryside. The decor consists of cream walls, furnishings with simple lines, and lots of dark wood, all of which is generally easy on the eye. This spa offers a range of luxury brands, including Dermalogica, Kerstin Florian face and body treatments, massages of the world, and HEALite II therapy, which is a pain relief treatment using light. Château Élan also has a hair salon. There is also a pool on the property, and tennis courts.

If you fancy a hit of golf, the Vintage Golf Club features an 18-hole Greg Norman designed golf course which is ranked among the best in Australia. The course measures 6,310 metres with a par of 71 and is the only Greg Norman designed public access golf course in the Hunter Valley and NSW; it's respected for its challenges, including signature bunkers and water traps, and a much feared 8th hole a par 3 deal-breaker. The driving range is open seven days a week, and there's a practice putting green located near the Golf Shop, with golf clubs available for hire, and golf lessons including women's and children's There are specially tailored packages, and guests of the hotel receive discounted golf rates.

When it comes to food and dining, Café Élan is the French inspired parlour just off reception where you can enjoy coffee, treats and elegant high tea. For dinner, or a cocktail, guests head to the Legends Grill, overlooking the 18th hole of the golf course, which offers indoor or alfresco dining when the weather permits. The property's chef is Tony Maher, who designs menus which showcase the best of Australian produce, and the Vintage Café also serves breakfast and lunch daily.

The Verdict:

Château Élan has been open for about four years, and established itself as a premium resort for golf lovers, spa lovers and anyone looking to escape the city for a romantic getaway. It's quiet, yet ideally located to access all the major wineries and vineyards around the Pokolbin area, and has everything you could want for a few days' retreat; luxury accommodations, fine food, and plenty of facilities should the wine not be of interest to you.

Château Élan is located at Vintage Drive, Rothbury, NSW 2320, telephone 02 4998 2500,

Joanna Hall