Founded in France in 1954, Relais & Châteaux (www.relaischateaux.com) represents the highest benchmark in hotel accommodations and fine dining, with a select group of privately owned hotels and restaurants worldwide. The concept grew from the vacationing traditions of well-heeled French society, who traveled to a variety of "relais" (lodges) and "châteaux" (castles) which, while different in architecture, scenery and cuisine, presented consistently high standards.
Why Relais & Chateaux?
Relais & Châteaux is an exclusive collection of 500 of the finest charming hotels and gourmet restaurants in 60 countries.
From the vineyards in Napa valley to the beaches in Bali, from the olive trees in Provence to the lodges in South Africa, Relais & Châteaux offers all the stops on the finest route for discovering each special place and country.
About Relais & Chateaux
The essence of Relais & Châteaux lies in its "5 C's": charm, courtesy, character, cuisine, and calm. The association refers to its members as disciples of simplicity, repeating simple gestures and drawing on individual secrets to enrich guests' lives during their stay. The mission statement of Relais & Châteaux is "to further the cultural and economic stature of our unique hotels and restaurants throughout the world by collectively promoting our members while recognizing their diversity, spirit and heritage".
Central California Route du Bonheur
For those planning on traveling to the beautiful California Coast, a scenic tour along the most breathtaking coastlines in the country are waiting to be explored. Stay and dine at the world’s finest independently owned properties through this self directed itinerary. This tour allows you to experience three regions and create memories you will cherish for years to come. Here are some highlights of these unique properties:
L’Auberge Carmel, a Relais & Chateaux property, is located in the heart of Carmel-by-the-Sea, one block from Ocean Avenue on Monte Verde Street at 7th Street and four blocks from world famous Carmel Beach. Since it's founding in 1903, the quaint village of Carmel, has been recognized as a picturesque pine-forested coastal retreat, and become well known, internationally, as an artists' colony. L’Auberge Carmel is a beautiful three-story European-style building designed around a classic brick courtyard. The twenty guest rooms are luxuriously appointed with an elegant décor.
Aubergine: Executive Chef Justin Cogley’s and Executive Pastry Chef Ron Mendoza’s cooking philosophy is built first and foremost on spontaneity. With access to an array of outstanding local products as well as ingredients and artisan purveyors from around the world, Cogley and Mendoza focus on incorporating these elements into their ever-changing menus. The intimate 48-seat on-site restaurant features an underground wine cellar constructed beneath the inn's courtyard to house the restaurant's 4,500-bottle collection. The wine list features treasured wines from around the world with a particularly emphasis on wines from Monterey County as well as France.
Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux
Roast quail stuffed with morels, leeks and pine nuts, steamed shellfish with a Thai curry, seared sea scallops with Spring vegetables… The cuisine of Gary Danko, the ambassador of contemporary American fine dining, draws on culinary traditions from around the world. Using seasonings from Asia and India, he adds a pinch of audacity to his French-style precision and technique. The results are sublime, and balanced, often showcasing strictly seasonal flavors such as his foie gras served with cherries in spring and roast figs in autumn. The food is pure sophistication, to be savored in an intimate and welcoming ambiance - taupe walls enhanced by modern paintings - in one of San Francisco’s trendiest districts.
Chateaux du Sureau
The waterfalls and granite domes of Yosemite National Park make it one of America's most spectacular natural sites. And when you stay at the Château du Sureau, you will be ideally placed to explore it. You will love this majestic château, reminiscent of the finest châteaux in Europe. Its elegant interior, featuring guest rooms named after fragrant herbs and flowers, is resplendent with fine antiques, tapestries and artwork. The chef showcases the freshest Californian produce in sophisticated, flavourful dishes, enhanced by a dash of the Mediterranean, and accompanied by the region's finest wines.
The French Laundry
Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux
Thomas Keller’s technique has become so famous that Pixar studios called upon his expertise when making the film Ratatouille. You may not get a chance to taste it in his restaurant “The French Laundry” but the revisited ratatouille served at the end of the film is his invention. At the heart of Napa Valley, this chef, who also wows New York with his Per Se restaurant, has created one of the best tables in California. Working closely with Chef de Cuisine Timothy Hollingsworth and the best producers in the region, he and his team concoct voluntarily minimalist dishes, where products such as oysters and truffles are savoured in a series of scripted mouthfuls. The idea behind this “sequencing” of the meal is to multiply the surprises, in a restaurant that renews its menu… every day. Don’t be surprised by the freshness that bursts in your mouth: the herbs and vegetables are straight from the garden.
Hotel Les Mars
Hotel Les Mars, Relais & Chateaux, is an exquisite jewel located in Healdsburg, a small town just two hours from San Francisco, offering the magic of the wine country lifestyle: Exquisite food and wine, art galleries, and boutique shopping. Meticulous attention to detail sets Hotel Les Mars apart. From the limestone façade and wrought ironwork of its exterior to its dramatic interior finished and antique furnishings, every element has been chosen to enrich your stay. Nearby, country roads meander through vineyards and rolling hills to more than 100 world-class wineries and tasting room including nearby appellations Chalk Hill, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley and Russian River Valley. Hotel Les Mars is a Forbes Four-Star awarded hotel and has gained a Michelin Recommendation.
Hotel Les Mars is privileged to have entered into an exclusive partnership with Chalk Hill Estate Vineyardsand Winery. Set on 1,477 ruggedly beautiful acres, a variety of ways are available to experience Chalk Hill Estate including a guided driving vineyard tour, a culinary tour or an estate luncheon experience. The Estate offers numerous settings perfect for any corporate retreat, as well as for private dining experiences or weddings at the secluded Estate Pavilion. Chalk Hill is located a scenic 15-minute drive from Hotel Les Mars.