Real Estate

Northern California

As a five-star inspector for Mobil Travel Guide–the country’s oldest and most respected star rating system-getting away for a romantic weekend is not part of the job description. But being able to recommend a unique destination perfect for a secluded getaway is something I am always asked.picturesque

Northern California!

How does a Mobil Five-Star inspector spend his days? Here is an inside peek at the wining, dining, and hard work that goes into inspecting a luxury inn.

As a five-star inspector for Mobil Travel Guide–the country’s oldest and most respected star rating system-getting away for a romantic weekend is not part of the job description. But being able to recommend a unique destination perfect for a secluded getaway is something I am always asked. As I think back on all my travels across North America, one destination that makes for a perfect romantic fall getaway is Yosemite National Park. Most people would be very surprised to learn that you can enjoy a five-star experience while visiting one of the country’s most beloved parks.

Last fall, I visited the small town of Oakhurst, California where the incredibly romantic and somewhat fairy tale-like Chateau du Sureau is located. Strategically positioned on a hillside on nine park-like acres, this charming Mobil Five-Star Inn is located just a few miles outside the entrance to Yosemite National Park. It’s definitely a destination that will impress your significant other. This stunning European-style inn makes for the perfect setting for couples to reconnect with not only themselves, but with the majestic natural surroundings.

With only 10 rooms, planning in advance for your trip to this intimate inn is a must. Each room is distinctively and individually designed and they are appropriately named after flowers and herbs that are found on the grounds of the inn. Before you make your reservations, you can take a sneak peak of the individual rooms on the Chateau’s website. Luxurious and comfortable, the guestrooms offer old European charm with all the modern amenities one would expect at a Mobil Five-Star property.

I selected the “Saffron” room for my stay and was not disappointed. With fireplaces and no televisions, one can’t help but feel the stress of daily life slowly slipping away as you settle into these dramatic and luxurious surroundings. A lovely touch I really appreciated was the daily presentation of pound cake and cookies and during turndown service there was always a special treat delivered to the room. For the ultimate in seclusion and privacy, book the two-bedroom Villa Sureau. Located on the grounds of the inn, this 2,000-square-foot villa is the ultimate in decadence and includes your own personal butler!

Because of its small-town feel, one might not expect to find fine dining in a village like Oakhurst. But that’s not the case at Chateau du Sureau. Its restaurant Erna’s Elderberry House actually opened a few years before the inn and has been attracting gourmands ever since. This Mobil Four-Star restaurant is as stunning and tastefully designed and decorated as the Chateau. After enjoying a cocktail in the Grand Salon of the Chateau, the staff escorted me down the garden path to the restaurant to enjoy dinner. This exquisite eatery has a distinct French influence, from the décor to the ingredients on the menu. If you are planning the perfect weekend getaway, make sure to make your dinner reservations at the time you book your room, as the restaurant is a popular destination in itself.

As hard as it is for me to tell you to leave the Chateau, as it is the ultimate setting to be pampered and relax, you really should plan to spend a day at Yosemite National Park. Start the day off right by enjoying the culinary delights of breakfast in the Chateau’s intimate breakfast room, or outside on the patio. While I was enjoying breakfast, the staff approached and inquired about my planned activity for the day. Upon learning

I was interested in heading to the park, the staff supplied me with maps, suggestions of sights to see, and bottled water for the trip. The fall is such a wonderful time to visit the park, as the summertime crowds have thinned out and you can just enjoy the majestic surroundings. Make sure to include a drive to Yosemite Valley and plan to have lunch there, and on the way back, stop to walk through the towering Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.

After a full day hiking and exploring the park, plan to spend some time at the Mobil Four-Star Spa du Sureau. In keeping with the theme of the inn, an elderberry footbath is offered with every treatment and is the perfect way to begin this pampering experience. Couples should inquire about the Salon du Sureau for their treatments to enhance what is already a romantic experience. Due to the intimate size of the spa, I would recommend to book your treatments in advance.

Although Fresno’s airport is closer to Yosemite, I highly recommend arriving into San Francisco instead. It is only a three- hour drive to Chateau du Sureau and will allow you the opportunity to continue your Five-Star getaway. The luxurious Ritz-Carlton San Francisco has not only won the Mobil Five-Star award for its hotel, but also for the Dining Room. It’s the perfect setting to spend a night or two before ending your trip. Located in the heart of the city in the prestigious neighborhood of Nob Hill, it is just a short distance from both Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf.

After enjoying the seclusion and intimacy of Chateau du Sureau, a memorable culinary feast, a soothing spa experience and an incredibly luxurious stay, it was time for this inspector to say goodbye to Northern California. To read more inspector reviews or to help plan your own trip to Oakhurst and San Francisco, visit for more information.

Towering skyscrapers, stunning architecture and a gorgeous lakefront view, Chicago is the perfect destination for a five-star getaway. Look for next month’s Mobil Five-Star inspector’s insider’s guide to all that is luxurious in the Windy City!! sdp

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