Naturally, the luxury 13-room property—which was once La Bastide—is surrounded by trails suitable for mountain biking and bicycling. A bicycle shop at the hotel outfits travelers with bikes, no matter if they are looking for a recreational ride or sweat-inducing climbs, and offers on-site repairs. There are also group rides for those interested in companionship on area hills. Inspired by European elegance and Mediterranean-modern touches, it's located on top of a hill, affording gorgeous views from the minute guests arrive, strolling into a foyer with distressed hardwood floors. Next to the foyer is a library where a crackling fireplace cultivates a cozy reading area and beyond that is the outdoor patio, complete with a pool framed by landscaping.
In each room is a wrought-iron bed, French doors, a flatscreen television, iPad concierge, artwork on the walls, and—in some rooms—a fireplace and patio. The baths are luxurious, including Hermès toiletries, a rainforest showerhead, or a soaking tub, and river rocks embedded in the design.
Wine options are plentiful thanks to Richard Jardin, who serves as both sommelier and general manager. At Restaurant 17—open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and named for the number of times George Hincapie competed in the Tour de France—executive chef Adam Cooke dreams up dishes using what's currently growing in the South, such as elk carpaccio with blood-orange, horseradish, and pea shoots, or a biscuit sandwich with duck egg for breakfast. A wood-burning oven introduces rustic accents to the menus.
Kristine Hansen is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee where she reports on food, wine, and travel topics around the globe for Fodors.com, along with new-hotel openings. She also writes for Wine Enthusiast, TIME, Whole Living and American Way. In 2006 she co-authored The Complete Idiot's Guide to Coffee and Tea (Alpha Books/Penguin). You can follow her on Twitter @kristineahansen or through her web site.
Photo credits: Courtesy of Hotel Domestique