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Yosemite experts: is there some other luxury inn in (or south of) Oakhurst - - besides Chateau du Sureau?

Yosemite experts: is there some other luxury inn in (or south of) Oakhurst - - besides Chateau du Sureau?

Old Feb 7th, 2006, 10:48 AM
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Yosemite experts: is there some other luxury inn in (or south of) Oakhurst - - besides Chateau du Sureau?

I am trying to make a recommendation for my sister and her husband (his 40th birthday, mid-late May of this year). When researching lodging two years ago, I remember stumbling on (the website of) some fairy-tale looking place... somewhere near Oakhurst (or maybe further south?) - - while it may have been Chateau du Sureau, their website just doesn't look familiar to me (but of course, maybe they have changed their website significantly in the interval).

Does it ring any bell with you? Is there another luxury inn (or B&B)? that matches my description (five-star, very gourmet dining, Oakhurst or possibly south of the park itself?)

And if no such (other) place exists, then I am intrigued by the ratings on tripadvisor.com which makes "A Bed of Roses" sound awfully compelling (and less than one-third the price) - - any one stayed there lately?

Thanks in advance... and...

Best wishes,

(from the Europe forum)
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Old Feb 7th, 2006, 01:38 PM
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I think the Château de Sureau is it--it's a Relais et Château property, as you probably knew already. I'm not aware of anything else of that quality in the area, especially with high-level dining. But new places always open up the minute I say that.
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Old Feb 7th, 2006, 01:53 PM
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Sounds like Chateau du Sureau to me. It's an amazing place, I gave my husband a gift certificate for one of the cooking classes being offered there this Spring at the Elderberry House.
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Old Feb 7th, 2006, 08:39 PM
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No, thi helps me stop looking for some "other" place that doesn not exist. I would still appreciate any info on "A Bed of Roses" if anyone has stayed there lately. Perhaps I should re-post with that in the message header.

Thanks again...
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Old Feb 7th, 2006, 09:18 PM
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Bed of Roses does exist. Website is www.abedofrosesbandb.com. I think the Sureau is probably a much better choice especially for dining.
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Old Feb 8th, 2006, 01:40 AM
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Why so far from the park? I hear that THE AHWANNEE HOTEL in the centre of the park is very nice too.Paul
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Old Feb 8th, 2006, 04:16 AM
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The reviews of guest rooms of the Ahwahnee Hotel are quite mixed - - they are VERY small, from what I've heard and built to standards of a different era (90 years ago, if I'm not mistaken). For the price they command - - $350 and up, they may be a questionable value.

Besides - - "why so far?" - - from what? Yosemite is much more than the 2% concentration of central valley attractions. Chateau du Sureau may be 45 minutes from those, but it is one-fifth the distance to the Mariposa Groves (compared to the Ahwahnee, for example) - - so, it's all a matter of perspective.

We stayed in Foresta in 2004, and while it, too is 30-40 minutes from the central valley floor (yet still IN the park), we thought it was wonderful - - the "eureka" moment of sun rising over Half Dome (viewed directly from the kitchen table) was priceless.
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Old Feb 8th, 2006, 07:48 AM
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In May there's a very good chance that the high country will still be closed due to snow, so there's a enormous percent of the park that won't be able to be seen...does that mean they shouldn't go? NO WAY, because the valley is where they will probably spend most of their time. In May the waterfalls will be at their max and beautiful!

The Valley might be just 2% of Yosemite, I don't know where you got that figure and don't care because IMHO, the valley is the best place to be & stay!

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Old Feb 8th, 2006, 12:55 PM
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Trying to find some factual documentation of my "2%" assertion, I find that the valley floor is actually 4500 acres, or seven percent of the park's 760,000+ acres.

Still, I won't try to turn this into an "I'm right versus you're right" argument. I have stayed in both the valley, and well above it (in Foresta), and I think that both provide great experiences - - and I will readily concede that the 7% is where they will MOST LIKELY spend much of their time (and perhaps the majority of their most memorable time).

Still, I should clarify yhat this is a two-some getaway (for his birthday) - - they have two kids, ages 9 and 7 - - and my sister thinks that this would fit what she is looking for - - and convince her husband (who has never been to California at all) to plan a major family vacation to California (with a handful of destinations, spanning two weeks plus, most likely - - versus this getaway which will probably be three nights maximum).

And I don't know how much my S and BIL will choose to go exploring in the Mariposa Grove area. He is likely to prefer hiking and get into some of the backlands to the gourmet dining - - but she will like both.

I wish I could advise her on the specific pros and cons of staying at the Ahwahnee versus Chateau du Sureau - - and I keep hoping that someone will chime in here, who can offer pespectives based on personal experience, comparing the two. Based on my own experience, I have recommended that they go to the ahwahnee at least once to eat (in spite of tripadvisor rec's to the contrary). I thought that brunch there (2004) was great.

And of course the public spaces of the Ahwahnee are fantastic.

For what it's worth, my other recommendation was to consider Big Sur (my brother would prefer a mountain setting to a beach, 100-to-1 - - the two of them vacation fairly regularly in the Colorado Rockies (often Aspen).

All input here is useful.
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Old Feb 8th, 2006, 04:28 PM
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I have only camped in Yosemite but we have camped in several different locations within the park and even thought the campgrounds in the valley are crowded...that's my location of choice because you walk outside and it usually isn't very far to go to see a waterfall or the river or granite walls that amaze you.

You say your BIL will more than likely want to hike, then the valley is also the location to be since the odds of Tioga Pass being open in Mid May could be on the slim side.

Don't know if they would be interested in the evening ranger programs, if so, then the valley would be the place to be.

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Old Feb 8th, 2006, 05:59 PM
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We stayed at the Ahwanee a couple of years ago when our niece was married in the little brown church in Yosemite.

I have not been to the Chateau, but saw the website.

You are talking apples and oranges here.

The Ahwanee is a large historic hotel built of stone and beams in the late '20 's in the style of the grand National Park Hotels. It sits on spacious grounds with tennis courts, and hiking trails. The public rooms are vast, with large stone fireplaces. The view from the very large window in the dining room is breathtaking. Yes, the rooms are not vast, but they are charmingly decorated in the style of the era. There are some 1-bedroom suites available, however.

Trip advisor aside, we thought the food was excellent.

The Chateau is very cute, but with the distance from the Valley and the fact that it is a B & B (a little too cozy for me, I like my privacy) I, personally, would rather be in the Valley where I could hike and explore and then go back to the roaring fireplace and the library of the Ahwanee. That seems more "Yosemite" to me.

So you see, your sister and her husband probably need to ask themselves some questions based on the above.

How nice of you to seek out advice for them. I hope they have a great trip and a happy 40th birthday.
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Old Feb 8th, 2006, 07:41 PM
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Maybe I need to focus on whether Mariposa Groves area offers ... much? anything? in the way of hiking/exploring in May.

We went to Tuolumne Grove the exact same weekend they're proposing in 2004 (the weekend before Memorial Day) and did not encounter any roads closed to snow, nor any significant inclement weather. If... as I understand... Mariposa is bigger and better than either of the other two (Tuolumne or Merced), then that seems like something I would really like to see.

It may be worthwhile to have them consider one night X, another night (or two) Y.

I don't think the basic concept is in place yet - - though my sister's immediate reaction was very excited, and she seemed to react as if I had solved a puzzle for her - - of where was someplace "different" they could go (in contrast to Colorado).

Not to change the subject too substantially... does anyone have a luxury getaway ("hideaway") suggestion in mountainous surroundings - - that is less distant than California (ar any where else in Mountain or Pacific Time Zone). I thought about some very ritzy possibilities in the White Mountains of New Hampshire - - but ultimately... door to door - - it doesn't take much longer to get to Fresno (7 hrs flight; one stop, 1 hr drive) than to Portland (4 hrs flight; one stop, 2 hr drive).

When I thought about the "no-comparison" of Yosemite versus the mountains of New Hampshire... I decided to not even investigate further.

Moreover... almost certain to have nicer weather (valley floor) in central California than anywhere in the Appalachians, right?
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Old Feb 8th, 2006, 07:51 PM
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UMM - stay on the Valley floor in the one of a kind Ahwanee -- OR -- stay in a cutesy, too precious by half, B&B a long drive from the valley . . I sure know which I would choose.

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Old Feb 9th, 2006, 08:49 AM
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Here's another suggestion within the Pacific Time Zone--the Post Ranch in the Big Sur coast (http://www.postranchinn.com/). Or practically above it, the Ventana Inn (http://www.ventanainn.com/).

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Old Feb 9th, 2006, 10:01 AM
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Mariposa Grove is bigger than the Tuolumne Grove, but it does have a road running through it. Only the tram runs on the road, but you do keep running into it while hiking. Still, it's not that much of a distraction, it's not like it's always there, and there are places you can get away from the road. There are two subgroves within Mariposa, lower and upper, while hiking, you don't see many sequoias after the Grizzly Giant until you get up to upper grove, so don't turn back, because the upper grove has the most impressive trees. You can take the tram to the top and hike back down also.

None of the Yosemite groves is very big compared to the Giant Forest or Redwood Mountain groves at Sequoia NP, but the trees are just as big.
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Old Feb 9th, 2006, 11:21 AM
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Just a caution - the Ahwahnee books up fast in the spring. I stayed there last October for the first time, because I had never been able to book a room on my previous two trips to Yosemite (one in spring, one in summer). Availability might be a problem.
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Old Feb 9th, 2006, 01:21 PM
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Thanks, Michael - - I did recommend she look at the Post Ranch Inn (as I said earlier, Big Sur was certainly on my "backup plan" list for her).

And the info on Mariposa Grove(s) was helpful as well.

Are there dozens of giant trees in Sequoia NP? hundreds? I think we literally saw only three living sequoias in Tuolumne Grove (and a few "no longer" living). I also have a fond recollection of going to Calaveras Big Trees State Park over 20 years ago, even though i don't specific remember the details of trees we saw there. Mostly, I remember "Big Stump" - - their brochure, at http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/551/fi...grovetrail.pdf says that its diameter was 24 feet at the base. It seemed like it was as big as a house to me, but I'm sure it was not as big as the memory that sticks in my mind. (On the other hand, 24 feet IS the size of the short axis of many a good size house, especially two-story houses!)

I'll let her know she ought to get on the reservation horn ASAP.
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