On June 14Paul Ruffino answered the question:Château du Sureau is located 16 miles south of Yosemite’s southern entrance and with convenient access to and from three major cities. The estate is a short 45-minute drive from Fresno, about a three-hour drive from the San Francisco area and approximately four hours north of Los Angeles.
On May 11, 2012Paul Ruffino answered the question:The most romantic spot is our couples’ salon at Spa du Sureau — especially on a winter day when it’s gray outside. You will feel like you’re in heaven while enjoying the Jacuzzi tub or sitting in front of the Art Deco fireplace while sipping champagne, awaiting the next heavenly treatment.
We would also recommend a wonderful dinner for two at Erna’s Elderberry House Restaurant, which is also located on our property. Sitting on the terrace under the stars with the lit-up Château and the fountain in the background will definitely enhance the love in the air.
Another spot would be our gazebo in our nature park. It is located near the koi pond and is a favorite spot for proposals and small weddings.
On May 11, 2012Paul Ruffino answered the question:Each wedding at the estate is unique, and we are committed to working within each couple’s budget. Our three-, four-, and five-course dinners range between $65 and $95 per person, depending upon your selections.
On May 11, 2012Paul Ruffino answered the question:There are several ceremony and reception locations to choose from, depending upon the size of your wedding.
Our most popular location is the Garden Terrace at Erna’s Elderberry House restaurant. This location features the beauty of our hillside garden setting. European fountains, fragrant flowers and charming statues offer an inspiring view of Château du Sureau and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. With the ability to accommodate weddings as small as 10, and as large as 100, it is the most popular location at the estate.
The House Chapel at Château du Sureau is small and intimate, the ideal venue for a very personal ceremony of up to six guests.
The Grand Salon is available for your ceremony if the Château, in its entirety, is exclusively reserved by your party. Surrounded by your friends and family for the day and enjoying breakfast together the following morning will create one-of-a-kind memories.
The gazebo in our nature park would also be a wonderful background for an intimate outdoor wedding.
On May 11, 2012Paul Ruffino answered the question:If you dream of modern romance in a setting where time stands still and graciousness is a way of life, the Estate by the Elderberries is the perfect venue for your wedding of a lifetime. The Garden Terrace at Erna’s Elderberry House and the gazebo in the estate’s nature park both make for enchanting ceremony locations in the spring and summer months. Or during the winter and fall, the Château’s Grand Salon and Erna’s Elderberry House’s Escoffier dining room make for enchanting indoor ceremony locations.
Weddings at the estate may be as intimate and quaint as 10 people, or we can accommodate up to 125 people for a larger celebration. A daytime event may begin as early as 10 a.m., and the departure of guests from the Elderberry House must be concluded by 4 p.m. to allow the restaurant to prepare for dinner service. An evening event may begin at 3 p.m. and shall be concluded by 11 p.m.
On May 11, 2012Paul Ruffino answered the question:
On May 11, 2012Paul Ruffino answered the question:Yosemite National Park is the highlight of the area, attracting millions of visitors each year. This national park is home to several waterfalls, like Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil, Nevada Fall, Vernal Fall, as well as some of the world-famous mountains, like Half Dome and El Capitan. If you are visiting us for a few days, a trip to the high country and Tuolumne Meadows, where the air is cleaner and the meadows are spectacular, are well worth the drive.
Bass Lake, also known as the Crane Valley Reservoir, is a 20-minute drive from the Château. It boasts the area’s only water sports. Houseboats, speedboats and Jet Skis are all available to be rented for the afternoon or just a few hours.
On May 11, 2012Paul Ruffino answered the question:There are two golf courses that we suggest in the area. Located in Ahwahnee, Sierra Meadows is the closest golf course to the estate. A 15-minute drive on Highway 49 will take you to this 18-hole golf course in the Sierras.
For a more unique golfing experience, we recommend the Wawona Golf Course. It is located in Wawona, Yosemite National Park. Wawona is the only golf course located inside a national park. Its nine-hole golf course provides a lovely and challenging setting.
Both golf courses have club and electric cart rentals available. Tee times are not required, however, they are suggested.
On May 11, 2012Paul Ruffino answered the question:Due to the size of our property and out of consideration for other guests, we can only accept small pets up to 15 pounds. We do provide towels for dogs (since most small dogs are being cleaned by their owners after being out and about) as well as little treats during the stay.
On May 11, 2012Paul Ruffino answered the question:Château du Sureau is located on the 9-acre Estate at the Elderberries on the outskirts of the small town of Oakhurst (with a population of approximately 14,000). In order visit local shops, it would be necessary to use your car. Oakhurst does offer supermarkets, drugstores, a few antique stores as well as some art galleries (at Gallery Row). Please do not expect to find any fancy boutiques or clothing stores here; the few clothing stores we do have will provide everything for the great outdoors (summer and winter).
Nearby Mariposa (approximately 35 minutes west of Oakhurst) has the unique Front Street, which portrays the era of the California Gold Rush. There you will be able to find antique stores, an art gallery and some clothing stores (you won’t find any designer stores here).
Fresno (approximately 40 miles south of Oakhurst) is a major city that houses several shopping malls with high-end stores and well-known brands.
On May 11, 2012Paul Ruffino answered the question:Our area’s biggest attraction is the natural beauty of Yosemite National Park and the surrounding Sierra Nevada, but there are also a few noteworthy museums. In Mariposa, there’s the Mariposa Museum & History Center and California State Mining and Mineral Museum. Yosemite Valley’s Yosemite Museum examines the culture of the native Miwok Indians. It is located next to the Yosemite visitor’s center. Sonora offers Columbia State Historic Park, which showcases the history of the California Gold Rush.
On May 11, 2012Paul Ruffino answered the question:The absolute highlight of our area is definitely Yosemite National Park, considered one of the most beautiful national parks in the United States. It offers so many magnificent spots. Guests should allocate most of their time for the park, which includes attractions such as El Capitan, Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite Falls, Nevada and Vernal Fall, Half Dome, Glacier Point, Mariposa Grove with giant sequoias as well as the High Sierra with Tioga Pass, Tuolumne Meadows and Tenaya Lake. After having seen all the major attractions, you should try and explore Yosemite per pedes (hiking or biking). Bicycle rentals are available in Yosemite Valley and there are many wonderful bike paths on the valley floor.
If you don’t mind a long drive, we would suggest that you drive up Tioga Pass and continue to Mono Lake, which is located on the other side of the Sierra Nevada. It is simply breathtaking to drive through the high mountains (at an altitude of approximately 9,000 feet) and then experience Mono Lake down in the valley. It is a salt lake that contains two-and-a-half times more salt than the world’s oceans. Don’t miss the Tufas, some magnificent monuments on the south bank of the lake (there is a beautiful walk that you can take through this spectacular landscape — you will almost feel like you’re on another planet).
If you would like to explore California’s rich history, you should take a drive on Route 49 (Old Gold Rush route), which starts in the town of Mariposa (approximately 40 minutes west of Oakhurst) and brings you north to Jamestown and Sonora (with Columbia State Park). This drive is especially beautiful during the spring, when all the wildflowers are blooming. It will also take much longer to get to Sonora, since you will want to stop at every curve to take some pictures of the wonderful flowers and mountains.
In case you have seen most of Yosemite National Park already and would like to enjoy some time off without hiking, biking and driving (after all, you should also allocate some hours of your vacation for relaxation), go to Bass Lake (approximately 20 minutes’ drive from Oakhurst) and try out the water sports activities.
During the winter months, we would definitely recommend borrowing the snowshoes that are available at Château du Sureau, driving up to the south entrance of the park and hiking up to Mariposa Grove (the road to the Grove usually closes down as soon as the first snow arrives and doesn’t open until the last snow melts). This will be invigorating and a little bit of a workout, but it really is worth it — you will be almost by yourself in the Grove with all these magnificent trees and the snow hanging from them. It’s a feeling that is hard to describe — you will just have to experience it for yourself. Upon return to the Château du Sureau, we will be happy to serve you a hot glass of Krambambuli (a typical Austrian winter drink that will definitely help to soothe those tired muscles).
On May 11, 2012Paul Ruffino answered the question:We start the holiday season — one of our guests’ most favorite times — with our classic Thanksgiving dinner. It is truly a pilgrim’s feast, showcasing pumpkins and everything that fall has to offer in unique ways and spinning classic favorites into new dishes.
Executive chef Gunnar Thompson prepares a delectable Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner, which highlight traditional favorites. Our scrumptious six-course dinner is complemented by live Christmas carolers.
The year at the estate ends with our magnificent New Year’s Eve Gala on Dec. 31. The seven-course menu allows you to ring in the New Year with fine cuisine and live music, as well as a few surprises along the way.
Château du Sureau Director
Château du Sureau
Oakhurst, CA, USA
Born in California, Paul Ruffino grew up in Rome. Ruffino has since returned to the States and has joined Château du Sureau as an executive with 25-plus years of experience and a deep passion for the world of hospitality. The desire to share his amazingly vast and diverse hospitality experiences prompted him to pen the book Customer Service and the Luxury Guest.