Where to Stay in Traverse City: Chateau Chantal
Perched high on a hill on the Mission Peninsula, just a few miles from downtown Traverse City, Chateau Chantal is one of the most romantic and luxurious places to stay, especially for wine-lovers. With sweeping bay views on every side, the 65 acre property is a full-service winery, tasting room, event space and hotel that offers 11 rooms.
The winery and B&B building, as well as the rooms, were designed in a modern French chateau style. Old-world touches like wrought-iron beds and claw-foot tables fill each of the rooms, which are decorated in muted pastels. But modern conveniences aren’t forgotten. Suites have large TVs, mini-fridges and wet bars, and deep jacuzzi tubs. Room rates range from $150-$510 per night, with most between $190 and $230 for summer weekdays.
The B&B is just one part of the building though, and guests are able to take full advantage of the property’s other perks – namely the wine. Everything at Chateau Chantal is run on the honor system, meaning you take what you like (be it a bottle of wine or merchandise from the tasting room store) and add it to a tally in your room, to be paid upon checkout. Guests have 24-hour access to the tasting room and can pour their own samples after official closing, or grab a bottle to enjoy privately. Guests also receive a free breakfast – a lavish spread of pastries, fruit, and a rotating main dish like tomato pesto quiche or banana french toast.Wi-fi and parking are free, and there is a guests-only winery tour each morning.
Unlike some B&Bs that have a forced feeling of conviviality, here we were left largely to our own devices – once we were given a grand tour and told how to reach the staff should we need anything, that is. Staff was available yet no overbearing, and though it was a major holiday weekend, the place didn’t feel packed with other guests. At breakfast (often a dreaded experience at B&Bs, especially for those of us who tend to be anti-social in the morning), there were plenty of tables so strangers weren’t forced to interact if they didn’t want to.
Overall my stay was very enjoyable. The property is unique, staff was attentive, the food and wine was excellent, and the setting simply spectacular. For a honeymoon, romantic getaway, or food and wine weekend, I would highly recommend Chateau Chantal.
Even if you don’t stay overnight, Chateau Chantal is well worth a visit while in Traverse City. The views from the property – particularly from the tasting room’s outdoor patio – are beautiful, and they offer several varieties of wine to sample. Tasting hours are 11am to 5pm daily, with extended hours during summer. Every summer Thursday from 7pm – 9:30pm, there’s a free jazz performance, and the winery also offers cooking classes, space for private events (including weddings up to 40 people) and summer winery tours to the public. If you aren’t staying the night, allot at least an hour (more on a nice day) for a visit so you can sample the wines and then buy a glass and a snack, like a hearty slice of creamy brie cheese and crackers, to enjoy on the patio as you take in the views of the vineyards and Grand Traverse Bay.
Disclosure: I was a guest of Chateau Chantal, but my opinions are my own.