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Chateau Chantal Winery and Inn
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Reviews (358)
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Reviewed 21 January 2014

If you've never been here, the scenery is top notch for northern MI. It has a real Tuscany vibe- with the rolling hills, vineyards, cherry orchards, winding highway, the Bay visible in the distance, etc. And with Traverse City about a 10-15 min scenic drive away, you're still near the downtown life if that's part of your intent. I'll offer a snapshot of what to expect if you're interested in staying as a B&B guest, including some tips and advice. If you're interested in my service and hospitality opinions, including tasting room, skip toward the end of this review. Let it be clear I am NOT an employee nor do I have any financial interest, I am simply satisfied a repeat guest and I'm sharing why.

Bed & Breakfast info:
The property offers 11 rooms, one of which is a large apartment for groups of 4-6 which includes a full kitchen, private living room and fireplace, 2 separate bedrooms and baths. It would be worth it to split up as a group, especially since you could prepare your meals here.

The other 10 rooms are broken up between 6 Master Suites, which are 2-room suites with separate bedroom and living room, HD TVs, custom tile shower and/or jet tubs, and mini wet bar sink with fridge. 3 of these rooms are on the main B&B level (which is more like "downstairs"), and 3 are on the tasting room level, which seems more like what you'd call the "main level". The apartment and the Cassatt room are on the top level.

2 of the rooms are medium-sized, similar to a hotel room layout with living room & bedroom in one space and private bath....just with themed decor.

2 of the rooms are petite suites, small 2-room suites not nearly as spacious as the master suites. These rooms are located between the tasting room and the B&B guest-only great room/breakfast room. There's also a small workout room in this area.

All rooms have private bathrooms with showers, some have jet tubs some are only showers. All have great views!

Each night reserved in the B&B includes: one free glass of wine per guest, fancy breakfast in the morning which is much nicer than your typical hotel breakfast (strict hours for breakfast with a snooze-you-lose policy), unlimited access to the great room which includes a piano, comfy couch & chair, real fireplace w/ wood, games, newspapers, great views, and the chance to meet new people and socialize if that's your thing. Quite often the owners, Bob & Nadine Begin, are present during breakfast. Bob is often serving the orange juice to you, and has a genuine smile.

As a B&B guest you also have 24/7 after-hour access to the tasting room, including pour-your-own tastes, all wines for sale, etc on the honor system. It is assumed the caliber of guests staying here will be honorable and not abuse this privilege so it can stay in place for years to come. You're told you can grab any wines you like, open and enjoy, just let them know as you checkout and they ring you up then. It's a nice atmosphere of trust, this all lends to the feeling that you're an invited guest, family, not just a customer with a credit card (which of course you are, after all it is a business). Just much different than a typical hotel stay.

Coffee is available throughout most of the day in the breakfast room/great room. It's available before breakfast starts too if you're an early riser. And it's pretty good coffee too, not watery gas station coffee.

If privacy is your thing, you are not forced to socialize as at some B&Bs. Breakfast tables are scattered, like at a restaurant. Some are large, some are for couples. There are community restrooms if you don't want to go back to your room, but you still can retain the privacy of a hotel.

There are HD TVs in the rooms with cable, and there is wireless internet throughout. Most people just want to feel isolated, not actually BE isolated.

This isn't much of a place for young kids- no play place or anything. If you have young kids they're allowed though it may not be much fun for them. I guess it's assumed most know this when booking a room at a winery B&B.

Room tips:
The Lebasque Room is a medium-sized room, modernly decorated with a nice fresh color scheme, and is a corner room so has views of south and east. Queen bed. I believe it's a shower only, no tub.
The Van Gogh Master suite also has a nice modern color scheme. The Behrens is quite large, and is downstairs near the B&B check in desk. Both of these have king beds. Some of the other rooms have more of a Victorian(?) decor- older sofas with flower patterns, some being kind of dainty. If decor matters to you, I suggest visiting their website under the bed & breakfast tab, and viewing the pics. Each room has its own name and its own theme decor. The Chateau only serves breakfast. No lunch, no dinner. (Unless you purchase a special wine dinner ticket, but that's different entirely). If you're not wanting to head into town for food I'd suggest bringing sandwich food or similar. There are mini fridges in the rooms but no microwaves. There are a couple restaurants on the peninsula, one is $$$ (Boathouse, Bowers Harbor) and one is $$ (Mission Grille). Otherwise you'll need to eat in town.
Best of all, during winter months (Jan-March) midweek stays are Buy One Get One free. Check in Sunday through Weds gets you a second night free. Your free night cannot be a Fri night. With the included wine and breakfast, this is far better than any deal in town for a winter midweek stay.

Service:
All staff meets you with a smile when passing. The housekeeping staff are always friendly and seem to enjoy working there. The tasting room staff, while some have more cut-n-dry factual personalities and some are more chatty, are all knowledgeable and willing to answer any question you have and to make suggestions. Bill, the tasting room manager, is one of the best customer service personalities out there. If he's not preoccupied, or even if he is, he'll take the time to help you out or explain the wines or show you places back in the city and recommend things according to your needs, he even spent time showing us a TC map and circling different places he recommends. He's hilarious too, ask him to do his Chris Farley impression! We met another Bill, an older gentleman, who was also one of the nicest guys. We sampled wine and just shot the breeze with him for about half an hour. After 5 minutes it felt like we'd known him for years. Same with funny manager Bill.

One caveat: As a B&B guest, you're allowed to purchase wine and open it and enjoy it in the tasting room or on the large scenic patio. If you're visiting for the day (not a B&B guest) you cannot open any purchased bottles of wine on the premises. As a day visitor you can only buy wine by the glass to enjoy there. This seems odd but it's part of the local law. Yes, it's government legislation hard at work, it's NOT the Chateau's crazy rule. So be advised.

I've read reviews where some have felt the tasting room staff were rushed, rude, or otherwise impersonable. I've been coming here for nearly 10 years off & on, and I must stress this HAS to be completely circumstantial. Never have my wife and I got that impression. Perhaps when it's crazy busy there's a tendency to not exclude anyone, and therefore common sense dictates the staff must be quicker so as to accommodate all the guests. But never has anyone been even SLIGHTLY rude to us. I suppose if you are a snobby or rude customer, you may find yourself low on their priority list. Perhaps this could be the experience of a few.

An interesting story:
In a decade I've yet to experience anything negative here other than weather. To illustrate, last winter (early 2013) my wife & I stayed and we had a doozy of a snowstorm. My tires on my car were less than adequate and I couldn't make it up the hill in the driveway! It was terrible. Lucky for us our friends in a 4x4 pickup were up there with us and fetched us. I left my car down by the entrance sign all night. I had my flashers on so no one ran into it in the blizzard. The next morning my battery was dead (as expected). Bob Begin (owner), at breakfast, heard my wife and I talking about it and he offered to give me a ride to my car to jump me. He even got out while I was wrestling with cables and started cleaning the snow off my car for me. THAT'S hospitality! That's memorable. That's the Chateau Chantal.

I hope you find this insightful and can give them a try if you're looking for a memorable night or two. Cheers!

Room Tip: View the pics online at their website if decor matters to you- some are old fashioned and "dainty" some are modern, some are bigger some are smaller.
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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4  Thank Huskee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mcdalese, Owner at Chateau Chantal Winery and Inn, responded to this reviewResponded 22 January 2014

Greetings!
Wow, the staff and I can't thank you enough for your wonderful review. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and for providing accurate details concerning your experience here. We are so pleased to hear you enjoyed your time with us, as always. I'll be sure to let Bob (my Dad) know of your feedback as well.
With gratitude,
Marie-Chantal Dalese

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 December 2013

Took a special someone here for a Christmas getaway and it was more than perfect. We stayed two nights in the most beautiful suite they had. It had a beautiful room, huge tub with shower and private balcony. Every morning, you wake up to a delicious breakfast, and afterwards, the owner gives you a tour of the winery. They have an honest policy, where you can try any wine you like, after which, if you enjoy a glass, the assume you will purchase a bottle. They also keep the bar open all night, 24/7 for all BB guests. I would recommend this place to anyone who is looking for a perfect, romantic, and quiet getaway.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Axiom V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 November 2013

A girls weekend away wine tasting and enjoying the beauty of the Chateau! You are treated like family and are able to shop and wine taste in the tasting room after hours. The staff is very friendly and the rooms are amazing! This is the second time we have stayed there and are planning our next trip to the Chateau already.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Jdeweylandtek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 November 2013

We just returned from a two night stay and highly recommend staying here. The Inn is very elegant and charming. The location and views are excellent. We were impressed with the wines,
rooms and breakfasts. Bob, Nadine and their entire staff were most hospitable and very accommodating. Our overall experience was outstanding and we plan on returning for future
visits.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Vincent C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 November 2013

Great views, wonderful breakfasts, interesting wine tour, dear host and hostess, attentive staff. Make sure you hear the story of Nadine Begin and Robert. Better yet, buy her "Meals and Memories" book.

Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
Thank booklover49_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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