Chateau Bourbon: The Epitome of Southern Hospitality
Tucked away in the Norton Commons development just northeast of downtown Louisville, you will find the most luxurious bed and breakfast you could imagine. If you prefer your accommodations to be more on the luxurious side with lots of good food and your every need accounted for, Chateau Bourbon should be your destination. Leigh and I wanted to have a mini-staycation, a simple 24-hour period of delicious food, laughter and a feeling of being a million miles away from the realities of work, family and deadlines, but without the cost and headache of flying to some faraway place. Since being introduced to the innkeepers at this year's Bourbon Affair Higher Proof Expo back in May, we knew we had to make this our go-to place. We packed our bags (why do we have to pack so much stuff for one night?) and traveled I-64 west just a short 63 miles from Lexington.
As we drove into the Norton Commons development we were struck by how beautiful everything is. The houses all immaculate, the greenspaces neat and tidy. We definitely got the feeling of being on a movie set, maybe something like "The Truman Show". Wow! Okay! Pulling up alongside the Chateau, with its beautiful signage and welcoming front porch, we knew we had hit the jackpot! As you can see from these pictures, the place is simply amazing. It definitely has the farmhouse chic feel to it, although I would say Missy, the co-owner and designer, has put her own unique spin on it. If you love Joanna Gaines' style from Fixer Upper, you will love what Missy has created.
Upon entering the home, we immediately noticed the chalkboard with, "Welcome, Tamara and Leigh, KY Taste Buds". That's a nice touch! Missy greeted us and the hugs ensued. She is such a bubbly, vivacious person, you can't help but fall in love with her. Oh, that and the fact that for the Higher Proof Expo she had put together a doughnut bar with homemade bourbon chocolate sauce that you could dip your doughnuts in and then top with whatever other delicious thing you could think of. We were fans from our first meeting! But to see her in her element as hostess in a place she and her husband, John, created from the ground up, was something special. Talk about someone perfectly suited for their occupation! And not only were we greeted so warmly by Missy, but the other two important members of her team, Honey and Reese, Shorkies (half Yorkie, half Shih Tzu), with sweet dispositions and friendly tail wags. Reese is actually somewhat of a celebrity as she appeared as "Toto" in a local theater's production of "The Wizard of Oz", and the musical "Pippin". Having left our furry friends at home, we were so happy to see and love on these two sweethearts.
Missy showed us around the place, pointing out all of the neat decorative touches, many of which her husband, John, made himself or that were custom made. Even the art work on the walls was procured from a local photographer. Missy's mom, the resident innkeeper, Carol Thomas, herself an artist, painted some of the artwork as well. (Is this family talented or what?) We were shown the common sitting area where guests gather each evening for "Happy Hour", and a butler's pantry in which guests can help themselves to snacks and drinks anytime of the day or night. As their website says, "You'll never go hungry here!" There is another back porch/sitting area for guests to enjoy the outdoors and this one we loved as it had swings (made by John, of course). Leigh and I discovered you're never too old to go for a swing, but if you're like me, you may need to take some Dramamine beforehand. What they hay, it was so fun!
The Chateau has a total of four suites and can accommodate up to 10 people. The entire place is over 5,000 square feet of beautifully appointed rooms. It's definitely high-end, but not pretentious at all. Missy showed us to our room, the Angel's Share Suite, and we were blown away. The room is exquisite and large enough to handle the two of us and all of our stuff (I did say we were only staying overnight, right?). It even had its own balcony with an adorable bistro set where you can enjoy coffee and look out onto the comings and goings of Meeting Street. The bathroom was exquisite with a beautiful soaking tub and oversized rainfall shower stall. Two robes hung on hooks on the walls, just beckoning us to put them on. Since it would be impolite to take our shoes off and jump like little kids on the bed we just calmly did our "oohs" and "awes" and said the room would suit us just fine. Missy told us about the "Happy Hour" and gave us some time to ourselves to relax a bit beforehand.
At the appointed hour, we joined Missy downstairs where soft music played over the built-in speakers. We sank into the deep cushions of the couch and she sat before us a tray with two Bourbon Pomegranate Sours. Missy and John both have a fondness for Kentucky's favorite spirit, bourbon, hence the name Chateau Bourbon. With a name like that, it goes without saying that the food and beverages must be bourbon-infused. The drink was so refreshing! Then we were served a delicious brownie with homemade bourbon vanilla ice cream and caramel frosting. Yum! As we enjoyed our food and libation, Missy gave us the 411 on their business, how they got started and a little bit about Norton Commons in general. It is so inspiring to talk to someone who can take something they enjoy doing themselves, realizing their own talents, having a vision for what they want to do and then going nonstop until they make that dream a reality. Missy was a psychologist and John a career fireman (we love our first responders!), and while on a trip to Ireland in 2007 they were inspired to one day open their own lodging for travelers. I bet the psychology comes in handy being an innkeeper because she is able to understand how to handle different types of people and their needs. She's also a dynamite cook, even coming up with the recipe for the Bourbon Pomegranate Sour on her own. You can find the recipe here.
Missy and John want to give their guests more than what's expected and this is demonstrated in everything they do, including how they prepare the food (everything from scratch, y'all), as well as the type of products they use to clean the house. For all of us allergy sufferers, we can be assured that a stay at Chateau Bourbon will not require the use of inhalers and allergy meds as they don't use any chemicals, mainly just Norwex products. We can attest to how clean everything was, and Leigh and I made a commitment to go home and get busy using these same products in our homes. I'm not sure how they find the time to do all of this cooking and cleaning, but fortunately the guests reap the benefits of their efforts. They take pride in what they do and it shows!
After our chat, Missy took us for a ride around the neighborhood in their cute golf cart. It's common in Norton Commons for people to use golf carts to get around which I think is such a neat aspect. Feeling the breeze in our hair and waving to all the neighbors on their front porches, Missy showed us her favorite places including the pools (which guests can use, by the way), a fishing pond, inviting shops and restaurants. We loved seeing all of the gorgeous homes which range from smaller townhomes to mini-mansions, all of which we would have moved into in a hot second if given the opportunity. Returning home, Missy gave us a discount card which all guests receive which can be used at any of the businesses/restaurants there in the neighborhood. What a nice perk! She offered suggestions on where to dine and we set out on our own.
We started at Commonwealth Tap, a local watering hole, and met up with a buddy who lives in Norton Commons. Their motto is "Life is too short to drink bad wine". We knew this was the place for us! The vibe of this place was cool and relaxed with a number of customers just enjoying conversation and good wine. They also have bourbon and beer, so never fear! Something for everyone here! Just around the corner, and actually only two doors down from the Chateau, we discovered a little slice of Italy at Mercato Italiano. With its red, black and white motif and the smell of garlic emanating through the raised garage door sides, there's no question about what kind of cuisine they serve here. Our mouths were watering from 20 yards away. The food was simply delicious. Leigh and I ordered some sort of tomato salad and margherita pizza to share. Sitting next to us were two Italian-speaking gentlemen so between the food, the smells, and the Italian we were hearing from them, we truly felt transported to a sidewalk café in Italy. How relaxing! Buona sera!
After all of that delicious food and wine, we were happy that home was only a short walk up the street. We returned to the quiet comfort of Chateau Bourbon and went upstairs to sink into the luxurious bedding. Needless to say, we slept like logs that night. The bed was amazing! We knew the sooner we went to sleep, the quicker morning would come and with that, the 3-course breakfast that awaited us!
Missy had asked us the night before what time we would like to have breakfast, so we had settled on 9:00. Leigh and I are both coffee lovers, however, and need to drink at least two cups before we even put our feet on the floor. We drew straws to see which one of us would go downstairs beforehand and use the convenient Keurig in the dining room to get our java. I lost, so I had to do it, but I didn't mind at all because it was just down the stairs and I knew there was some wonderful biscotti in a jar next to the Keurig. Score! We laid in bed and drank coffee and ate our biscotti as an appetizer to what lay ahead.
Once we were spit, shined and polished, we followed our noses to the dining room and parked ourselves at the table underneath the wrought iron chandelier. Missy came out from the kitchen smiling and inquiring about our evening, where we had dined and how we slept. She explained that our breakfast would consist of three courses beginning with her homemade granola (yes, I said homemade) and yogurt garnished with drunken cherries (drunken because they're soaked in bourbon). The second course was Leigh's favorite, baked ham and egg cups over white cheddar grits. And the third and final course, as if we had room for it, was bourbon brioche French toast. Since I'm a sweets kind of gal, this was my fav! Topped off with more of the life-giving liquid known as coffee and some fresh OJ, and we felt like pigs in slop, happy and content! Before leaving the Chateau, we learned about some unique shops in the area we could walk to, which was great considering all the calories we had just consumed.
Hating to leave, but knowing full well that we will be back, we said goodbye to our wonderful hosts, Missy and John. They truly are an amazing couple who have built something unique and spectacular that should be on everyone's list for a great staycation destination. Whether you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, BFF getaway or even a family reunion (you can rent the whole house), Chateau Bourbon will provide you with the best in Southern hospitality.