Just a short drive from Orlando, nestled within an orange grove and acres of farmland, you will discover a whimsical structure dressed in pastel pink with touches of bright blue, green and yellow. No, you are no longer in Disney World. This fairytale-like property is the home to the Chalet Suzanne Restaurant and Country Inn, a favorite of locals and visitors for over 80 years. Chalet Suzanne offers a true Old Florida experience.
The Inn’s 26 eclectic rooms feature antiques and vintage decor. Each has a private bath and all the comforts of home – a television, phone, air conditioning and Wi-Fi service.
Guests will delight in the beautiful gardens, pool and the lake which is a haven for hundreds of turtles.
Third generation owners, Eric and Dee Hinshaw are committed to making each visit a memorable and magical occasion. From the complimentary decanter of sherry in each room to the original family recipes served in the restaurant, the charm and authenticity of Chalet Suzanne make a lasting impression.
Chalet Suzanne has a history as colorful as its walls.
This one time farm house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Chalet Suzanne’s existence is the result of good and bad times. In the early 1920’s, Florida was booming. The state was a destination for those wanting to escape the cold and brutal winters of the North and Midwest. Carl and Bertha Hinshaw saw opportunity. They settled in Central Florida and began work on a plan to build a large community of vacation homes. But, the timing was off. The Great Depression and the untimely death of Carl changed the course for the family. Bertha, determined to provide for herself and her two small children, channeled her passion for entertaining and forged a career in hospitality. Her perseverance paid off. Chalet Suzanne, named after her daughter, was born. The Inn’s reputation for fine food, deluxe accommodations and warm hospitality spread fast. Celebrities, politicians, and leaders of industry were frequent guests. Chalet Suzanne’s popularity grew to such a level that an airstrip was added to handle the influx of private jets.
The Hinshaw success story continued into the late 50’s. Bertha’s son, Carl Hinshaw Jr. refined and reinvented his mom’s treasured soup recipes into a thriving soup manufacturing company. The Hinshaw soups have received countless awards over the years. But the greatest recognition was the honor bestowed by NASA. The soup nourished the astronauts of Apollo 15 on their mission to the moon in 1973. Since that time, the soup -repackaged as Moon Soup – has been welcomed in kitchens around the world. You can pick up a few cans in the restaurant or gift shop during a visit or the Hinshaws will gladly ship you a case upon request.
A visit to Chalet Suzanne would not be complete without dinner. This is no ordinary meal. Plan on 2-3 hours of pure indulgence!
The menu features a 5 course prix fixe dinner ($60+ per person) which includes many of the Hinshaw family classics like the Chalet Grapefruit – a caramelized grapefruit with organic chicken livers, the world famous Romaine “Moon” Soup, and Chicken Suzanne – half of a chicken basted with a special chicken veloute sauce. A grilled Buffalo Ribeye, savory seafood dishes and Duck Confit a l’Orange are also among the entree choices.
Complement the meal with a selection from the Chalet’s extensive world class wine list or enjoy a cocktail from the full service bar. End the evening with decadent dessert. Chalet Suzanne’s signature Orange Aspic Pound Cake drizzled in creamsicle icing is heavenly – well worth the extra calories. For a complete menu and hours of operation,visit the Dining page of the Inn’s website.
Location: Lake Wales, Florida. (From Orlando, take Interstate 4 West to Exit #55, marked US Hwy 27 /Haines City. Travel Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour)
Rates: Seasonal – $169-$230 per night.
Contact Reservations Online for Promotions and Packages or call for more information: 800-433-6011
Area Activities: Central Florida offers fun and adventure for the entire family.
A few special highlights that should not be missed: