Salamander Resort – A Special Treat
We are a bargain shopping family. I recently purchased an armload of Quaker Oatmeal just to get the $2 per box discount. When Jennell and I attended the Alice Deal Middle School Fundraising Auction last spring and saw that one of the silent auction items was a three-night getaway to the Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg, Virginia, we couldn’t have been more excited. We placed our bid and carefully babysat the auction sheet for the rest of the evening to ensure that we kept the top bid. We were thrilled when we found out that we had won the trip!
The Salamander Resort and Spa is the dream project of BET Co-Founder Dr. Sheila C. Johnson. Nestled on 300 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, she has carved a monument to relaxation and luxury. Featuring its expansive Great Lawn and the finest riding stables you will ever see; the hotel is amazing in every way.
As you can see from the photos, the grounds are immaculate. Besides the horse stables, whose floors look clean enough to eat off, the site possesses hiking trails, a zip line tour, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis and basketball courts and more.
The most impressive quality of hotel is the welcoming and warm staff. From the bellmen to housekeeping, everyone that we encountered had a smile and seems to genuinely enjoy what they were doing. They make it a point to learn your name and make you feel special. The staff of the Salamander has obviously taken the motto of another luxury hotel to heart: “We are ladies and gentlemen, serving ladies and gentlemen.”
The hotel is just steps away from the shopping district of Middleburg, Virginia, a quaint small town lined with art galleries, restaurants and real estate offices. We enjoyed walking the brick sidewalks and checking out one of the two excellent Thai restaurants in the area. The experience reminded us of Edgartown in Martha’s Vineyard.
There are also a host of popular vineyards in the area. We stopped by 50 West Vineyard for an afternoon of wine tasting. Their current tasting flight include six wine releases, which are a selection of both whites and reds. After the tasting in their converted stable, we settled on the patio with a pitcher of blackberry sangria, warm french bread and Amish goat cheese and enjoyed an afternoon in the sun.
I ride my bicycle for exercise and found that the hills of the Blue Ridge offer an engaging challenge. On day one, I rode north from Middleburg along the quiet, twisting country roads. The ride was surprisingly strenuous. Along the way I passed small hamlets, streams and many horse farms. This is truly Virginia Hunt Country.
After an hour or so I reached Purcellville, the terminus of the fantastic Washington and Old Dominion trail that I ride frequently. Rather than riding back to the hotel in the extreme heat, I rang Jennell up and asked her to meet me for lunch. Total trip distance was 24 miles.
On my second ride, I took the hotel-recommended course up the spine of the local mountain peak. The first five miles offers a perfectly progressive climb of some 679 feet. After that, the view opens and it is a leisurely cruise back down to the resort. Total trip distance was 13.2 miles.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Salamander Resort and we cannot wait to go back again. The resort is very pricey and the wait time to secure a reservation can extend for months. However, the experience is wholly worthwhile. I cannot say enough how refreshing it is for DC area residents to be able to “get away” without going through the stress and frustration of traveling. The Salamander earns extra points just for this. The resort is also dog-friendly (not that we would every take our crazy dog to a place like this!)
According to Essence Magazine, the hotel is also one of the largest African-American owned resorts in the world. If you are planning a wedding, a girl’s trip, a corporate meeting or, yes, a romantic getaway without the use of your frequent flyer miles, we strongly recommend checking out the Salamander Resort and Spa.
Salamander Resort and Spa
500 North Pendleton Street Middleburg VA
Spa visits require an advanced reservation.