Let me start with this: Yoga on Horseback.
I stared at the Fitness Class calendar on the dark wood desk in my guestroom, somewhat perplexed and somewhat intrigued. I wish that I could have woken at the crack of dawn to partake in the course ($150 per person; 30 minutes) – if only to describe the certain hilarity of my horseback skills – but instead, I achieved zen with an extra hour of sleep.
Part resort, part spa, and part equestrian center, the new Salamander Resort & Spa is a stately escape tucked in the outskirt of Middleburg, Virginia that’s registered to become one of the country’s first LEED certified “resorts” (and I always dig the green initiatives, by the way). Just a half-an-hour drive from Dulles International Airport, the resort, situated on 340 acres, begins at the end of a long, winding driveway a short distance (or long walk) from the historic downtown.
I’m nursing a cocktail when I ask the bartender how the property, just now celebrating its first anniversary, came to be. He tells me that cable channel BET co-founder, Sheila Johnson, is the brains behind the resort. Then, a fellow traveler – a local guy – pipes in to share that construction of the 168-room resort caused a bit of a controversy in the sleepy town. It’s at that moment that the lack of property signage, and the fact that I began to suspect my taxi driver was abducting me, all made sense. Strolling down Main Street, you’d never know that a luxury wellness center is welcoming nationwide guests just a few blocks away. The sedated property is quiet in just the way you’d hope it to be, whether you’re a weary traveler or a third-generation Middleburg-an? -er? -ler?
Either way, once you step inside the resort and minutes later, settle into your guestroom, you’ll forget everything except for the clawfoot soaking tub that’s whispering your name. A spacious bathroom, adorned with soft robes, is steps from a plush multi-purpose space, including a comfy bed, sectional sofa, table and chairs, desk, and in my case, a gas fireplace. A heavy glass door (that cannot be propped open, one of my only gripes), leads to a small balcony with two chairs. My guess is that these quick to close doors are a solution to the area’s many buzzing flies, which seem to show up – a bit irritatingly – in and outside of the resort.
The space is dreamy. And you haven’t even gotten to the spa yet, which boasts treatments like the Rider’s Relief massage, as well as several chic relaxation areas and a beckoning outdoor infinity pool.
Miles of biking, hiking and horseriding trails ripple across the foothills of the Blue Ride Mountains, making the resort an ideal escape for city dwellers that simply want some peace, quiet and luxury. It’s the perfect escape for solitude-seeking couples or families looking for a less-Disney, more-outdoorsy approach to vacationing.
Mid-week rooms start at $295 per night. More details at www.salamanderresort.com.
Now, a peek inside the Salamander Resort: