Salamander Resort & Spa affords the idyllic countryside for equestrian pursuits and relaxed elegance
Situated less than an hour from Washington, D.C., the Salamander Resort & Spa provides an ideal central location for exploring the storied village of Middleburg, Virginia, known for its elegant estates, horse races and foxhunts. The 340-acre resort has been a longtime retreat from the limelight for the pedigreed and famous, such as John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor and the Firestone family. Walking distance to the antique stores in Middleburg and only a short drive from the area’s emerging vineyards and wineries (see related “Virginia is for wine lovers” story, page 20), the Salamander also provides an assortment of entertainment and amenities within its rolling hills. Plan to stay at least a couple of days so you can sample a little bit of everything.
No visit to the Salamander would be complete without taking advantage of the Equestrian Center that sits on a dedicated 25 acres and features a 14,000-square-foot stable, nine paddocks and an outdoor riding arena. Programs range from trail rides to riding and polo lessons to courses in horsemanship and even “horse whispering.” An hour-long, private jaunt across the scenic trails on the property offers a relaxing taste of the abundant equine scene.
After horseback riding, Salamander Spa is there to soothe any sore muscles. The expansive wellness center offers 14 treatment rooms, a couple’s spa suite, a full-service salon and a fitness facility and indoor and outdoor pools. The ultimate pampering is a muscle-relieving signature Well Being Massage with aromatherapy oils followed by time in the sauna, steam room and whirlpool within the relaxation lounges. The spa’s private infinity edge relaxation pool is heated and open year-round, and its spacious cabanas are a great place to chill out in warm weather.
Worked up an appetite? Head to the stately Harrimans Virginia Piedmont Grill for farm-to-table cuisine. Try the Prime Delmonico, a juicy, 15-ounce rib eye with smoked pancetta pesto, or the delicate whole-roasted branzino paired with a refreshing blood orange salad and fennel pollen. Afterward, enjoy a nightcap at Gold Cup Wine Bar, where you can sample Virginia wines such as RdV Friends and Family, a flavorful cabernet sauvignon-merlot blend from the nearby RdV Vineyards.
At the end of the day, curl up in one of the 168 guestrooms and 17 suites. Each accommodation showcases equestrian-inspired touches, such as throw blankets with a horse bridle design, and offers views of the surrounding woodlands or the grand lawn where you can play croquet or sit by a fire pit. Soak in the marble bathrooms’ best feature: a pedestal tub. Want to bring the family dog? Guestrooms on the Terrace level are pup-friendly to allow convenient access to the grounds. Just don’t let him chase the horses. That’s a big no-no.
Salamander Resort & Spa
Summer rates start at $319
STORY: Karina Antenucci