Visiting the new Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg, Virginia

Sheila Johnson dedicating her new hotel August 29, 2013

The Salamander Resort, set on 340 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is just 35 minutes from Washington Dulles Airport and one hour from Washington DC. The resort was designed to resemble owner Sheila Johnson’s own manor home in Middleburg with a nod to her family’s love for all-things equestrian.  Johnson currently serves as co-owner of several Washington DC sports teams, and produced the recent feature film The Butler.

(All photos used in the post were taken by Renee Sklarew. Please contact me for permission to use them)

The resort is located in the history village of Middleburg and reached by taking a scenic drive through Virginia’s Hunt Country.


Known for fox hunting and horses, this region was a favorite of Former First Lady Jackie Kennedy who escaped to Middleburg regularly during her husband’s presidency to relax and ride


horses. The small, historic town boasts top-rated inns, restaurants, posh boutiques, vineyards and polo fields.

Salamander’s spacious guest rooms all have luxurious bedding, seating areas, as well as walk-in showers and soaking tubs. Some even have fireplaces, but all possess panoramic views of sprawling meadows surrounding the resort. There are three outdoor pools, a cozy paneled library and stone patio overlooking a culinary garden and the equestrian trails.

The resort’s most spectacular feature is the state-of-the-art Vitality Spa with its scented steam rooms, bubbling pools and heated, tiled loungers. Don’t miss the rain shower room that allows you to choose from a menu of environments. Fourteen private treatment rooms include private salons and a luxurious couples spa suite.

Equestrian facilities are housed in a modern 22-stall barn and accommodate both experienced and novice riders on a riding ring equipped with Olympic quality footing. Rather not ride? The staff teaches grooming and interaction with the Salamander’s stable of noble steeds in a program called Horse 101.

Harriman’s, the fine dining restaurant serves cuisine inspired by the Piedmont region of Virginia, and the resort’s rustic Gold Cup Wine Bar is an ideal place for cocktails, casual dining, watching sports or shooting billiards. The resort regularly hosts tastings by local vineyards and cooking in the demonstration kitchen.


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Freelance writer and photographer specializing in vivid, deeply reported stories about food, travel and family.

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