Salamander Resort & Spa opens in Middleburg
Virginia’s newest, and one of its most luxurious, resorts opened Thursday. Salamander Resort & Spa, the crown jewel in Sheila C. Johnson’s business empire, opened its doors more than 10 years after Johnson first assembled the land for the 340-acre property in Middleburg.
The only new luxury destination resort in the United States to open in 2013, Salamander is an equestrian-style resort with 168 rooms in the heart of Virginia’s horse country.
Many local governing officials from Middleburg and Loudoun County were on hand Thursday, along with Rita McClenny, president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corp., to help Johnson celebrate at a ribbon cutting ceremony, followed by champagne tours of the resort and a luncheon.
“I am so extraordinarily thankful for everyone’s patience, perseverance, and fortitude,” said Johnson, the founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, which owns other properties in Florida.
Johnson weathered local opposition, an economic recession and other obstacles to bring the 260,000-square-foot project to fruition. Located 35 minutes from Washington Dulles International Airport and an hour’s drive from downtown Washington, D.C., Salamander is heavy on horses and extravagance. It offers a full-service equestrian center with programming that includes riding instruction and miles of trails. In addition, guests can board horses in a 22-stall stable.
There's also a 23,000-square-foot spa with 14 treatment rooms, an outdoor pool, a nearby golf course at Creighton Farms Estates and 50 wineries within a 60-minute drive.
Johnson said one of the driving forces behind her decision to build Salamander Resort & Spa was the relative absence of a luxurious and private meeting retreat in the greater Washington, D.C., region. The resort includes a 5,000-square-foot ballroom that can be used for conference and social functions.
Rates during peak season range from $425 to $575 per night for a deluxe guest room, depending on views and availability. Non-peak season rates begin at $275 per night.
WATG from Irvine, Calif., served as the resort’s design architect, while the architect of record is Architecture Inc., of Reston. The general contractor was Turner Construction Co. of Washington, D.C.
Johnson, a founding partner of Black Entertainment Television, is vice president of Monumental Sports & Entertainment and president and managing partner of the WNBA’s Mystics. She also is a part owner of the Wizards and the Capitals. Other business pursuits include partnerships in ProJet Aviation, an aviation consulting firm, and Mistral, a maker of luxury bath, body and home products.