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Sheila C. Johnson’s Luxurious Virginia Resort Welcomes First Guests

With a simple snip of her scissors, Sheila C. Johnson cut through the equestrian-inspired ribbon before her and consigned a decade of planning into memory. Salamander Resort & Spa was open, and one of the most anticipated hospitality projects of recent memory had become reality.

“I am so extraordinarily thankful for everyone’s patience, perseverance, and fortitude,” said Johnson, the resort’s owner, and founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts. “In addition to its courageous traits, the salamander serves as a symbol of renewal, which is especially meaningful to me today.”

Located in the historic village of Middleburg on 340 picturesque acres in the heart of Virginia’s famed horse and wine country, Salamander Resort & Spa features a previously unattainable collection of equestrian, spa, culinary, winery, nature and historic experiences for its visitors. The resort is only 35 minutes from Washington Dulles International Airport and only an hour’s drive from downtown Washington, D.C.

Designed to blend into the surrounding rolling countryside and respect the traditions of Johnson’s own nearby Virginia farm, which served as the architectural inspiration, Salamander Resort & Spa features 168 luxurious, spacious rooms and suites. There is a full-service equestrian center and an array of programming that includes riding instruction and clinics from the area’s world-class riders. Just a short trot from the property’s 22-stall stable, ThorTurf riding ring and nine paddocks are miles of trails on which riders can easily spend a full day. Equine enthusiast guests even have the opportunity to board their own horses.

With treatments that incorporate the surrounding area’s rich bounty, the Salamander Spa features 14 spacious treatment rooms with private stone treatment terraces and fireplaces. The culinary program is equally in tune with the surroundings. At Harrimans Grill, which features a soaring 42-foot-high ceiling and a panoramic view of the Bull Run Mountain Range, the cuisine celebrates Virginia’s Piedmont region, including a robust selection of steaks, chops, fruits and vegetables. The Gold Cup Wine Bar, designed like a winery tasting room with brick floor and wood-beamed ceiling, features wines from around the world and a creative menu that offers small plates inspired by the Italian Piedmont. Just a few short steps away from the kitchen is a two-acre culinary garden.


Salamander Resort is positioned at the center of Northern Virginia’s emerging wine country. There are over 50 wineries located within a 60-minute drive, and the closest is only two minutes away from the resort’s front doors. There is no shortage of other activities to relish at Salamander Resort & Spa, including nature tours of the area, falconry, an outdoor pool area for families, tennis courts, and a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf experience at nearby Creighton Farms Estates.

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