'The Butler' Producer Opens Movie and New Virginia Resort In Same Month
Sheila C. Johnson in her Southern belle best on The Salamander Resort's Grand Lawn
BET co-founder Sheila C. Johnson has had a heck of a busy August. Not only has she opened "The Butler", a star-studded movie featuring Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker, Vanessa Redgrave, and Mariah Carey, but next week on August 29th, she'll unveil her decade-long project--the Salamander Resort & Spa
It took ten years for the high powered executive to put together all the pieces necessary to build this 168-room luxury resort in Middleburg, Virginia. If you didn't know, Middleburg is a one-stoplight village just 35 minutes from Washington Dulles International Airport. It also gained fame when President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy started spending weekends there--Jackie riding horses on the Salamander property while JFK held press conferences in the village. Middleburg's also smack dab in the middle of northern Virginia's wine country.
So, one can see why Johnson would choose this location to build her dream hotel. The equestrian themed resort sits on 340 acres of land cultivated for horse and wine enthusiasts. Not only is there a 22-stall stable, riding ring, and trails on property, guests have the opportunity to board their own horses and take advantage of the full-service center, programming and clinics.
Washington D.C.-designer Thomas Pheasant, who has worked on Blair House (the president's guest house), the Hay-Adams Hotel and frequently appears in Architectural Digest, is the talent behind the Salamander's "horse-country" decor. The Living Room has two grand fireplaces and distressed oak-planked flooring and opens up onto a large stone terrace, which then leads to the dramatic Grand Lawn.
Rooms spread throughout the four season-themed floors are equally grand. They include a non-traditional canopy bed, sitting area with full-sized sofa, dining table for two and even a working fireplace. But just in case you think it's a bit stuffy, the 40-inch high def plasma TV (plus the mini screen in the bathroom) cuts the chintz-factor down a bit.
When not in the equine state of mind, guests can take time to visit the Salamander Spa, a 14-room haven with private treatment terraces and fireplaces, heated stone loungers, and a Rhassoul wet treatment area. An infinity pool, private cabanas, cafe, and fire pit up the luxe factory that much more, making the spa experience an all-day one, should you chose.
Rates during summer and fall high season begin at $425 per night for a deluxe guest room. They'll drop to $275 per night at non-peak times.
[Photos: Salamander Resort]