MEADOWS OF DAN, VA - It’s not an exaggeration to say The Lodge at Primland Resort and Spa offers guests an “out of this world” experience.
And it’s not just because its spa with the Native American-themed treatments and décor is heavenly; its magnificent Donald Steel-designed golf course puts players over the moon with excitement; or that its state-of-the-art, luxury-filled suites with the million-dollar mountain views are fit for stars - from the worlds of entertainment and industry.
No, the main reason The Lodge is “above and beyond” anything you’ve experienced before is because of its observatory, which permits guests to gaze into the star-filled sky that most nights canopies this fabulous addition to America’s luxury resort collection.
The Lodge - the cherry on top of the sweet Blue Ridge Mountain on which it sits - is the only resort in America to offer guests a chance to view the heavens from the comfort of an observation deck, located in its stylish silo wing, which also features mega suites fit for royalty.
Star-gazing from the comfort of overstuffed lounge chairs with a glass of world-class wine from the resort’s well-stocked cellar usually comes after resident stargazer Scott Martin explains a few things – like where the Big Dipper can be found hanging over the Lodge and what ancient civilizations, like the Native Americans who once camped on the same land where the resort now stands, found so fascinating about the stars and how they used them to their benefit.
Left: Virginia is home to some amazing golf courses. Right: Wildlife abounds at the wilderness resort tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Guests are aided by the resort’s Celestron CGE Pro 1400 telescope with the 40mm eyepiece and 70x zoom. There are three ways of viewing the heavens and beyond through the telescope with the automatic focus: 1) directly looking through the lens; 2) via an analog camera mounted on the viewfinder of the scope; 3) through a high-quality digital camera mounted to the viewfinder that presents high-resolution images of the sky. No matter what method you use, the results are always the same – spectacular views of galaxies up to 27 million light years away.
The inclusion of the observatory has proven to be quite a hit with visitors, who also get to hear lectures from important guest scientists, some of whom helped build and manage the Hubble Space Telescope.
Heavens above, does it get better than this?
At Primland, it does.
The resort has quickly become one of the hottest properties in the United States, thanks mainly to its remote, tranquil setting (perfect for the business elite to come and chill out) along with its array of first-rate facilities, like The Spa.
There are many resort spas in the U.S., but few are like Primland’s. Pity!
Garance Primat, one of the resort’s Swiss owners, was inspired by Native American culture when she sat down to plan The Spa, an 8,134 square-foot beauty offering four treatment rooms, a yoga and pilates studio, a relaxation room that looks out on the mountain splendor, saunas and therapists who combine ancient techniques into their treatments.
The Spa is wrapped in shades of blue and taupe – colours signifying water and land to Native Americans - and native art abounds, including wonderful pieces from Primate’s own private collection of Australian Aboriginal art. Guests are bathed in the sound of soothing Native American music and the whole Spa experience at Primland is truly unique and rejuvenating.
The Primat family spared no expensive making their resort look so good, including in the construction and design of their championship Highlands golf course, which even Steel, one of the pre-eminent links-style architects in the world, considers among his best designs.
“There is a remoteness about Primland,” said Steel, “a sense of escape that is special.”
Golfers escape into a world of rolling fairways, crowned greens, hidden pot bunkers and breathtaking mountain views during a round on the Highlands, which offers 18 “signature” holes that together form one of the most spectacular mountain courses in the world.
Left: The rooms at Primland’s Lodge are some of the finest in the resort business.
The Highlands in now in its fifth year of operation and, like Steel, is just getting better with age.
The Lodge was the finishing touch to the masterpiece known as Primland – and the Primat family saved the best for last.
The 72,000 square foot Lodge is perched atop one of the highest ridges on the 12,000-acre resort and it serves as a beacon for weary travellers looking for a cosmic experience.
The rooms, wrapped in warm wood cut from the surrounding forest, and featuring exposed beams, vaulted wood ceilings and stone fireplaces, are designed to reflect the architectural style of the structures built by early Virginia Mountain pioneers.
The space-aged electronic gadgets that fill each of the 26 rooms, ranging from the 1,800 square foot Pinnacles Suite down to the well-sized 518 square foot Piedmont rooms, take a few minutes for new guests to figure out but once you master the switches, it’s push-button heaven for the rest of your stay.
The dining at Primland ranges from the elegant Elements and its views of the golf course and mountain ridges, to the 19th Pub, where golfers gather after their rounds and share stories about their day on a course rated by many golf publications as “a beauty and a beast.”
Primland’s Vice-President Steve Helms and General Manager Brooks Bradbury are two of the most congenial hosts in the resort industry and their staff takes southern hospitality to new heights.
But that’s what Primland is all about – taking guests to new heights, and it starts in its observatory.
- The easiest way to get to Primland is to fly with Air Canada or US Airways from Toronto to Charlotte, rent a car, and take the easy 2 ½ hour drive to paradise.
- To find out more about Primland, go to www.primland.com