Primland: A Five-Star Blue Ridge Mountain Retreat

As we drove the Blue Ridge Parkway deeper and deeper into the heart of south-western Virginia, we passed regional landmarks like Round Meadow Creek and the Mayberry Trading Post before turning onto Squirrel Spur Road, which snaked through the mountains on a scenic and serpentine path.

Then, a sign:

Primland sign 3

 

It’s a blink-or-you’ll-miss-it moment, but for those who are in the know, this sign is the first step towards ending up at one of the mid-Atlantic’s premier luxury resorts, Primland.

Set amongst 12,000 acres of jaw-droppingly beautiful Blue Ridge peaks and valleys in Meadows of Dan, Virginia, Primland made news this year by ranking as one of the top 50 resorts in the world (yes, the world!) by Travel and Leisure Magazine. That distinction is just one of many worldwide accolades, yet Primland is still — incredibly — very much of a hidden gem to a majority of the mid-Atlantic’s populace.

I had the opportunity to spend 2 days and 1 night at Primland after my recent Old School Virginia road trip and let me just say that this five-star retreat lived up to all of my highest expectations.

Primland- sunset over lodge

Primland’s Lodge at sunset

 

The Property

One of Primland’s best features is the land that makes up the property. 12,000 acres covers a lot of ground (nearly 19 square miles) and once you make that turn through the gates, you’ve still got quite a ways to go before reaching the main Lodge. Besides the land set aside for activities and roads, much of the property has been completely preserved and remains nearly untouched. The resort’s founder, Didier Primat, strived to create an authentically beautiful place for guests to relax and escape to a simpler time.

So much undisturbed land has made Primland a sanctuary for wildlife. Animals like deer, wild turkeys and black bears call Primland home and it’s common to run into some of them throughout your stay.

I’m just glad I brought extra batteries for my camera because the property was photo-ready at each and every turn! I visited in the late fall, when the leaves were fading splotches of reds, oranges and yellows, but I imagine that each season is equally picturesque.

Here are a few of my favorite snapshots of Primland’s scenery:

Primland- golf greens

Natural long grass accents the Highland Golf Course

 

ATV- sceneryjpg

Layers of gorgeous fall color

 

Primland- sunset

A sunset view from the Lodge… seriously, could this get any prettier?

 

Primland- geocaching view

A hike offers wooded views of the valley

 

Primland- wild turkey

FORE! Wild Turkeys on the course.

 

The Lodge

The main Lodge (with 2 restaurants, a spa, gym, game room, great room, observatory and library) serves as home base for day trippers, golfers and those staying either at the Lodge or the resort’s other lodging options.**

It’s perched atop a mountain in the middle of the property, with giant windows offering 360-degree views of the surrounding scenery. Consisting of 26 unique and luxuriously-appointed rooms, the lodge itself is a case study in effective regional and eco-friendly architecture.

It’s obvious that much care has been taken in the lodge’s design — both aesthetically and intrinsically — to show respect to the native cultures who have previously inhabited this land. The silo that’s part of the main building pays tribute to the region’s agricultural roots, while Native American and aboriginal art beautifully adorn the walls. The raw construction materials were carefully chosen as well, with dramatic wooden beams and paneling made of recycled and indigenous materials from neighboring Patrick and Floyd counties.

Primland definitely takes itself and its commitment to sustainable luxury seriously, but there’s also an underlying rustic vibe at the lodge that’s incredibly refreshing. It’s just a very comfortable and peaceful place.

**Those wanting a little extra seclusion could consider the Fairway cottages along the golf course, mountain homes and a trio of luxury tree houses which are so popular that more are in the works.

Primland- lodge close up

A closer view of the Lodge and dramatic silo

 

Lodge- great room

The great room looks out over the Highland Course and mountains

 

Lodge- view

Places made for contemplation and relaxation abound throughout the Lodge

 

Elements dinner 2

Element’s is Primland’s fine dining restaurant. Featuring an emphasis on farm-to-table regional cuisine, I opted for a main course of duck breast with apples, brussels sprouts and parsnips. (So good that I ate every last bite!)

 

Primland- treehouse

One of Primland’s popular tree houses… talk about an amazing view!

 

The Room

Walking into our room, I could immediately tell what sets Primland apart from other resorts. The lights were all on, perfectly set for our arrival. Gentle music fitting of a spa relaxation room was quietly playing from the TV. A welcome basket full of fruit, water and Primland’s signature apple cake (plus the recipe!) were on the kitchen table. All of our bags had been brought up from my car —  it should be noted that I had a LOT of bags and randomly strewn stuff in the trunk for this road trip — and any loose clothing were neatly hung in the closet. All we had to do was walk in and marvel at how perfect things were and how beautiful the room was.

A photo tour:

Primland- huge bathroom

The bathroom was… Huge. Gorgeous. Extravagant. Perfect. The floors were heated, and the bathtub was big enough for two. (*blush*) The dual shower heads gave the spa a run for the “Best Massage” award, and there were plenty of towels and toiletries to go around.

 

Room- bed and bathroom

Don’t worry, there’s a door to separate the bathroom from the bedroom… but I loved that it opens up to give more light and atmosphere to the room.

 

Primland- Bulgari toiletries

Toiletries… from Bulgari. Seriously.

 

Primland- view from room

The view from our living room… not pictured: the comfy chaise lounger in a private nook, meant for enjoying a little bit of serenity

 

Primland- sitting area

Our living room… not pictured: one of our ginormous flat screen TVs

 

Light switch

My favorite feature of the room? Automatic light and curtain buttons. Each room had them, and you could easily set the perfect mood with the simple press of a button.

 

I could have spent all day lounging on a chaise in one of our room’s nooks overlooking the mountains, or playing with the one-touch light and curtain switches — seriously, how can I get my condo wired with those kind of switches?? —  but we were here for some fun! It was time to get up and begin experiencing some of Primland’s fantastic activities.

 

The Activities

Here’s how I would sum up the activities offered at Primland: The most kick-ass summer camp for adults.

Over 45 activities with pretty much everything you could imagine: shooting clays, a high-speed ATV course, horseback riding, 18-holes of golf (Primland’s Highland Course was awarded #13 out of 100 public golf courses in the U.S by Golf Digest in 2012), geocaching, star watching, fly fishing, a frisbee golf course designed by the co-founder of the sport, George Sappenfield, and lots more.

Primland is also known for its pheasant hunting. As I walked to breakfast, I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of ladies and gentleman dressed to the nines for European Wingtail Shooting. Like something out of Downton Abbey, they were prepared to head out “on the hunt.” While shooting clay pigeons and rabbits is much more my style, I have to admit that the get-up and ritual of it all looked very glamorous, indeed!

During my stay I really packed it in and I loved getting a little dirty (and raising my adrenaline) on the ATVs, dodging bears and enjoying a hike on the geocaching circuit and embracing my inner huntress as I shot a gun for the first time… and hitting a clay rabbit  on my first try!

And I really liked ending it all with a relaxing signature massage at the spa. Heaven.

Primland- golfers

Some golfer’s enjoying the view from the Highland Course. (Or perhaps they’re contemplating a ball they lost over the edge… ha!)

 

Shooting clays- pigeons

She shoots, she scores!!!

 

Primland- geocaching trail sign

The start to our hike/ geocaching adventure

 

Geocaching clue

Each clue in the geocaching course featured different wildlife indigenous to the property. It was a blast — I highly recommend it!

 

Primland- horse

While we didn’t ride any horses this trip, we did stop by the stables with some apples in hand to say hello.

 

Petting horses

 

ATV

A 2-hour ATV trip was just what I needed to get my adrenaline pumping! (Luckily, I spent most of the ride as a passenger… had to be able to take photos!)

 

 

Spa

After getting my hands a little dirty (as well as my jeans, my jacket, my face, my hair… you get the idea) it was time to get pampered at the Spa.

Spa- weasel

I loved my 60 minute Signature Massage, which incorporated both Native American elements and traditional massage techniques. It ended with me picking a card which represented my animal spirit. I got the Weasel… hmmm…

 

Primland- observatory 3

At night, the top of the silo opens up to reveal a slice of heaven. Literally. It’s an observatory with a high-powered telescope that looks deep into space. Amazing.

 

Primland- scotch and smores

As the night winds down, it’s not uncommon to see business men enjoying s’mores (provided by the resort) along with their scotches around the fire.

 

Smores

I had to get in on the s’mores action, too. What a nice amenity!

 

The Bottom Line

I absolutely loved Primland. The natural beauty is amazing in it’s own right, but it’s the little touches that separate Primland from the pack. Despite the large property, there are relatively few guests, which ensures that you receive individualized, dedicated service and that the front desk concierge knows your name and greets you accordingly throughout your stay.

Whether you’re looking for a couple’s getaway, corporate meeting place, family vacation, girl’s weekend or bachelor party, everyone is sure to find something that they’ll be happy with in this picture-perfect Blue Ridge Mountain wilderness retreat.

 

**DISCLAIMER: My meals, accommodations and activities for this trip were provided by the Primland Resort. I worked closely with them to customize an itinerary that best fit my travel perspective and all opinions are my own.**

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2 Responses to Primland: A Five-Star Blue Ridge Mountain Retreat

  1. Tony R December 4, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    Great write up! Definitely seems like Primland has something for everybody!

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