The internal makeup of the state-of-the-art Salamander Resort and Spa is beginning to take shape with just less than eight months remaining before its highly anticipated grand opening.
As part of its holiday celebration Salamander Hotels and Resorts Owner Sheila Johnson and her team gave tours of the 340-acre site in Middleburg, which will be home to the resort, followed by a party at Johnson’s home.
The design of the 168-room resort is intended to replicate a grand home built 100 years ago, with many of the details resembling her own home.
The resort will contain a lavish 23,000-square-foot spa, a full-service equestrian center with a 22-stall stable, 12,000 square feet of conference space and a 5,000-square-foot grand ballroom.
“When you enter through the front door, there is a magnificent two-story foyer with a big chandelier and the blue stone from outside continues into the space giving it a very rustic feel as you enter,” Prem Devadas, president of Salamander Resort said. “Once inside it becomes a wide-plank antique oak floor that runs throughout the space. Then, your looking into this grand living room with gas fireplaces on each side.”
While work is far from complete in the living room area, the framework of the room as well as most of the site has been completed and drywall is being hung.
Each room is in the process of being readied to start the final detailing process which includes furniture and other details for the 168 rooms.
Adjacent to the living room space, is the wine bar and then the billiards room, followed by a cooking studio and the grand restaurant.
While most hotels amenities are only accessible to guests, the staff of Salamander want to incorporate the entire community into the experience.
“Unlike a lot of resorts this is not going to be a gated private resort. People can come enjoy billiards, the wine bar, terrace seating, bonfires with s’mores or horseback riding,” Devadas said. “It is very, very public and that is why we sized the restaurants and why we have so many dining options, because we want to be a part of the community.”
“This will be open to the public and so first it will become a Middleburg community destination, then a Loudoun and Fauquier County destination and, ultimately, a Washington D.C. destination,” Devadas said.
According to Devadas, the wine bar will be frequented by tastings from local winemakers, an aspect they really wanted to feature.
Once you step out back of the resort you’re greeted by a stone terrace, which leads down to a roughly 200 yard long grand lawn. Devadas is expecting games of croquet, bocci and badminton as well as two fire pits with seating for about 20 people at each.
The Barn at the resort will hold both riding horses for guests as well as any guests horses who need to be boarded.
Salamander’s signature restaurant resembles an old barn standing 42 feet high, complete with rough sod timber.
The resort kitchen is already tiled and will serve all food for the restaurant, wine bar and banquet facilities. According to Devadas, workers will begin and finish installing kitchen equipment before the end of this year.
Banquet facilities will feature executive board and conference rooms as well as grand ballroom seating for 320 guests.
Devadas noted weddings will be one of the major activities for the banquet hall. Every Saturday in October 2013 as well as two weekends in December 2013 have already been booked without promotion, he said.
One of the most unique amenities featured at the resort is a Culinary Teaching Institute for guests to enjoy.
The idea has been one of Johnson’s dreams.
“We want to invite some of the top chefs from all over the country to come and hold cooking classes complete with a teaching kitchen,” Johnson said. “We are also wiring them for television so guests who take the classes can take a tape home to remember what they cooked during their classes. That also gives us the opportunity to potentially get on to the Food Network eventually.
“It can be for leisure guests or corporate team building opportunities,” Johnson said.
The Institute will also have a culinary garden on the grounds, where the cooking class students will begin by picking their own vegetables and food. This program will also be available to the general public.
In the spa, there will be men and women’s sides as well as a pool area outdoors in the courtyard and an indoor pool for water aerobics. An extensive fitness area is also available for guests.
Also as part of the spa are two “tree house” treatment rooms available for guests with scenic views of the surrounding woods and streams.
Users of the spa will enjoy deluxe locker rooms with whirlpools, steam rooms, saunas and experimental treatment facilities.
Fourteen deluxe treatment rooms will be available.
Salamander Hotels and Resorts also owns several luxury properties in Florida, including Innisbrook Resort in Tampa, Reunion Resort in Orlando and Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast.
In addition to owning the Salamander Resort in Middleburg, the company owns the Market Salamander and Salamander Touch.
While owning Salamander Hotels and Resorts, Johnson also is an accomplished entrepreneur and philanthropist that has mastered hospitality, sports, fashion, television and film, the arts, education, women’s empowerment and community development.
She is part owner of the NBA’s Washington Wizards, WNBA’s Washington Mystics and NHL’s Washington Capitals. She is also the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television.
Devadas noted that construction has brought 400 jobs to Middleburg and once the resort is up and running he expects approximately 300 full-time and part-time positions making up the resorts day-to-day operations.
Devadas expects approximately 200 employees to be working at a time.
Salamander Resort and Spa is scheduled to open in late August 2013. A model room is also available for viewing at the Salamander Touch gift shop.
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