(Photo: Salamander Resort & Spa)On first glance of the rolling landscape, you might think the lovely Salamander Resort & Spa is nestled among the vineyards of northern California's Napa Valley. But you'd be wrong. That's because the property is spread out over 340 verdant acres in bucolic Middleburg, a small town in Virginia's under-the-radar wine country.
(Photo: Salamander Resort & Spa)Middleburg also happens to be the heart of horse country, so the animals figure heavily into the resort's design. The 168 spacious rooms and suites feature luxurious marble vanities, canopy beds, and plush furnishings—the work of D.C.-based interiors guru Thomas Pheasant—but also equine-themed accents such as stirrup-patterned throw blankets. Suites are named after owner Sheila C. Johnson's daughter's favorite horses. And there's an onsite equestrian center (Jackie Kennedy was a frequent visitor), a 22-stall stable, and miles of trails worth exploring.
(Photo: Salamander Resort & Spa)Public spaces feel warm and residential—no surprise given the architectural inspiration for the property was Johnson's own farm nearby. Photos of her children are sprinkled throughout the airy Living Room lounge, a room dominated by a large bronze statue of a rider. Warm wood paneling and clubby chairs in the library create a cozy vibe.
(Photo: Salamander Resort & Spa)There's also a restaurant that fits right in with the homey décor, but for my money, I'd be hanging in the spa. After all, rustic wood beams, elegant white chaises, and rough-hewn window treatments all but insure relaxation.