Hotel Watch: A World Away in Virginia’s Highlands at Primland Resort

See dazzling stars in the night sky and hike picturesque Appalachian trails

by Dara Klatt

Primland Resort, part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, is nestled among 12,000 acres of hills and valley.

It was Teddy Roosevelt, the ultimate nature and conservation president, who once said “Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” For type A, stress-wound, politico Washington residents who want to escape city life and live out those presidential words to the wise, Primland Resort offers the ultimate, luxurious way to both see dazzling stars in the night sky and hike picturesque Appalachian trails, and so much more.

The lobby in the main lodge.

Located in Meadows of Dan, Va., near the North Carolina border —about a five to six-hour drive via I-81S —Primland Resort is nestled among 12,000 bucolic acres of rolling hills and valleys. Part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, the resort includes 51 rooms, suites and cottages, and is an outdoor lover’s dream, with opportunities to hike, bike, ATV, ride horses across forested grounds, golf in a champion 18-hole golf course, fish, kayak, pheasant hunt, fly-fish, try out archery,… (need we continue?) as well as a full-service spa, fitness center and indoor pool.

The pool at Primland Spa.

One of the resort’s greatest marvels is its fully-equipped observatory. The property’s altitude, at nearly 3,000 feet, the clarity of the night sky, and a Celestron CGE Pro 1400 and CPC 800 telescopes mean that you can study the stars, planets, nebulae, and other celestial objects year round. The dome is attached to the top of the hotel’s turret and frequent presentations by appointment are given at the observatory by resident astronomers, who provide insight into the scenery above.

The exterior of the observatory.

When the sun rises, grab binoculars and set out on a range of private trails (18 miles total) that range from less than a mile to six or more in length. Maintained by the resort, the trails have more wildlife critters than crowds (we spied a northern water snake and a red-spotted newt). The trailheads are easily accessible from the main lodge and and have an abundance of flora, fauna and scenic spots. Curated trail guides rank the 3.1 mile Buzzards Roost Trail as one of the top “easy” favorites.

For a true one-of-a-kind experience, you can book a private treehouse among giant oak trees, with all the amenities of a five-star lodge that you would expect: king-size beds, expansive wooden decks and modern spa-type bathrooms with magnificent views from the bathtub. The resort has a few different tree houses to choose from (ranging from $675-900 per night), including the “Golden Eagle Tree House” which was designed and prefabricated in France by renowned tree house architectural firm La Cabane Perche?e.

The bathroom in the Gold Eagle treehouse.

Relax: Book a private jacuzzi soak and a soothing 60-minute side-by-side couple Swedish massage

Eat: Try the Chef’s Tasting Menu at the resort’s signature restaurant, Elements.

Join: Take part in the seasonal programming, with creative ever-changing options, from crafty watercolor and wine in February, to July croquet to hot toddies and s’mores by the firepit in the winter.

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