When looking for somewhere a little different for a sublime resort getaway, the choices can seem myriad. Beach properties are always a popular go-to, with their lure of the sun, surf, and party atmosphere. Ranches, spas, ski resorts, and historical properties beckon too. But there comes a time to go for another brand of sophistication. There’s something about a mountain lodge setting that simply exudes a sense of royalty. The castle-like remoteness surrounded by natural hilly redoubts makes you feel nestled in a private kingdom. Arriving at the Primland Resort, you’ll know immediately that this is more than just another lofty stay in pomp and majesty.
Situated on 12,000 acres in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, Primland is literally the size of Bermuda, and all that space frees up the soul. Created as a private retreat more than 45 years ago, the resort started as a labor of love. The late French industrialist Didier Primat carved out this slice of heaven for his family to enjoy and respect untouched nature. This ethos stretched into its formal development by the Auberge Resorts Collection, defining how the property is preserved and nurtured. You’ll find this reflected in everything from the personalized guest services to the property’s sustainability practices and even the farm-to-table menus at the many wonderful on-site eateries.
The awe-inspiring mountain setting takes your breath away from the moment you see it. The grounds are loaded with excellent outdoor activities. Think country favorites like horseback riding, paddle boarding, hiking, and fishing, all exclusively reserved for guests. You can also get into some RTV excursions and mountain biking, making for wondrous family or couples memories. Moving seamlessly from backwoods adventures to luxury lodgings is like being in your own private realm, wandering around and exploring one moment and being treated like royalty the next. And then there is The Highland Course, sporting an amazing setting for golfing, created by famed designer Donald Steel. These greens cater to pros and newbies alike. Go beyond these earthly pleasures at the property’s Observatory. Stargazing sessions at night allow you to peep through the gigantic telescope and discover faraway planets, stars, and galaxies. There in the remote Blue Ridge Mountains, light pollution is kept far at bay, allowing for a pristinely unobscured view of the night sky.
Sportsmen have another dimension of adventure in store. Shooting enthusiasts will find things hit a whole new level at the Primland Sporting Club. The property’s astounding club provides everything from primo-grade rifles to on-site instruction. The 14-station, mile-long target course has clay targets rushing in and out of the trees, floating like ducks, and hoppity-hopping rabbit-style across the ground. Whether you’re honing your skills or giving sports shooting your first try, the course is exciting, creative, and highly rewarding. But some may wish to indulge in something more challenging still. The European Bird Shoot excursion allows you to go after live game. Pheasants flock by the hundreds, and expert guides not only lead you to them and pluck prize feathers as trophies. During the day-long experience, expect pauses for refreshments and reflection in the stunning landscape.
Lodging comes in a glorious variety, catering to whatever experience you are curating. The main lodge has expansive rooms with a single king bed, two queens, suite options, and quick access to all the amenities. However, The crown jewel here is the jaw-dropping 18,000-square-foot suite Celestial Suite. Two stories high and situated right in the Observatory, it’s one of the best couples’ accommodations you will find. Fairway Cottages edge the Highland Course just a few steps from the tees. Stunning views of the valley below the lodge are featured in the Pinnacle cottages, where up to 12 people can comfortably stay. Those seeking a loftier set of accommodations are urged to stay at the Tree Houses—perched eagle-style up in the treetops. And if you really want to escape it all, the Rustic Mountain homes are just the place. There you can have as many as 22 guests lodging in a “roughing it” vibe but still entirely comfortable with amenities like jacuzzies and wraparound decks.
Finally, we have to say a word about the excellent culinary offerings at Primland. The farm-to-table ethos includes organic produce grown in the property’s gardens, with more coming from local sources. Such freshness only elevates the fine dining at the elegant Elements, overseen by master Chef Ryan DeRieux. In a gilded room with an unparalleled view of the property, you can enjoy farm-fresh bacon and eggs for breakfast or partake in a gourmet dinner. Those seeking that gastro experience can opt for the 19th Pub, a lively, more casual spot with a lovely outdoor terrace. The perfect couples’ vibe can be found at the Schlumberger Wine Center, with sublime tastings and perfect pairings. Or opt for a fun vibe at the Stables Saloon, with BBQ fare, live banjo music, and more.
It’s not easy to find a luxury resort that allows you to feel at home, at one with nature, and fully pampered all at the same time. Personal warmth and organic comradery with fellow guests blend seamlessly with a truly regal approach to service. So, what’s the secret of Primland’s charm? Turn to the nature of the location and its founder’s authentic, loving intentions of its founder. Both speak to the perfect fusion of grandiosity and down-to-earth sensibilities, the magic of nature, and that personal touch, which together make this property and any getaway there simply unforgettable. It’s perfect for a “guys’ trip” or an adventure for the whole family.
Words by Doug McLaughlin