“Wow!” was my first reaction to The Lodge and Cottages at Primland, a chateau style resort on 12,000 acres of Blue Ridge Mountain beauty. Located about two hours’ south of Roanoke, Virginia or 45 minutes’ north of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Primland is one of those delightful anomalies of travel: a destination spa tucked into a luxurious, European retreat in the Appalachian heartland.
The dream house of M. Didier Primat, Primland was hand-crafted by this passionate owner on a former logging estate so that he could share the region’s beauty with the world.
Families Welcomed at Primland
The Lodge and Cottages at Primland is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, particularly their Preferred Family group of hotels that have been certified as appropriate for guests with children by meeting very stringent criteria for family facilities, amenities and activities. Primland makes the grade in all five age groups covering newborn to teens, and additionally offers babysitting service, childcare and depending on season, a kids club.
Although this enormous “chateau” has only 26 rooms within its main lodge, families can choose between a spacious Piedmont room (many are connecting) or rambling Lodge suite with kitchen, dining area, living room with fireplace, and huge bedroom with two queen beds. No matter what the age of your group, you can take advantage of the in-room minibars with freezer compartments, refrigerators, cribs, Pack ‘n’ Plays or other portable playpen, high chairs and booster seats.
The quiet and elegant lodge, with its library, spa, private screening room and observatory is the ideal base for a mother-daughter getaway (or even a father-son or graduation vacation treat) for anyone traveling with older kids, teens or adult family and friends.
For a longer vacation or a multigenerational group, there are more relaxed cottages and mountain homes scattered around the property. While the moderately priced three- and four-bedroom homes feel like they’re hidden away in Meadows of Dan, this rural community in the Blue Ridge Mountains, they are just a short drive from the Lodge. We prefer their casual country style for larger family groups, reunion members, wedding parties, or those traveling with young children because kids can freely play, run around and snack at their own pace.
Primland Focuses on Personal & Environmental Wellness
At Primland, wellness is a holistic concept. Superb meals feature locally sourced vegetables, poultry, fish and meats; wines come from the nearby Appalaccia Vineyards. Aboriginal paintings complement Native American images and contemporary mountain decor. The terrific staff share a traditional mountain welcome and ways, whether you’re savoring a private tasting at the Chef’s Table or having appetizers like “pig candy” (maple glazed bacon) and fried pickles delivered to your mountain home.
By day, Primland’s picture windows let in the mountain views, calling guests to come outside and enjoy this hunting and fishing preserve. By night, families can program a selection of movies or watch sports in the private screening room, then head upstairs to the observatory where the staff astronomer explains Virginia’s sky and stars.
The excellent Spa at Primland operates under the principles of honor, love and respect for Mother Earth that the local Cherokee espoused, and fit perfectly with the preferences of the upscale regional golf crowd that has already made Primland a second home. Based subtly on Native American beliefs and healing rituals, the unusual array of treatments feature natural products, turquoise stones, blue corn scrubs, even a damp hay rejuvenating body polish to bring the outdoors in.
The wellness facilities are equipped to treat ages 17 and up on their own, with a Unity Suite (double treatment room with plunge pool) for couples and friends or family. Children from the tender age of 2 can even have a fantasy manicure or pedicure, with mini-massages available to kids if parents are in the room.
Here’s a quick video tour of the Spa at Primland:
Fortunately, the beautiful spa pool is open to hotel and cottage guests as long as anyone under 16 is accompanied by an adult.
Primland Surprises with its Variety of Activities
Nonetheless, to encourage guests to bring nature into their lives, there is clay shooting where even younger kids can practice their aim with a rifle pointed at clay disks; wingshooting with trained hunt dogs on property; tree climbing with a skilled arborist; ATVing; deer hunting, fishing and horseback riding. Famililes can sign up for a property-wide scavenger hunt with geo-caching clues and equipment provided by the staff. Mountain bikes with child trailers and helmets are available as well.
It’s a weather-proof weekend getaway, too, with a Wii and Xbox 360 games in the Games Room and cards, chess and checkers sets at the front desk.
The Highland Course at Primland, voted Golfweek’s “Top 25 Resort Courses,” was designed by Donald Steel to wrap lazily around the lodge. As in the other scheduled activities, lessons are available for all ages and all skill levels.
Trip Planning Details for a Primland Family Escape
The trip from major airports can be a long one on a small plane, but the scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway to Meadows of Dan, the nearest town to Primrose, will distract you from the travails of getting there.
Families looking for a rejuvenating retreat will find Primland at its best mid-week when mountain homes, some sleeping up to 14, are the best value in lodging. Since the a la carte activities and spa treatment fees can add up quickly, we like Primland’s many package options. Our favorite among the variety of three-day, two-night packages is the “Wohpe, Daughter of the Moon” getaway for mothers and daughters, which features a room with breakfast and dinner, yoga classes, a luncheon and a spa ritual, manicure or pedicure, and Primland Signature massage for two, from $1,684 plus tax for a midweek stay.
To make reservations at Primland (866/673-7802), located at 2000 Busted Rock Road, Meadows of Dan, Virginia 24120, contact your travel agent or visit the helpful site at Preferred Family.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.