Primland Resort in Meadows of Dan, Virginia, Part 1

By on October 10, 2011

By Julie Register –

Spa Feedback

I entered the relaxation room at The Spa at Primland warm from the whirlpool and steam room and a little restless.

fall scents for your home
Relaxation Room at The Spa at Primland

I poured a cup of Victory Tea and noted the books on the shelf below the refreshments that I might want to read later:

View from the Relaxation Room

I casually flipped through the pages of comments from previous spa guests. Odd, I thought. I went through them again more slowly. Hmmm. The third time, I read each one of them. From the first one in May 2010 to the last one written just that morning, I could not find one criticism or suggestion. Not only that, the comments were positively gushy. From anniversary and birthday celebrations to secret rendezvous – from near and far away – everyone had only good things to say about The Spa…

  • “Outstanding…We enjoyed the unity room for our massages. Beautiful & serene setting. Perfectly balanced & great staff.”
  • “What a wonderful healing place – we’re leaving here relaxed, refreshed, renewed, recharged. Blessings on this place, all who work here & visit here in all the years to come.”
North Carolina
  • “Truly spectacular resort…Our stay at the lodge has been heavenly – pampered in luxurious surrounding and unparalleled attention to detail.”
  • “We came to Primland to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. Not knowing what to expect, but with high expectations, the staff and facilities have exceeded anything we could have dreamed.”
  • “Wow! I’ve been to spas all over the world, and it is clear that Primland has taken its place as the equal of any, anywhere! This world class spa is simply the icing on the cake of a perfect jewel of a resort.”
New York

And on and on and on…My expectations had been driven sky high. I wondered if the spa experience I was about to have could possibly live up to them. The short answer is yes, it could. And it did. First, a little background…

Spa Inspiration

Garance Primat, the owner who guided The Spa’s creation, found inspiration in the physical and spiritual nature of the mountains on which Primland is located. She envisioned The Spa as an uplifting space where guests could go to relax and rejuvenate in harmony with nature while honoring the land and the people of the land. Over many years, eight American Indian tribes have lived where Primland now stands including Cherokee, Iroquois, Monacan, Sapony, Tutelo, Melungeon and Saura. Garance and French spa consultant, Sylvie Keo, spent over a year meeting with native descendants and local historians gathering information so that they could bring authenticity to The Spa environment. A few of the concepts that influenced the design of The Spa include:

  • The medicine wheel – The American Indian medicine wheel is a compass of life that connects the outside world to the personal world of heart, mind, body and spirit. The spa and treatments are intended to work in line with energies of nature, turning as do the seasons, in an ongoing cycle.
  • The use of the color turquoise to create an aura of tranquility – The turquoise stone is, to the American Indians, a piece of sky fallen on earth, building a link between the spiritual and earth energy. The Indians believe that the stone harmonizes the body and the spirit.
  • Sweat lodge – This sauna-type experience was used by the Indians for both health and religious reasons.
The natural building materials were locally sourced and were carefully selected to provide an ambience in keeping with of The Spa’s intention and the overall design of The Lodge. Turquoise is found in the tiles and the towels. Wall decor includes representations of leaves in the treatment rooms, photos of Indians in the hallway, a spear in the Relaxation Room, a headdress in the fitness studio and medicine wheels made by a local Indian from turquoise and crystals from France (where Garance is from originally) in the reception area and the Relaxation Room. The rooms were named for the four elements plus unity (couples).
The treatments were designed to pay homage to nature from which the tribes drew their ability to heal, and organic and natural products are used. At the same time, they blend the proven techniques from Europe.
Garance took special care in choosing the music for The Spa to soothe the senses. Her selection of books about Native Americans in the small library in the Relaxation Room is just one more tiny detail attended to.
My Spa Experience

Signature Primland Birdhouse from nearby Lover’s Leap Birdhouses outside the Relaxation Room in The Spa at Primland

After settling down in a lounge chair in the Relaxation Room, I sipped my tea and began to prepare myself for the upcoming spa treatment. I took deep, slow breaths (in for the count of 6 and out for the count of 8, 10 if I can make it). I mentally checked my body from head to toe for any bit of tension and consciously released it. I thought about how grateful I was to be in that place at that time, and then I cleared my mind and blocked the random thoughts that wanted to intrude on my peace. I opened my eyes and soaked in the lovely scenery outside.

Water Treatment Room at The Spa at Primland

Facial Treatment Room at The Spa at Primland

Soon Brenda came to escort me to the facial treatment room. I was about to have a 90-minute Primland Signature Facial. She told me that the treatment was inspired by the Native Americans. She explained the treatment then asked me if I would like to choose a Medicine Card. I said I would, and she held a deck of cards out to me. I pulled one out. It was The Turtle. She said she never had anyone select that card before. She read what it meant from the accompanying book:
In Native American Teachings, Turtle is the oldest symbol for planet Earth. It is the personification of goddess energy, and the eternal Mother from which our lives evolve. We are born of the womb of Earth, and to her soil our bodies will return. In honoring the Earth, we are asked by Turtle to be mindful of the cycle of give and take, to give back to the Mother as she has given to us.
Turtle has a shell which is similar to the protection that Earth has employed for centuries as her body has been defiled. Mother Earth’s protection has come in the form of changes – new plant growth, the creation of new land masses by volcanoes, and climate alterations. Like Turtle, you also have shields that protect you from hurt, envy, jealousy, and the unconsciousness of others. Turtle teaches you through its habit patterns, how to use protection. If you are bothered by the actions or words of others, it is time to go inside yourself and honor your feelings. If you are attacked, it is time to give a warning snap.
If you have chosen the Turtle symbol, you are being asked to honor the creative source within you, to be grounded to the Earth, and to observe your situation with motherly compassion. Use the water and earth energies, which represent Turtle’s two homes, to flow harmoniously with your situation and to place your feet firmly on the ground in a power stance.
If you draw the Turtle card, it augurs a time of connecting with the power of Earth and the Mother-Goddess within. This is a reminder of the ally you have in Mother Earth. It does not matter what situation you have created; ask her for assistance, and abundance will follow.
Mother Earth is calling to reconnect in some way. If you have felt alone in your time of need, she is calling. If you have been struggling financially she is your medicine – use it. You are not alone…ever. You are a child of Earth. All acts of pleasure, joy and abundance are given by the Mother of the creative force. Use her energy to aid you, and you will be healed enough to share this energy with others. You are not a victim, and you are not helpless, no matter how much it may seem like this is the case in your present situation. To right the ill-dignified turtle, you need only list the things you are grateful for and from that grateful place in your heart, look the abundance of alternatives the Mother Earth gives.
I’ve received plenty of message cards at various spas in the past. When I am offered an interpretation, I generally take them rather lightly and translate them to suit my beliefs. For instance, I replaced “Mother Earth” with “God” in this passage. However, I got chills when I heard “motherly compassion,” and my eyes teared up on the last sentence. I had been working on building “that grateful place” in my heart for a very long time. Needless to say, the card reading started the treatment off on a meaningful level for me.

Turkey Feathers used in Spa Treatments at The Spa at Primland to disperse negative energy

Brenda continued by saying she would be using my Indian birthstone during the treatment for good energy. She would also be using turkey feathers to brush aside evil spirits and bad energy.
Finally, Brenda asked if I would like her to add an aroma to the oil she would be using. I said I would, and she held out the three blends, one at a time. They all smelled lovely, but I chose the Tranquility blend (Tangerine, Orange, Benzoin, Eucalyptus Globulus, Litsea, Ho Wood, Spearmint, Spanish Marjoram, Cedar Himalayan, and Sandalwood).
Brenda left the room while I put my robe and sandals in the closet then got situated face down on the treatment table. She returned, rang three chimes and started the treatment with a back massage. The oil was warm and felt very nice. I immediately zoned out. The massage lasted for about a half hour. I vaguely remember a few hot stones being placed on my back. Very nice. After the massage, Brenda asked me to turn over, so she could start the facial. She explained that
The Spa uses Naturopathica products because the line uses natural and organic ingredients. Brenda placed the obsidian on my navel and warm stones on a few of my chakra points. With the steamer on, she massaged my face with a cleanser followed by a toner and polish then Sweet Cherry Brightening Enzyme Peel. While the peel worked, she massaged my feet with Peppermint Foot Cream and put small warm stones between my toes. She used a rotary brush on my face to finish the peel and exfoliation. She applied a calming Seaweed Recovery Mask and massaged my arms and hands while that worked. The next step is where I completely zoned out – a stimulating facial massage using Carrot Seed Soothing Serum and a neck, shoulders, back and arms massage using warm Bourbon Vanilla Body Lotion and oil. The facial was completed with an eye and upper lip treatment using Vitamin K Brightening Eye Serum and Beech Tree and Ginseng Daily Moisturizer. It was absolutely incredible! I was more relaxed in this facial than I have been in most massages. My skin also felt soft and looked “dewy.” It was one of the very best facials I’ve ever had. And I’ve had a lot of them!
The next day I returned for a Primland Signature Massage. Holly asked me if I would like to select a Medicine Card. This time I chose The Dolphin. She marked the place in the book and said I could read it in the Relaxation Room after the massage. She had me select an aroma for the massage oil. I chose the Serenity blend (Ylang Ylang, French Lavender, Orange, Litsea, Lime, and Cedar Himalayan). She said she would be place my Indian birthstone on me during the massage for good energy. She would also be using turkey feathers to brush aside evil spirits and bad energy. She left. I got situated on the table. She returned and rang three chimes. She then gave me a very relaxing full body massage using a few hot stones on my back, front and in between my toes. She used firm pressure throughout the massage, just the way I like. When it was done, I put my robe and sandals back on, and Holly escorted me to the Relaxation Room. She gave me a cup of tea and the Medicine Card book. I thanked her and read about The Dolphin:
Dolphin speaks to us of the breath of life, the only thing that humans cannot go without for more than a few minutes. We can live without water and food for days, but oxygen is the source of our sustenance. Within the breath we encounter the rhythm of energy that all life emits. In changing the rate or rhythmic texture of our breath, we can tap into any other life form or creature. This is a very easy way to connect with divine energy coming from Great Spirit, as well as with your own personal rhythms.

Dolphin is the keeper of the sacred breath of life, and teaches us how to release emotions through Dolphin breath. Dolphin creates rhythm, swimming through the water and breathing before submerging, then holding its breath for the duration of underwater travel. As Dolphin comes above water again, it blows its breath out in a manner resembling the popping of a cork. We can use this same technique to pull the stopper on our tensions and create total relaxation. This is a good exercise to use before entering the silence.

Manna is life force. Manna is present in every atom, and is Great Spirit’s essence. Dolphin teaches us how to use life-manna through our breath. It revitalizes each cell and organ, and breaks the limits and dimensions of physical reality so that we may enter Dreamtime.

If Dolphin has appeared to you today, frothing through the waves in your spread, you are to be a link to some solution for the Children of Earth. This can be a time when you are to link with Great Spirit and bring answers to your own questions or to those of others. In addition, this can mean a time of communication with the rhythms of nature. You are put on notice to be mindful of your body rhythms and the patterns of energy being fed to you from the Creator. Imitate Dolphin and ride the waves of laughter, spreading joy in the world. Breathe and experience the manna so freely given. Break existing barriers and connect to the Dreamtime or Great Star Nation. Know that we are all whole in the eyes of the Everliving One.

If Dolphin appears reversed, know that you are forgetting breathe. You may be under stress, and your body may need manna. You may be starving your cells and organs no matter how many vitamins you are taking. Your natural cycles may be fouling up. Pay close attention to your health and your feelings. If you are on edge or just tense, take time to relax and breathe the life force into your muscles. Focus on releasing old breath at the bottom of your lungs and refilling your respiratory system with regenerative manna. Breathe from the diaphragm and fill the lungs to capacity. Then exhale from the chest to the belly, allowing your body to totally relax as you breathe out.

Another message of contrary Dolphin is that many signals are carried through universal tides or waves, and you may be failing to use your sonar. To detect these wave-patterns you may need to realign yourself with natural rhythms within your body. Then it is necessary to use the Dolphin breath to connect to universal awarenesses and signals.

Dolphin says to dive deeply into the water, to play by the coral reefs, and to discover the beauty of the rhythm of breath.
I always forget to breathe fully. Such a simple thing, but so difficult for me. I sat on the lounge, totally relaxed, and concentrated on breathing the life force into my body. If I could only remember to do it all the time!

Spa Facilities
The 8,134 square-foot Spa at Primland opened the summer of 2010 and features:

Vanity Area and Lockers in the Women’s Locker Room

“Spa Horizon” hydrospa in the Women’s Locker Room at The Spa at Primland

Steam Room in Locker Room

  • A reception area and boutique that offers products that are used in the spa.
  • A women’s locker room with a steam room and “Spa horizon” hydrospa.
  • A men’s locker room with a sauna and Turkish bath.
  • A relaxation room where guests can savor herbal teas, healthy drinks and snacks while enjoying the amazing outside views.

Couples’ Unity Room

  • Five treatment rooms – There are four named after the elements are dedicated to different experiences. The Water room has a soft pack tub and treatment table. Another has a waterbed treatment table. Another, facial equipment. The Unity Suite is a couple’s room where a couple or mother and daughter can enjoy a whirlpool with chromotherapy lighting.
  • A studio where yoga, pilates, meditation and Chi Kung classes are held.

    Fitness Studio

  • A salon that offers manicures, pedicures and hair-styling.
  • A fully-equipped Technogym fitness room with views of the golf course and the nature beyond.

Indoor Swimming Pool and Whirlpool

  • A chlorine-free indoor swimming pool carved from the local Virginia granite with a large whirlpool on one end and a waterwall that spills into the pool by way of a gently cascading waterfall on the other. The pool overlooks the golf fairway and opens onto an outdoor terrace where guests can stretch out in the sun on the lounge chairs or enjoy the warmth of the outdoor fire pit.
Spa Services Other services available at the time of my visit at The Spa at Primland can be found here.
The Spa offers a menu of refreshing beverages, snacks and light meals such as Daily Smoothies, Lodge Made Vegetable Juice, Edamame, Homestead Creamery Yogurt and Fresh Fruit, Pickled Vegetables, Garden Marinated Vegetables, Ahi Tuna and Melon, Mixed Green Salad with Steak, Shrimp, Chicken or Ahi Tuna and more.
Visit the website for more information on The Spa at Primland:
Julie has traveled the world for over 14 years in order to experience hundreds of spas in the US, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Asia and Oceana. She shares her spa experiences on her web site, She also owns, a company that helps spas provide excellent experiences to their guests.

About Julie Register

Julie has traveled the world for over 14 years in order to experience hundreds of spas in the US, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Asia and Oceana. She shares her spa experiences on her web site, She also owns, a company that helps spas provide excellent experiences to their guests.

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Primland Resort in Meadows of Dan, Virginia, Part 1