Primland Resort in Meadows of Dan, Virginia, Part 2

By on October 10, 2011

Julie Register experienced this resort spa in August 2011

By Julie Register –

Best deal on Golf: April
Best time to see the Rhododendrons: June
(they completely cover the mountains)
Best time to leaf peak: October

fall scents for your home

The Resort
Primland is a remote, 12,000-acre resort perched on top of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Meadows of Dan, Virginia. Didier Primat, son and nephew of the founders of the world’s largest oilfield services company – Schlumberger, purchased the property in the 1970’s. Since then, it has evolved from a collection of hunting cabins to a luxurious resort.

The Staff
I found the staff excellent. Each one was polite, knowledgeable and able to answer questions or provide what I needed efficiently. They perfectly reflected the area. No stuffy scripts here. I enjoyed being greeted by “You doin’ alright?”

Primland has protected the land and abundant wildlife along the way. In recent years, Primland began working with Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment for assistance with best management practices and long-term planning for the pristine property. Primland and the Virginia Tech jointly published A Field Guide to the Nature of Primland and the Blue Ridge Mountains in 2011. It’s a nicely illustrated 145-page field guide that hikers and beginning naturalists can use to identify over 100 plants and animals they see at Primland and in the Blue Ridge Mountains. To further demonstrate its environmental commitment, Primland has applied for LEED certification.


The Pinnacles Suite in The Lodge at Primland in Meadows of Dan, Virginia

The 72,000 square-foot Lodge at Primland opened in 2009 and offers 26 luxurious guest rooms feature nine different floor plans with a mixture of kings, queen and double queen suites – all with exceptional views. The ultimate accommodation is The Pinnacles Suite, which has 1,800 square foot of space and is located directly below the silo-designed Observatory, providing stunning views of the stars.

Living/Dining Area in Suite 28 in The Lodge at Primland in Meadows of Dan, Virginia

View from the Balcony in Suite 28 in The Lodge at Primland

I stayed in a beautiful suite that had a large living/dining area with full bath and a separate bedroom with a master bath. Walls of windows and doors in the main rooms led to the large balcony that offered stunning views of the golf course and mountains beyond. The decor was warm and earthy: recycled wood covered the floor and accented the walls and ceilings; motorized natural fiber shades made controlling the light from the

Bedroom in Suite 28

Bedroom in Suite 28 in The Lodge at Primland in Meadows of Dan, Virginia

windows and doors easy; slate covered the bathroom floors and walls while granite served as the countertops and wood as accents. The lighting was intelligent and convenient with selections in the main rooms for Welcome, Evening, Reading, Viewing TV and All Off and in the bathrooms for All On, Make Up, Relax, Nightlight and All Off. The extremely comfortable bed was outfitted with custom-designed 400-thread count Frette sheets and lush down duvets. Amenities included robes and slippers, L’Occitane bath products, a refrigerated mini bar, wet bar and Keurig coffeemaker, as well as large flat screen televisions in both the master bedroom and living areas. Just like home, I couldn’t figure out how to work the remote control to play a DVD. A quick call was all it took, and Matthew easily guided me through the process over the phone.

The Golden Eagle Tree House overlooking the Dan River Gorge at Primland in Meadows of Dan, Virginia

In addition to The Lodge, Primland also offers Fairway Cottages and Mountain Homes. Fairway Cottages are situated along the 10th and 18th fairways of The Highland Course and feature cathedral ceilings, hardwood floors, Tennessee field stone fireplaces and private decks with stunning views of the valley below. Each Mountain Home is unique, but every door opens to reveal a spectacular view of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. They are located throughout the property along ridges and tucked into hillsides.

The newest place to stay at Primland is in the Golden Eagle Tree House, which is perfect for honeymooners or couples wishing privacy in a great getaway. The new one-bedroom, 384 square foot cedar structure is located next to the fourth green of The Highland Course. It was designed and prefabricated in France by La Cabane Perchee, then shipped to the U.S. and took a little over a month to assemble and furnish. It has a living room, kitchen, bathroom and 340 foot deck and is accessed via a wooden bridge walkway. The deck overlooks the Dan River Gorge and is approximately 3,000 feet above sea level.


Primland offers a wide range of outdoor activities for its guests taking full advantage of the fabulous surroundings: golf, tennis, stargazing, nature walks, geocaching, tree climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding, ATV tours, sporting clays, fishing, and hunting. Indoors there is The Spa at Primland, fitness and swimming. While the resort feels exclusive, many of the activities can be enjoyed by non-guests.

I participated in four activities during my stay at Primland, and I really enjoyed them all:

My First Geocache find on the Pinnacle Loop Trail at Primland

Log Bridge on the Pinnacle Loop Geocaching Trail at Primland

  • Geocaching: Jason met me at the front desk of The Lodge and explained what geocaching is while we walked. First we chose what trail to follow. Primland’s beginner geocache trail, the 1.3-mile Pinnacle Loop, is ideal for young children as well as adults. It has six stations, each with a jar containing a fact sheet on the animals and plants in the area. The 2.5-mile Buzzards Roost Trail, geared for older children and adults, has nine geocaches. With more difficult terrain and cache point locations, the trail provides opportunities to find information ranging from the history of moonshiners and the names of surrounding mountains to plant and animal identification. While the second sounded most interesting, I thought it would be best to start with the easier Pinnacle Loop trail. Jason showed me how to use the GPS and gave me a map. The GPS gets you within 10 feet of the cache, and the map helps you find the exact spot. The trail was challenging enough for me with plenty of ups and downs. Finding the caches was a lot of fun. Jason showed me a variety of plants – Indian tobacco, St. John’s Wart in two forms, wild carrot, and much more. We didn’t see any wild life on the trail, but that was OK. I’d already seen lots of deer with fawns, wild turkeys and hawks during my stay. Apparently, geocaching is a popular activity. More than 1.2 million geocaches, published on various websites, have been placed in more than 100 countries around the world. I look forward to returning to do the Buzzards Roost Trail someday.

OBTW: Did you know they moved the Appalachian Trail when they built the Blue Ridge Parkway? It used to run through Primland. The resort recently restored 6 miles of the original trail for its guests to enjoy.

Primland Observatory

Primland Observatory

  • Stargazing: We met our guide, Stephanie, at the front desk at 9:30 pm and walked outside. The sky was clear and Stephanie spent a while pointing out constellations with a green laser pointer and talking about the stories behind them. We then walked back to The Lodge and climbed the silo to the top floor. There we could see stars live from all over the world on large screens as well as the sky above us with the Observatory’s telescope. The whole roof rotates. Very cool.

Julie and ATV on Dove Mountain at Primland

  • ATV Riding: This turned out to be a guilty pleasure. Generally, I dislike jet skis and ATVs because of the noise. I really love the silence of the woods. However, once I got the hang of the ATV, I have to admit it was great fun. We drove past the kennels where the hunting dogs are kept. We went up and down hills, through small streams and eventually ended up on Dove Mountain where we could look back up to the ridge where many of Primland’s Mountain Homes are perched. About 90 degrees from that ridge, Sammy pointed out Pilot Mountain and mentioned that it wasn’t far from Mt. Airy where Andy Griffith grew up. In fact, when he was a little boy, he frequented a store with his grandfather in Meadows of Dan with the name of Mayberry. Most of the places in the The Andy Griffith Show were based on places nearby. Pilot Mountain became Mt. Pilot.
  • Clay Shooting: Sammy instructed me how to operate the shotgun and sent the targets flying. I am surprised that I was able to hit over half of those little round clay disks. The mile-long course at Primland has 14 stations designed to simulate upland hunting conditions. Shooters are presented with a variety of targets that simulate the flight path of game birds. I tried four of them; the first two had two “birds” flying out of the trees at a time. It was very satisfying to hit both before they fell. At one station, the “birds” flew away from us. At the “rabbit” station, targets are thrown end-over-end and skitter across the ground. I am amazed I was actually able to hit a few of these as they bounced along.

Primland is committed to work closely with local growers and purveyors who supply fresh, organic and sustainable ingredients for their menus. There are three dining options as well a limited in-room dining menu:

  • elements is the resort’s fine dining room, which is located in The Lodge and is open for breakfast and dinner. Reservations are required to dine at elements. Smart, casual attire and jackets requested for gentlemen at dinner. Guests who wish to enjoy a memorable meal at the element’s Chef’s Table will savor a nine-course tasting menu during dinner service in The Lodge kitchen for up to 12 guests. The chef and dining room staff attend to your meal as you dine “behind-the-scenes” in the specially designed Chef’s Table alcove.
  • The 19th Pub offers a Pub menu for lunch and dinner. The bar offers draught beers, single malts and cocktails. Attire is casual.
  • Stables Saloon is Primland’s original dining facility, built atop the old stables. It is available seasonally for breakfast or dinner and year-round for private parties and events. The attire is casual.

While there are no “spa” selections on these menus, healthy choices are available. I had a delicious hummus wrap at The 19th Pub one day (Salad with Ahi Tuna was another good selection). Fruit was available for a side. For breakfast at elements, I had a granola and yogurt parfait one day and oatmeal the next. I wasn’t as spa-conscious with my dinner selections – a lovely lamb dish at elements one night and excellent filet mignon at Stables Saloon the next.

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 2