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Virginia: “Varied” best describes the state’s resorts

Courtesy Tides Inn

Virginia’s resort options range from bucolic settings in the mountains to pretty properties on the water.

Primland Resort
Meadows of Dan, Va.
On the border between Virginia and North Carolina in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this 12,000-acre resort is about an hour and a half from Greensboro, N.C., and Roanoke, Va.

The property dates to 1747, when Virginia Gov. Lord Brooke gave a 60,000-acre land grant to William Austin.

In 1977, the Primat family of Switzerland bought the land to create a hunting, fishing and horseback-riding getaway. The award-winning Highland Golf Course, perched 2,850 feet above sea level, opened in 2006.

Accommodations include 26 rooms and suites in the lodge, three three-bedroom fairway cottages and 11 mountain homes, with from two to seven bedrooms each.

It is easy to see why Primland is best for retreats, board meetings, incentive trips and upscale customer events. “It’s small and intimate, and you can get away from everything,” said Ann Walker, director of sales and marketing. “There’s a real sense of presence — it can be emotional, rejuvenating. It’s inspiring for a retreat.”

The lodge has a 2,000-square-foot ballroom as well as a 17-seat, 600-square-foot boardroom with a private terrace, kitchen and bathroom. A cabin and conference center accommodate 40 and sleep 12.

Along with traditional outdoor activities, there is an 8,100-square-foot spa, a hiking/biking trail and culinary classes. An observatory with a telescope that lets guests see 27 million light-years away, which gives meetings an out-of-this-world appeal.


Tides Inn
As the name hints, water is an integral part of the Tides Inn, which is bordered by the Chesapeake Bay, the Potomac River and the Rappahannock River.

A member of the Leading Hotels of the World, the resort is part of the Enchantment Group. Readers of Travel and Leisure magazine ranked Tides Inn Best Resort in Virginia.

The 160-room property is easily accessible from Baltimore (three hours), Washington (two and a half hours) and Richmond (one hour). Its 13 meeting room configurations for up to 200 people make it perfect for groups seeking an exclusive destination, said Lindsay Curry, director of sales.

“They can be the only guests on site.”

Some function rooms boast views of the waterways. Fishing charters and cruises originate from the Tides Marina, 11 statute miles from Windmill Point and the Intracoastal Waterway. Sailboats can be recruited for team-building events.

Landlubbers, meanwhile, can head to the Golden Eagle Golf Club, which surrounds a 50-acre lake, or bike into town. “Irvington is quaint and small, but there are an amazing number of restaurants and shops,” Curry said.

Primarily a destination for guests in the mid-Atlantic region, the resort is far enough south to offer a healthy dose of Southern hospitality, which “lends itself nicely to any engagement,” Curry said.


Lansdowne Resort
Leesburg, Va.
Although Lansdowne is eight miles from Dulles International Airport and 30 miles from Washington, D.C., its location in the Potomac Valley lets guests escape big-city stress. Encompassing 650 acres, the resort is big on meeting facilities and amenities.

The resort’s 50,000 square feet of meeting space includes an International Association of Conference Centers-certified conference center with 25 meeting rooms. Among them is a 9,525-square-foot ballroom and a 126-seat tiered amphitheater.

Two 18-hole golf courses and a nine-hole short course managed by Troon Golf are popular for group outings. Wine-tasting classes come in handy considering there are at least 20 wineries close by.

The 296 guest rooms were renovated five years ago; safes and flat-screen televisions will soon be added, said Warren Breux, director of sales and marketing.

Book in the first quarter for the best deals, Breux said. “We can give meeting planners a 3 to 5 percent credit to their master account — and make them a good deal on rates.”


The Natural Bridge Hotel and Conference Center
Natural Bridge, Va.
Situated in the Shenandoah Valley about two hours from Richmond, the 155-guest-room resort takes its name from the more than 100 million-year-old Natural Bridge, a rock formation and historic landmark once owned by Thomas Jefferson, who opened it to the public.

At dusk, from April through October, people gather to hear its story set to words, music and dramatic lights in the “Drama of Creation” presentation.

It is one of several old-fashioned yet enduring tourist attractions in the area. Other favorite stops include the Natural Bridge Wax Museum, the Natural Bridge Caverns, the Natural Bridge Zoo and the Virginia Safari Park.

The hotel and conference center has 9,000 square feet of function space, including the 4,902-square-foot Jefferson Ballroom and the 2,318-square-foot Washington Hall. Four smaller meeting rooms range from 304 square feet to 926 square feet.

The hotel offers a $119-per-person, all-inclusive meeting package that includes single-occupancy overnight accommodations in a standard room, three meals a day, meeting room rental and a refreshment break.

The offer, good Sunday through Thursday based on availability, has a 25-person minimum.