The Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia, supplies the Washington, D.C. area with a much-needed dose of luxurious country charm. At just a 50-minute drive from the District, it’s close enough to be convenient and just far away enough to feel like a true getaway. And the crown jewel of the resort is its spa. At 23,000 square feet, the spacious spa is packed with plush and modern amenities. Its outdoor infinity pool supplies guests with an incredible view of the rolling hills of Middleburg and its heated Tepidarium Loungers here will keep you warm (you’ll want to own these after you lay on them, trust me) while you’re waiting for a treatment. And the culinary staff has worked hard to ensure that the spa’s menu matches its high-quality facilities.
“The biggest driver of the spa menu is to look into options that won’t make guests feel uncomfortable while having their treatment. Keeping options light with options of having something as simple as a green juice or a smoothie after the treatment,” says Spa Director Penny Kriel.
And don’t think that healthy cuisine equals tasteless food. “When people think health and spa cuisine, they think, 'oh my gosh, it’s going to be so bland and so uneventful,'” says Kriel. Guests should expect lighter fare like salads, smoothies, fruit platters and even flatbread on the seasonal menu in addition to a handful of wines to remind guests of the spa’s location in the heart of Virginia’s wine country.
But I can personally assure you that the spa menu shines. Guests can order from the menu inside the spa or enjoy their food in the Salamander’s lobby. One of the Salamander’s signature dishes is the vegan-friendly ancient grains dish that reflects owner Sheila Johnson’s dietary choices. This texture-rich and flavor packed plate would make even the most carnivorous eater think about becoming a vegan. The dish’s delightful blend of quinoa, farro, abruzzi rye, wild rice and grilled mushrooms was balanced out by crunchy hazelnuts and a light cranberry vinaigrette. The seared tuna dish was just as tasty as the salad. The fish was prepared just right—a little chewy and flavorful. But what I loved most was the salad dressing. The crisp, Champagne-flavored affair gave it just the right amount of zing. My green juice—a combination of kale and other assorted vegetables and fruits — proved to be sweet, tart and refreshing. Overall, the Salamander has done a wonderful job of combining healthy and flavorful ingredients that make each dish tasty, but light too so you don't have to worry about feeling bloatd pre- or post-spa treatment.