What does a French heir to an oil fortune do with 12,000 acres of wilderness in rural Virginia? If the billionaire is the late Didier Primat, it’s not what you might expect. A passionate naturalist, Primat envisioned a laid-back luxury resort coexisting with nature. His children have made it a reality.
From the gated entrance, a mountain road leads to Primland, a towering lodge of wood and glass with a silo attached. Inside, twin fireplaces flank a great room beneath a soaring ceiling. Staffers proudly point out the rich woods in beams and walls, all salvaged from old tobacco barns. Everything at this LEED-certified resort is recycled; the shingles are made from old tires.
Mountain views and fireplaces are standard in the lodge’s 26 rooms and in most other accommodations—cabins in the woods, cottages on the fairways, and treehouses dangling in space.
The resort maintains an organic vegetable garden and an apiary for honey. A Cordon Bleu–trained chef turns these fresh ingredients into memorable meals in the three restaurants.
A Native American–inspired spa offers treatments with natural ingredients. An indoor pool opens onto a patio made for lounging. Rainy day? Watch a movie in the theater.
Primland’s lack of light pollution inspired its observatory. The silo roof opens, and a top-of-the-line telescope captures images 50 million light years away—nebulae, star clusters, galaxies—and displays them live on large HD monitors. Astronomer Lauren Peery leads nightly stargazing.
Because it’s home to a Donald Steel course ranked the best in the state, Primland is a popular golf resort. It also has shooting and fishing, with Orvis-trained guides, and more than 50 other activities—including geocaching and 90 miles of trails that can be explored on bikes, horseback, or ATVs. Or simply walk through fields of wildflowers and perhaps spot deer, bears, wild turkeys, and songbirds.
Primland, 2000 Busted Rock Rd., Meadows of Dan, Va.; 276-222-3800. Rooms from $304 a night.
This article appears in the August 2017 issue of Washingtonian.