Wellness Takes Center Stage at Salamander Hotels

Salamander Resorts, wellness, meetings
Salamander Hotels and Resorts CEO Sheila Johnson sees wellness as an integral part of the guest experience.

Salamander Hotels and Resorts CEO Sheila Johnson has differentiated her emerging brand by making relaxation and de-stressing the mission of her resorts—and their serene spas a focal point.

The flagship Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Va., embodies her wellness philosophy by offering an immersion wellness experience including a state-of-the-art cooking studio, culinary garden, equestrian center and zip-line.

With a dedicated equestrian facility, attendees can also take advantage of the resort’s one-of-a-kind EquiSpective program. The goal is to unite horse and human to help develop leadership expertise, regardless of experience. The resort also has the Washington, DC area’s largest destination spa at 23,000 sf.

Johnson, who co-founded Black Entertainment Television and is part owner of the three sports teams in the NHL, NBA and WNBA, views Salamander’s properties more like manors or homes than hotels—places where people are relieved from stress and gain a sense of balance. She recently guided the improvements to the 18,000-sf spa at the newly rebranded Salamander Spa, Tampa Bay at Innisbrook Resort and added a new outdoor yoga and event terrace located in a serene private courtyard. Plans are to host workshops on meditation, yoga, mindfulness and nutrition. The Henderson Beach Resort also offers a variety of wellness classes, including its unique Aqua Zumba, a water-based, full-body workout. Salamander’s two other resorts, Hammock Beach Resort and Reunion Resort, also have full-service spas.

“Planners are constantly seeking out wellness-centric experiences to encourage mental and physical well-being among attendees,” says Matt Owen, corporate director of public relations, Salamander Hotels & Resorts. “Our properties offer an array of activities for the mind, body and spirit.”

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.