One wouldn’t need to look far within the walls of Lansdowne Resort and Spa to see that in addition to new staff faces, the entire center is in the midst of a total makeover.
Along with ushering in its 25th anniversary this year, there will be much to celebrate in 2016 for the resort. Earlier this month, the resort announced the hire of Michael Stephens as its new managing
director. He joined the staff in February. Armed with a broad hospitality background—that most recently saw him managing the Grand Hyatt Sao Paolo in Brazil with prior stops in Hawaii, Scottsdale, AZ, and Dallas-Fort Worth, TX—Stephens comes to the resort at the height of an ambitious makeover that will see many of its offerings completely re-tooled and re-branded.
The resort started off the New Year with the announcement of a multi-million-dollar renovation of the 476-acre property and its amenities. The renovations began with the makeover of the property’s 266 guestrooms and suites, which Stephens said recently concluded.
“Those are really a great reflection of our destination—they have great links to wine country, a really beautiful, refined country look to them. The suites in particular just jump off the page. They look like they came from Architectural Digest,” Stephens said of the completed project.
With the guest rooms and suites completed, work has begun in earnest on the food and beverage side
of the resort’s operations. The four restaurants—Stonewalls Tavern, Riverside Hearth, Piedmont Table and Pub 46—are all being re-branded, he said. This can include re-naming the restaurants and completely re-designing the menus.
Stephens said of particular importance is making sure the menu concepts and food offerings “celebrate” Loudoun.
“Our team of chefs, culinarians, food and beverage operators are really scouring communities and forging partnerships with local area farmers, ranchers, dairies and the like to really have a great rep of this community,” he said. “We want our traveling guests to come in to Leesburg and from a food and beverage experience if you were going to have a farmer’s market experience, a taste of Loudoun County. We really want guests to have that kind of experience here.”
Stephens said many travelers are looking to “connect with the destination” they’re visiting, and that’s what he hopes the resort’s makeover will bring to those visiting Loudoun County. Considered a
serious contender in the group meetings market, Stephens said he hopes the renovations will reposition Lansdowne Resort “to really be that destination resort that everyone is really looking for.” Integral to that will be making sure the final product is a “true representation” of Leesburg and Loudoun County, taking into account the “rich history” of the area.
To that end, Stephens said resort staff has been working with historians to better understand past events that took place on resort property. While he stayed mum on what has been learned so far, he said what will be revealed in terms of the property’s history is something that has never been celebrated but is “very significant” to Loudoun’s history.
Other resort enhancements will be better use of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, with resort guests and visitors able to rent mountain bikes and offering an overall better connection to the trail. A refresh of the resort’s spa has also occurred over the last few months. Stephens said all food and beverage changes should be completed by year’s end.
While other competitors have sprung up since Lansdowne Resort first opened 25 years ago—the most recent being Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg—Stephens emphasized that each resort has its own very specific destination to celebrate. With the resort bordering the Potomac River, the expansive golf course area and its location in Leesburg, there is much to accentuate.
“No one will ever have what we have here,” Stephens said.