HOW HAS COVID-19 IMPACTED THIS PROJECT?
How has COVID-19 impacted our project?
The hospitality industry was devastated by the economic standstill caused by the COVID health pandemic. Our funding was negatively impacted and delayed our previous opening date. However, as we shared in our recent blogs, we now have amazing partners and a clear path to success. We believe that our location will enable people to have healthy and fulfilling retreats for decades to come. This can serve as an antidote during the “new normal” as we get through this COVID crisis and deal with future social challenges.
When will the resort open and who will operate it?
The resort will operate year-round and we plan to open in June 2024. We have partnered with a hospitality brand who will manage and operate the guest experience, marketing, and maintenance activities. We have an amazing ownership group who will control and manage the resorts strategic direction.
Who are the owners?
Mike Marburg is the Founder and CEO of Wellmore Partners LLC and lives in Aldie, VA with his wife and three children. He is a former investor and grew up in Maryland. He plans to live in the area when the resort opens.
His primary partner is Ron Carson, an avid hunter, farmer, and entrepreneur described more in this blog. There are other limited partners from Virginia who are part of the ownership team.
The ownership team is aligned around regenerative development, preserving the regions natural heritage, and wellness.
Who will stay there and for how long?
Guests will be regular people who love nature and are interested in personal development. We will not serve guests that have serious medical, mental or addiction issues needing professional intervention. We will have a 3-night minimum and guests will typically stay 4-5 nights.
What will the master plan and main campus look like?
On the North side of the property, we are planning a campus area that will include a spa, a food and beverage building, a meeting facility, and a fitness. We will also have a yoga building and arrival center around the campus. All buildings are one story and can not be seen from the road.
A short walk from the campus are the guest cabins on two ridge lines. There will be 20 of these modern one-story cabins, each with 5-6 guest bedrooms and private bathrooms. We will also have 8 treehouses tucked into the side of a third ridge.
We will also have an area for a subset of the staff to live on the South side of the property, along with a vast array of trails and outdoor destinations (e.g., hammocks, ropes course, meditation platform, etc.).
Will large gatherings be held at the resort?
We are focused on minimizing noise and light pollution. Outside of a few community events per year, we will not host events involving non-guests like festivals and concerts. There will be no outdoor speakers or bright lighting on the campus affecting the beautiful Star Tannery sky.
How many jobs will be created and what types of roles?
The resort will create over 250 full and part-time jobs. We plan to create economically sustainable career paths where individuals can align with their innate talents and calling.
The types of roles will include spa and healing professionals, activity guides/instructors, guest services, maintenance/housekeeping, food service, marketing, management and forestry, just to name a few.
We will start HR planning in 3Q22 and will aggressively start hiring in 2024. We will keep you informed as we progress through the hiring process.
Will neighbor hunting rights be disrupted?
No! We support the hunting and fishing heritage of the surrounding lands and will provide a buffer on our property to ensure safety.
We plan on offering wilderness survival skills and bow training workshops on the site to reflect this heritage.
How will this benefit the local neighbors and Shenandoah Valley?
We will have a neighborhood membership program giving access to certain amenities like trails, dining and meeting space as well as services like massage and acupuncture.
This project will also diversify the tax base away from property tax revenue by adding sales and occupancy tax dollars from tourists without further burdening the education system.
Finally, in addition to creating over 250 full and part-time jobs, we will co-promote other local tourist attractions. See the Community tab for more information.
Is this a cult or some secret organization (religious or otherwise)?
No! Mother Nature is the only “guru” for our retreat, and all of our activities are based on things that are obviously healthy (e.g., eating well, hiking, yoga, swimming, etc) or areas that have recently been proven by western science as being very helpful for leading a healthy and balanced life (e.g., yoga, meditation,myofascial release massage, acupressure, etc). The resort has no religious affiliation.
What if the owner passes away, sells the business, or the concept goes into bankruptcy?
Regardless of Mike Marburg's ongoing involvement, the special use permit limits any future owners from meaningfully changing the wellness and nature resort concept.
It limits growth and creates boundaries around what can and cannot happen in the future, regardless of new ownership or management.
How do I inquire about working at the resort?
If you are interested in working at the resort either during construction or afterwards, please feel free to send Greg McCarley an email with your contact information and background.
We will not break ground until late 2022 and open until mid-2024, so our hiring process does not start in earnest until early 2024. Thank you for your patience!
Will this disrupt my peaceful lifestyle?
Protecting the current Shenandoah way of life is very important to us. We will take many steps to preserve this, like limiting commercial traffic through consolidation efforts and requiring that guests stay on-site to restrict car traffic.