Media Contacts

Matt Owen

Matt Owen
Corporate Director of PR

Phone: 843-573-2062
Mobile: 843-991-0213
Fax: 843-573-4618

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Salamander Story

There’s a lot in a name: the origin of ”Salamander” as it relates to Salamander Hotels & Resorts can be traced to a single man who was a war hero, millionaire and leading politician, Bruce Sundlun. A Williams College student, Sundlun, enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps days after the Pearl Harbor bombing. Two years later, on his 13th mission as a B-17 bomber pilot, his plane crashed over Nazi occupied Belgium.
For the next several months, Sundlun evaded capture, crossing into France and Spain. Recruited by the Maquis, a resistance group that was waging guerilla war against the Germans near the Swiss border, he was given the code name “Salamander” after the secretive amphibian that leads a double life on land and in water.
Returning to the U.S., Sundlun graduated from Harvard Law School and went to Washington, DC as an assistant U.S. attorney. Later, he had a series of successes in private industry, returning to politics as a two term Governor of Rhode Island. Sundlun purchased a 200-acre estate in Virginia and named it “Salamander” after his old Underground name. Later, after selling his beloved Salamander Farm, he retired to Rhode Island with family.
The farm’s name was subsequently changed, but when Sheila C. Johnson purchased the estate, she expressed interest in renaming the property. Finding Sundlun’s story inspiring, Johnson discovered that for centuries the salamander has symbolized strength, courage and fortitude – traits with which she has identified throughout her personal life.
 Permission was granted for the name “Salamander Farm” to be restored to the estate and Johnson continues to expand the use of “Salamander” in her businesses: Salamander Hotels & Resorts, Market Salamander, Salamander Touch and the new Salamander Resort & Spa.

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