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The Greenbrier: America’s Resort

May 31, 2013 By: Lindsay Lambert Luxury Travel Advisor
 


 

The Greenbrier
A Stately Front Entrance shows off the historical significance of The Greenbrier.

 

The Greenbrier: America’s Resort is a grand resort in White Sulphur Springs, WV, a quaint town in the Allegheny Mountains in the southeastern part of the state. It’s perhaps most famous for its wacky, whimsical interior design (clashing colorways, mixed prints, and giant patterns), which is the handiwork of Dorothy Draper and Carleton Varney. It’s also known for its emergency Cold War fallout shelter, nicknamed The Bunker, which was commissioned by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and built for use by the U.S. Congress in the event of a nuclear war. Its existence wasn’t declassified to the public until the 1990s, after a Washington Post article blew its cover.

Above all else, though, since its founding in 1778, The Greenbrier has been a beacon of elegant entertainment and respite for the well-to-do. It received a major refresh in May 2009, when the Justice Family Group, led by Jim Justice, a third-generation West Virginian, purchased the resort and launched a multimillion-dollar renovation.

Here’s the scoop on the best of the best at the revamped resort.

The Greenbrier is all about going over the top, so we say skip the entry-level Deluxe Room accommodations in favor of something more lavish. Junior Suites are the largest single rooms at the resort and are outfitted with one king bed or two double beds, as well as a separate seating area that includes a queen-size sleeper sofa.

If you plan to spend time with friends and family in your space, book one of seven luxury Deluxe Suites, which can be configured to feature two to seven bedrooms. These suites are also equipped with spacious parlors that are ideal for entertaining guests.

If your stay at The Greenbrier necessitates only the absolute best accommodations, book a suite in the Windsor Club, within the ultra-exclusive Virginia Wing. Its Presidential Suite is The Greenbrier’s most lavish rooming option. The two-story suite boasts its own private foyer, beyond which lies a library, a den with a half bath, a large living room with a grand piano, a reception foyer, a private patio, and a stately dining room. Each of the suite’s seven bedrooms is outfitted with a king-size bed. (Guests who book this room will be in good company: President Eisenhower held the North American Summit Conference here in 1956, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco are among its past occupants.)

Note that the resort also has cottage accommodations, but we preferred rooms and suites in the main hotel building to experience the full effect of the resort. 

The Presidential Suite
The Presidential Suite, occupies two floors.

Teri Venable (teri_venable@greenbrier.com; 304-536-4934) is on hand to help luxury travel advisors make sure their clients’ preferences are met. In fact, resort insiders say that a dedicated 800 number can be created especially for Venable’s VIP agents.

 

The busiest periods at The Greenbrier include the Thanks-giving and Christmas holidays, Greenbrier Classic week (July 1 through 7), and weekends from June through October. Good to know: The resort has a 14-day cancellation policy, and reservations staff advise booking as early as possible to snag the accommodations of your choice.

Venable can also ensure that VIP clients enjoy a full gamut of activities during their stay, be it a tour of The Bunker in the resort’s underbelly, a group wine tasting, horseback riding or a falconry demonstration. She can also help secure reservations to any of the resort’s restaurants. Dining options include everything from Italian to Asian fusion and many cuisines in between (sports fans will want to check out Prime 44 West, a fine steakhouse honoring NBA star and West Virginia native Jerry West). One mustn’t miss dinner in the Main Dining Room, an elegant experience for which a jacket is required. We found that the restaurant’s soaring ceilings and twinkling, colored-crystal chandeliers—not to mention its service staff decked out in formal jackets—added an elegant air of bygone times.

After dinner, we whiled away a few hours in the resort’s elegant new 103,000-square-foot casino, whose retail, dining, entertainment and gaming offerings rival those we’ve experienced in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and beyond—only without the crush of casual tourists. Here, in the evening, men are required to wear jackets, and many ladies sidled up to their favorite tables looking lovely in elegant dresses. Note that guests must be at least 21 to enter.   

The volume of activities available at The Greenbrier is enough to make your head spin, and the resort’s spa is the perfect place to take a break from it all for some R&R. The resort was established in part because of the discovery of healing sulphur springs in the area, so it’s no surprise that its 40,000-square-foot facility has dozens of native sulphur water treatments. Joanna Honaker (spa_reservations@greenbrier.com; 304-536-7745) can help guests find services for their specific needs. The Greenbrier is just off Interstate 64, west of the Virginia/West Virginia border. Fly into Greenbrier Valley Airport (LWB), 15 minutes away. Amtrak’s White Sulphur Springs station is next to the resort.


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