At a Glance
The grand and sprawling Greenbrier has been a family-friendly, country club-like resort for decades, drawing return guests back with its colorful décor, endless list of activities and gracious dose of Southern charm.
- The Dorothy Draper-designed interiors with vibrant colors and prints
- The excellent dining, from a chic diner to a clubby steakhouse
- The family friendly atmosphere and daily menu of activities
After a short drive through the sleepy town of White Sulphur Springs, guests arrive at the massive, white, pillared main building of the Greenbrier hotel. The most intriguing thing about the Greenbrier is its history. During the 1770s, pioneers were attracted to the therapeutic sulfur springs that are located on the property. In 1858, the original hotel, known as “The White,” was built on the property, and during the Civil War, it almost burnt down when the hotel changed hands between the Confederate and the Union Army. In 1910, the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company purchased the resort and the Greenbrier was built. During World War II, the Greenbrier served as both an internment camp for Axis diplomats and a rehabilitation center for wounded American soldiers. Shortly after World War II, Dorothy Draper was commissioned to decorate the hotel, and the hotel has maintained her unmistakable style ever since.
Nowadays, the iconic property’s stark white façade contrasts strikingly with the vibrant colors, prints and heavy drapery on the inside. The sprawling resort counts 511 rooms in the main hotel, 88 guest and estate houses, and 6,500 acres in all. While the rooms are spacious and feature four-post beds and fireplaces, the bathrooms are quite small and could use an update. The Windsor Club makes up a wing of the hotel, which is inaccessible to other hotel guests, offering privacy for those who wish. The club rooms are roughly the same as the other rooms, however, Windsor Club guests have access to the Virginia Room, which serves complimentary food and beverages throughout the day. The cottages range from one- to four-bedrooms and offer lightly larger rooms. Even the one-bedroom cottages would be quite comfortable for a family of three, or a couple.
My own stay at the Greenbrier was action-packed. Rain or shine, the resort offers a plethora of activities including golf, tennis, horseback-riding, swimming, gambling, hunting, and fishing, just to name a few. The resort even has its own movie theater and bowling alley, and an underground bunker, the remains of a relocation facility intended to house Congress in case of a national emergency constructed in the 1950s. Although the majority of the shelter is now used to store company documents since it is climate controlled, the cafeteria, dormitory, decontamination chamber, communications area and medical clinic remain the way they were. Fortunately, use of the bunker was never required, and it has remained deactivated since 1992.
The Greenbrier has a plethora of different food venues on the property, which allows its guests to eat at the resort throughout their entire stay, but the steakhouse, Prime 44 West, was the standout of my trip.
Who Should Stay
Active travelers, families with kids, and golf enthusiasts.
The Greenbrier is a four-hour drive from Washington, DC. Greenbrier Valley Airport is located fifteen minutes from the property and there are nonstop flights from Washington D.C. and Chicago, and chartered planes can also use the airport. Amtrak also services White Sulpher Springs.
Written by Paige Clarke