The Greenbrier Resort
What We Love
- Sense of history all around, including a Cold War–era bunker
- Perfect for families
What To Know
- Formal atmosphere not popular among twentysomethings
- On-site fine dining restaurants and casino enforce a dress code (no shorts or jeans, jackets for men after 7 p.m.)
Designed in the 1940s by society decorator Dorothy Draper and maintained by her protégé Carlton Varney, the Greenbrier does everything in a big way. The reception rooms are immense and boldly designed, the vast dining room is lit by imposing chandeliers, and there are 6,500 acres of grounds to wander. The Gilded Age decor includes black and white checked marble floors, towering floral-print drapes and overstuffed plaid chairs.
Bed & Bath
The 721 guestrooms run the gamut from single rooms to four-bedroom estate houses to seven-bedroom suites. Features included private porches or patios, in-room wet bars, dedicated entertainment and dining areas and/or wood-burning fireplaces, depending on the room. But all are united by a warm, inviting feel thanks to sunny color schemes and playful mixes of plaids and florals.
The resort has three championship golf courses (Jack Nicklaus was involved in the design) and a spa where guests can soak in the thermal waters and choose from a myriad of treatments. You could spend a month here and not try all the activities on offer (from falconry to carriage and sleigh rides, from skeet shooting to bowling). For dinner there’s the casual Draper’s, the steakhouse Prime 44 West, and the main dining room, which offers haute fare with Southern touches, like garlic herb–crusted rack of lamb with Yukon potato pavé. Afterward visit the newest edition to the resort, the swank 103,000-square-foot casino.
How to Get There
We stopped for an overnight stay and the first thing we did, after checking in, was to partake in afternoon tea. Rather than have a "free" tea of packaged cookies and boring teas, I would rather pay a charge and enjoy a proper tea with sweets, savories and scones. There was chaos as guests fought for free cookies and no one seemed to know how to serve an English afternoon tea. I am certain that the Greenbrier could hire someone to develop an afternoon tea of which you could be proud. Please do so.
We did one night on Thanksgiving Eve 2017, on our way to Charlottesville. One night is NOT enough to soak in the magic of this historic establishment. And I use that word ‘establsiment’ in it’s entire definition. It’s not ‘just a hotel!’ So, we took advantage of their end of winter special, and returned in March 2018 for three nights. Prime 44 became our go to, two nights in a row. When you book your room, make your dinner reservations! AND sp appointments. The Bunker Tour is so worth it! For older folks, request a wheel chair as there is a considerable amount of walking. We also did a carriage ride, which gave us a better grasp of the majestic property. Old Man Winter was not finished with West Virginia, and on our day of departure, we were informed the roads were closed, that too bad, we get to stay another night!! (pat a discounted rate) A few minutes later, the entire hotel went black. Which was a tad bit scary, yet the hotel staff consistently reassured us the electricity would be back on shortly. And it was restored within a couple hours. The cheers from relieved guests in the lobby were as if West Virginia had just won the Super Bowl. We thoroughly enjoyed our second visit. Celebrating my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary year! The only sad part for us was the shops weren’t stocked yet with their spring inventory, and seemed rather barren. Hope to return again some day.
Visited the Greenbrier resort as part of the Sunday Pins golf package that included 2-nights stay, access to the Sunday round of the Greenbrier Golf Classic, one round of golf at the Old White Course, and one round on the Meadows course.
My friend and I each reserved a room for the Sunday Pins package as we were bringing our spouses. The price for a single golfer in each room was $1150/room. If two golfers shared a room the price was $900/person. The Friday before, we had a slight issue and my wife was unable to go. My friend’s wife didn’t want to go since my wife wasn’t going. I called the Greenbrier, explained my situation and asked if we could switch to a double room. Since there was one that was available they made the change and didn’t charge a change or cancellation fee. That is great customer service.
We arrived Sunday afternoon and pulled up to the Greenbrier. A doorman immediately approached, took our golf clubs and bags and gave us instructions on where to check in.
The front desk greeted us with champagne and sweet peach tea - a very nice touch. I had one of each. They even upgraded us to a “superior” double room which is supposed to be a larger double room. The champagne was offered the entire time we were there and had several glasses throughout our visit.
After the doorman took our bags to the room we took a shuttle a short distance to the golf tournament. Surprisingly there was a very little crowd. We immediately stood at the back of the 18th green and watched a few golfers finish their round. We then walked down to the 17th green/18th tee and watched a few more golfers. By then it was 4 o’clock and we wanted some food and more drinks. This is where things took a slight turn for the worse.
We get in line at the concession stand. And wait. And wait. We can see and hear the cashiers coming back out and telling people that had already paid and were waiting for their orders, that the Greenbrier had run out of food. My friend then decides to ask one of the workers for a cup of wine while we are waiting. The very nice server gets some wine, but then the manager takes it away so my friend cannot have any more. Finally I get to the counter and ask what they do have left to sell. The manager starts trying to negotiate over the chocolate chip cookies but is trying to sell the smaller cookies at the larger cookie price. Then one cashier comes out from the back and says they have 2 BLT sandwiches they “just found” if I want them. I said I’ll take both for the price of 1 ($14 each) which they sold. Then we got water, no charge, beer, and had to track down the manager to bring back the wine. Now you are asking “why are you describing your experience with the golf concessions, here?” It’s because it is all owned by the Greenbrier - the resort, the golf tournament sponsorship, and the concessions. Which is really owned by WV Governor Jim Justice. Anyway, we eventually did get some food, though not what we wanted, and some drinks, and they did discount our purchase for our inconvenience. Total time: 30 minutes. Total cost for 1 water (free), 1 beer, 2 cups of wine (1 free), 2 BLTs (1 free): $35. It would have been $60 if we paid full prices. Ouch. Also it is like throwing a party then not having enough food. Imagine what it would have been like if the place was actually crowded.
Now, back the the golf. We watched the final groups finish holes 16, 17, and 18. We got to interact with several of the golfers (Harold Varner III was quite funny). In the end we even got pictures with Jim Nance and the 2018 champion Kevin Na. Very cool. I think we would not have had so much opportunity if it had been more crowded.
That evening we had dinner and spent some time at the casino. Had a very nice time at the casino. The dealers were all friendly, patient, and helpful. I will say this is the only casino I’ve been to where they charge you for the drinks. Which are very expensive - $20 for a glass of wine + tip.
Note: My dinner write ups will be in separate reviews. You will want to read about my experiences at In-Fusion (food not worth the price) and Prime 44 (very good).
The next day our tee time was in the afternoon so we worked out in the morning at the fitness center which is near the golf course. You can take the shuttle or walk about 0.25 miles. The fitness center has a cardio side, a weight side, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, and indoor basketball. There is lots of equipment in the large fitness center which was very nice.
There is a smoothie stand near the tennis courts. Base smoothie was $7.50 but each additive (protein, etc.) was an additional $6.00. That adds up quickly. We decided to get a coffee and something to eat back at the main hotel and went to the coffee shop. This is the best bargain of the resort. Although you can get a nice cup of free freshly brewed coffee on the 2nd level lobby, the coffee shop has coffee, espresso, iced coffee and other drinks. They also have bagels, croissants, english muffins, donuts, and pastries. The english muffin or croissant breakfast sandwiches with bacon, eggs, and cheese are huge and only cost $8. Great bargain. Depending on when you go, they make it fresh. We were lucky and had ours freshly made.
Afternoon rolled around and we head back to the golf course for our round on the OWC. We walk through the locker room and talk with some of the attendants about the tournament. Very friendly guys sharing their stories of the tournament over the years. We get our picture taken by the clock on the 1st tee, and tee off. Since we started before 3:00 we were required to have a fore caddy - his name is Alex - a college student from Marshall, working over the summer. He was a great caddy, managing all four golfers very effectively. The OWC was in fantastic shape. Since it was still set up from the final round of the tournament the rough was thick, the pin placement was challenging, and the greens were fast. I highly recommend doing this though it was a very slow round, 5.5 hours.
Night time was dinner and the casino again. Similar casino experience as the previous night.
The next day we had an early morning tee time. We requested a late check out. I had called ahead and requested one but something told me to stop by the front desk and ask again - good thing I did - but they gave it to us no issues. The Meadow course is also very nice, though not nearly as challenging as the OWC. I will say, however, some of the drives seemed more narrow and had a smaller room for error than the OWC. No fore caddy was required and we finished the round in just over 4 hours.
We checked out of the room, got our car, and our golf clubs were already waiting for us.
In summary, a wonderful experience. Was is perfect? No, it was expensive, especially the food, and there were some mis-steps. However, the Sunday Pins package deal is actually quite a bargain off the a la carte prices of the room for 2 nights and golf at the OWC and Meadows courses, and the service was fantastic. If something was not what we expected, the people at the Greenbrier tried to make it right. Every employee was friendly and seemed empowered to make our experience individualized and enjoyable. I would do it again, and hopefully my wife will be able to share the experience with me.
We just finished a wonderful couple of days at The Greenbriar. Our first time and we were thrilled. A very fine experience. We loved our room 2851 because it was spacious and had two windows. It looks out over a roof so not much of a view but plenty of natural light. and very quiet. Even a walk in closet and four chairs.
One of the most beautiful places in West Virginia, very relaxing with something to do for all(golf, Casino, tours, etc.) The food was fantastic ( although slightly expensive), the Bunker tour was fun very educational. The décor is beautiful and different. Loved our visit and will go back soon.