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
The public spaces at The Greenbrier continue to be well maintained. The guest rooms are spacious but need to be modernized and spruced up. Housekeeping services were inconsistent and very average....we had to ask for shampoo etc. to be replenished. Turn down service included water bottles on only one of three nights. A room service cart from an adjacent room sat in the hallway with dirty plates etc. for 20 hours. Dining service and banquet was attentive and very good. Service in the rest of the hotel is average at best. Valet, doormen and front desk personnel were nice but never anticipated anything. They met our needs but did not provide service consistent with a five star resort. The bellman on both ends of our stay was quite elderly and could not lift our bags onto luggage racks or to hang up a hanging bag. Instead of making a joke about that he scolded me for the weight of our bags. Merchandise in shops was woefully thin. The tennis shop had almost nothing to sell and the shops in the hotel had thin inventories. More of the artist row shops were closed then were open. Spa was a good experience with fine staff. If the overall service level remained very high other needs would be less obvious. As it is The Greenbrier lacks the leadership needed to offer service commensurate with the resort’s stature. Given the overall costs, The Greenbrier has lost its way...and I hope it can regain its position of excellence.
The resort is beautiful and massive and the staff is nice and tries to be helpful. Physically and aesthetically it is a special place. Come here and walk around, maybe eat..... We have been unable to sleep in our executive suite because we are directly above a wedding DJ and our room is vibrating from the loud noise. It's ironic because there are signs in the hallway asking guests to be quiet after 8 PM yet my kids can't fall asleep because of loud music the hotel itself is allowing! I wish I were home now and not here.
Also at the pool there is often a waitlist to get a chair - we are 5 but I put in for only 2 chairs to improve our chances and it still took 30 minutes..
Also our Ac in one of the bedrooms didn't work. They swapped it out and it's working but who wants to spend the first day of vacation figuring out what's broken and needs to be fixed in a hotel room? The bedroom was warm from when we arrived - the hotel could have figured out for itself it was completely broken. There's definitely some disconnect here.
We took our family to the Greenbrier for a short stay - four days and three nights. We are a family of five and stayed in a cottage rather than in the main hotel. Without a doubt, the accommodations were very nice, the property impeccably maintained, and the staff generally polite and helpful. However, for the overall cost of the stay, the dining, and the activities -- not to mention the automatic gratuities--we believe that the experience should be outstanding. No one wants to pay a premium for the average. Unfortunately that was our experience. We found our premium dining experience at PRIME 44 lacking in service (it ran nearly 3 hours to get our check) and consistency -- our son was sent back to change because of a supposed dress code violation (he was wearing golf shorts with a collared shirt and was required to wear pants) when adult patrons were allowed into two restaurants wearing t-shirts, which is expressly prohibited. To top it off, the steaks were not of great quality and borderline cooked properly. No one in our family who ordered a steak assessed it as among the better we have had at other places. In another example, we signed up for the Escape Room -- expressly limited to 8 participants. There were five of us. We were paired with another group of 5, 4 of whom were kids under the age of 10. They were good kids but it really ruined the experience -- size of the groups are limited for a reason. If you are going to have rules and standards, apply them. its really a simple concept. As time wore on, our patience wore thin with other small annoyances like poor shuttle service. If opulence and amazing decor is important, this facility will mesmerize you. However, that is no substitute for actual value in the pricey activities and high-end dining. We expressed our disappointment both in person to a manager at checkout and in a survey. Greenbrier staff politely listened. Promptly responded to the survey. Offered not even a small token of compensation. At a minimum, the resort should have refunded the cost of the Escape Room as their non-adherence to their own written policy clearly resulted in an unfavorable outcome. As has become apparent, they get enough highly positive reviews that they don't have to offer any kind of conciliatory gesture for a sub-standard experience beyond words. And that probably sums up the root of some of the problems -- until you feel that you HAVE TO address issues like the ones we raised, you will nod your head sympathetically but not really do anything to demonstrate that you appreciate how much your guests spent (in our case nearly $13K for 4 days and 3 nights) and that their satisfaction matters to you. We won't return because we just did not get the value or the experience or the memorable times commensurate with the cost.