The Greenbrier: Southern Elegance in the Alleghanies

///The Greenbrier: Southern Elegance in the Alleghanies

The Greenbrier has been a favorite destination for more than 200 years.

Set among the Alleghany Mountains in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., The Greenbrier is a luxury resort synonymous with Southern hospitality.

With a history dating back 240 years, The Greenbrier has been host to presidents, celebrities, and generations of families on its 11,000 acres featuring golf courses, dining, a mineral spa, medical services, and a private casino.

A storied history

The Greenbrier’s history dates back to 1778, when the first guests came to White Sulphur Springs to “take the waters” to restore their health. The resort’s reputation as a summer social gathering place was established by the 1830s, when politicians, diplomats, lawyers, planters, and merchants visited. Access was by stagecoach and accommodations were in cottages—some, such as Alabama Row, Baltimore Row, Paradise Row, and the Colonnade Estate House, are still in use today.

In 1910, the C&O Railway purchased the resort and built The Greenbrier hotel, which opened in 1913. Charles Blair Macdonald was commissioned to design The Old White golf course in 1914.

The hotel was expanded in 1930, adding the signature North Entrance and the Mount Vernon-inspired Virginia Wing. Sam Snead joined the staff in 1936, enhancing The Greenbrier’s reputation as a golf destination.

During World War II, The Greenbrier was leased by the U.S. State Department for seven months to house diplomats from countries with whom the U.S. was at war—Germany, Japan, and Italy. Afterward, the U.S. Army purchased the entire resort, and converted the hotel into a 2,000-bed hospital and renamed it Ashford General Hospital.

After the war, C&O Railway regained ownership and renowned interior decorator Dorothy Draper redesigned the entire resort with the vibrant colors, custom-designed patterns and wallpapers, black-and-white marble floors, and furnishings still seen today.

In the late 1950s, the U.S. government asked The Greenbrier for assistance in constructing an Emergency Relocation Center—or bunker—to be occupied by the U.S. Congress in case of war.

Southern hospitality at its finest

At The Greenbrier, you’ll find 710 well-appointed Signature Resort Rooms, Classic and Historic Suites, Legacy Cottages, and Estate Homes. Play the championship golf courses, or take part in the more than 55 activities available, including professional indoor and outdoor tennis, off-road driving, and falconry.

America’s only private casino, The Casino Club, features table games, slot machines, and simulcast racing. The full-service, 40,000-square-foot mineral spa is recognized as one of the most luxurious in the world. Thirty-five boutiques and shops make up The Greenbrier’s Retail Collection and feature handcrafted works of art.

The Greenbrier Dining Collection is comprised of 20 restaurants, cafes, and lounges serving traditional, award-winning cuisine. There’s also the Main Dining Room, celebrating more than a century of service with custom-made chandeliers and elegant Southern charm.

The Greenbrier Clinic, which has been practicing diagnostic medicine since 1948, was expanded in 2014 to include a full-service MedSpa and Cosmetic Surgery Center.

Meetings, weddings, and more

The Greenbrier has more than 200,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space, where it has hosted executive retreats, family reunions, and industry conferences.

For weddings, The Greenbrier Chapel has recently constructed a 12,000-square-foot timber frame venue featuring stained glass windows, white clapboard siding, a copper roof and steeple, and pew seating for 500 guests. Designed to blend in with the resort’s other historic structures, it is ADA accessible with an elevator and private rooms for the wedding party.

The Greenbrier is located at 300 West Main Street, White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986. To learn more or to plan your visit, call 855-453-4858 or visit www.greenbrier.com.


The Bunker at The Greenbrier

Officially named The Cold War Bunker, The Bunker at The Greenbrier is located 720 feet into the hillside beneath the West Virginia Wing.

The 112,544-square-foot, 153-room bunker was designed to meet the needs of 1,100 people, including 100 Senators and 535 Representatives, and a similar number of staff.

This former U.S. Government Relocation Facility was a top-secret Cold War-era project, designed to accommodate both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives in the event of a national emergency or nuclear war. Under the code name “Project Greek Island,” construction began in December 1958 and was hidden in plain sight, with the West Virginia Wing built above The Bunker. The entire project was completed in April 1962.

The existence of The Bunker was kept top secret. A resort was chosen as its location due to the need to keep it in a constant state of readiness, and the maintenance of The Bunker could be easily disguised with the maintenance of the resort itself. A limited number of people were briefed on the project, on a “need to know” basis, and once construction was completed, only personnel with the highest level of security clearance were allowed inside. These individuals signed non-disclosure agreements that came with heavy fines and lengthy jail terms if broken.

The bunker remained an active facility for 30 years, until The Washington Post learned of its existence through government sources. Once it was determined that its exposure would cause no threat to national security, they published an article about it on May 31, 1992. The phasing out was finalized in July 1995, when the legal contract between The Greenbrier and the U.S. government was terminated. The facility is now leased by CSX IP, a secure data storage company.

Group and private tours of The Bunker can be arranged by calling 844-223-3173 to make a reservation.

2019-01-03T19:10:43+00:00April 2nd, 2018|Travel|