I just returned from the Greenbrier this morning (Memorial Day weekend 2011) with my husband and my parents. This place is spectacular. Obviously, it's very similar to the Homestead in Hot Springs, VA.
I think the best thing about it is that there is something for everyone there. For the active, there is golfing, swimming, horseback riding, adventure zone for kids, bowling, hiking, kayaking, laser tag, off-road driving, and white water rafting. For the less active, there are tours, falconry, culinary demonstrations, gambling, afternoon tea, shopping, movies at the theatre, carriage rides, croquet, fishing, indoor games (such as backgammon), a museum, and a great spa.
All of the staff are very nice and accomodating. The bunker tour is very interesting even though you mostly see just concrete, long hallways, and steel doors. It's fascinating to learn about the way it was built, financed, and heavily maintained and updated for the 30 years in case of a nuclear attack. It was not a fancy place for Congress and the Senate; it was clearly a safe but crowded place in case of emergency. Falconry is also very interesting since you can see the different birds, such as a falcony and hawk up close, and you can learn about their training.
My husband and father thoroughly enjoyed playing golf at the Meadows, which is the easist course. The staff even allowed me to borrow a golf cart to go say hello to them as they played.
I agree with some reviewers that the decor is not my taste. Dorothy Draper decorated with large and bright prints of red, pink and green. I also agree that the quality of the food in the main dining room is not up to par for the prices. The dinner entrees are around $40. You're better off eating at other places in the Greenbrier, such as In Fusion (try the spring rolls, fried rice or shrimp tempura), Drapers (try the pot roast sandwich, club sandwich, or crab louis appetizer), and Slammin' Sammy's (try the pizza or club sandwich). Julian's in Lewisburg serves superb food and wine although it is located in a small house and lacks the ambiance of the dining room in the Greenbrier.
Both swimming pools are fabulous. The indoor pool is the largest, private indoor pool I've ever seen. I'm sure it's longer then an olympic size pool. The bathrooms for the indoor pool are very clean and well-designed. They offer every product you might need, and they even provide a bathing suit spinner to dry it out quickly. The outdoor pool has that wonderful edge so you can walk down with a gentle slope instead of climbing down a ladder.
We stayed in the main building where the rooms are relatively small at about 300 s.f. Again, it had the bright colors, but the bathroom was quite large and well-renovated. The small size did not bother us. Occasionally, you can hear the nearby train at night, but it wasn't a significant problem. They even have a sign in front of the elevators to remind people to be quiet in the evening.
The casino is beautiful and brand new. The new owner has reportedly spent at least $100 million on renovating the casino, including building the casino. It's a nice change from the crowded casinos in Las Vegas (and I love Vegas). The lowest minimum bet for blackjack is $10.
Yes, you can save yourself $20/day plus tips if you park yourself. The lots are not far away. You don't have to be pinged to death by tipping if you skip valet parking.
There are plenty of young families here in addition to some older couples. The more formal dress code may discourage younger folks, but everyone seemed to enjoy the place. Fortunately, the Greenbrier seems to be doing well under the new ownership and is said to be sold out for the summer of 2011. We even ran into the new owner, Mr. Justice, and his wife and daughter, all of whom could not have been more down-to-earth and pleasant in our brief conversation.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located amid the breathtaking Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia, The Greenbrier is a National Historic Landmark and an award-winning resort that has been welcoming guests since 1778. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Greenbrier Hotel White Sulphur Springs
- Greenbrier White Sulphur Springs
- Greenbrier Resort White Sulphur Springs
- Greenbrier Wv