My wife, 8 month old son and I recently returned from a July 4th weekend stay at The Greenbrier. This was my second stay there, having stayed there last year for the PGA golf tournament. So, with that said, obviously, my two visits here have come at very busy times for the hotel. Please keep that in mind as you read this review.
We stayed in a Spring Row cottage which was nicely decorated in Greenbrier fashion. It had a shared front porch with astroturf, and even though the porch was shared, our neighbors were all spread out at least 15 feet apart and rarely did we see anyone else on the porch, so that wasn't really too much of a disappointment. The room itself had a spacious living room, with a hallway leading to the bedroom. The bathroom was in the middle of the hallway, and there was an extra sink opposite the bathroom (which also had a double vanity). The extra space allowed us more options for setting up our son's crib (more on that later), but none of the crib locations were ideal -- the crib would either have to be in the front room, meaning anyone coming and going would likely wake the baby; the hallway, in which case using the bathroom would be difficult; or the bedroom. In the past, we have booked suites that have had nice separate areas where we could place the crib and still access the essential parts of the suite ourselves. Here, although it was better than a standard room, it wasn't quite as ideal as I might have hoped.
Spring Row is located between the North entrance of the main building and the pool/golf/tennis area. Depending on which cottage you're assigned, you might have a 3-5 minute walk to either the main building or the pool area. We were closer to the pool area and in retrospect might have preferred to be a bit more in the middle, but again, where we were was fine.
We opted for the meal plan, which I strongly endorse if you have it as an option. The food is ridiculously overpriced, and by that, I mean grossly overpriced -- much more so than what I have encountered at any Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton. For instance, at Sam Snead's restaurant, I ordered "The Stuart Appleby," which is a lamb chop dish honoring the inaugural winner of the PGA event there, who shot a final round score of 59. Well, the dish is priced at $59 and was, in my opinion, worth no more than $40-45 no matter where you are. Similarly, there was a "Tom Watson" dinner option featuring a 4 oz filet and lobster tail for $74. Now the good news is, if you were on the meal plan, these prices do not matter, because you are entitled to order them with no up-charge, so in our case, there was no harm. But I think I would have been horrified at the lack of value had I actually been paying the listed prices.
Along those lines, although most of the food we ordered was delicious, my wife and I agreed that the food was somewhat "cruise ship-ish." By that I mean that many things came out SO quickly, that you knew the dish was pre-prepared. You could easily envision the food-making "station" as opposed to an individually-prepared dish. Fortunately, and somewhat remarkably, the quality did not suffer much at all, other than possibly the presentation.
The breakfast buffet was very good and reasonably priced at $25. The overall meal plan, which covered breakfast and dinner, added approximately $70 per night per person, so if you're planning to have the $25 breakfast, $45 for your dinner doesn't go a long way without the meal plan. As it was, we were entitled to order 3 courses, and coffee was included.
We spent some time by the pool, which is in a beautiful setting. The pool was understandably crowded but we were always able to find 2 chairs. I was, however, disappointed that despite the fact that there were plenty of staff at the pool, it was very difficult to place a drink order. On one of the days at the pool, we were never even approached by a server. Not the end of the world for us, but if you're someone who demands the highest level of service at a resort, please keep this in mind.
To sum it up, we had a wonderful time and will likely return 2-3 times per year, as the resort is less than 2 hours from our home. The staff is very nice and in most cases, they try really hard. That said, there is a little something that is missing from the overall resort that prevents me from giving it 5 stars.
The one thing that frustrated me the most involved our check-in and special requests. My wife made a spa appointment for 2pm on the day we arrived, and we asked that they consider us for an early check-in. Now, I understand they were busy and that early check ins cannot be guaranteed. However, I called the reservation department at 10am the morning of our arrival to renew this request. I was told at 10am that our room was now vacant, and that they would attempt to have it ready for us by 1pm. So, when we arrived and were told the room would not be ready until 3pm, I was frustrated. Either tell me I cannot check in early or make a better attempt to accommodate my request. But please don't tell me at 10am that the room is vacant but fail to have it cleaned within 4 hours of that conversation. After all, the reason we were there so early was the spa appointment, which is a revenue producing event for the hotel. So I felt like they could have done a better job of accommodating this request given all of the circumstaces discussed above.
This frustration was made worse by the fact that when we arrived in the room, there was no crib (as we had requested), and when we called to renew that request, we were told that they would "try" to "find" us one, but that they weren't sure that they could. An hour later, we got a crib, so it ended up not being a big deal, but the hour spent worrying about crib availability was not the relaxing arrival I had anticipated at a 5-star resort, and I just think they fell short of the smooth arrival process I'm sure they strive for. Little things like this can make an impression on people.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.