This hotel is unlike any other in the country. The closest resort I can think of is Sea Island in terms of opulence, but nothing has the Greenbrier's history or grandeur. The common areas of the hotel are exceptional. Although the resort has 3 golf courses, Its not even primarily a golf resort. Most of the guests I met there didn't even play the game. If you are lucky enough to come when there are no corporate conventions, you will find a very nice, well-heeled family crowd, most of whom have been coming here for years.
The rooms (94/100): Stayed at a 1BR Spring Row "cottage". I also saw the standard hotel rooms. While the rooms are very nice, we found the extra $100 per night for the cottage was absolutely worth it. Fabulous suite, very large, tastefully done. Both rooms are good sized with the LR having a full sofabed, 2 large easy chairs, refrigerator, bar and sink. Both rooms had TVs. Bathroom had tub and shower. Also, these room are midway between the "Big House" and the sports area (golf, tennis and swimming pool). Both directions are maybe a 100 yard walk. Perfect. This room probably has not been "modernized" in at least 15 years. I know for some this may be a negative, but to us it didn't matter - it was great.
Common areas: (95/100): Truthfully, I am not a fan of the exterior architecture of the hotel. It is so large and imposing, it seems almost institutional. But the interior of the lobby, the restaurants, the bars, and especially the meeting rooms are truly awesome. Its hard to describe, you feel like you are staying in a part of American culture.
Restaurants (85/100): Excellent food in all of the restaurants (we tried most of them). Each is totally different, and there are plenty to suit your mood, your crowd and your budget. I downgraded the score a bit only because the prices at the Main restaurant and JJ's Steakhouse are close to prohibitive. Don't worry about the dress code. Its not a big deal anywhere except the aforementioned places. I found it very appropriate to each room. If you really have that much of a problem wearing a tie or even a jacket, you are probably looking at the wrong resort.
Service: (92/100): Very good. Everyone was so nice, but never intrusive. There is a 20% tip added to everything, but that only meant that you never had to worry about tips. Nobody ever expected anything extra and it didn't mean anything, just sign. Our only mixed experience was the check-in. There were huge crowds waiting to get in and out the day we got there. The room wasn't ready till 4 (can't complain) and even then they never called us as they said they would (can complain).
Golf (70/100): We came largely for the golf, but we didn't realize that because of the upcoming PGA Tour event, only one course would be open (the Greenbrier course), and part of the 3rd course (the Meadows). These are fine courses, but nothing to travel across multiple states for. Also, they are mispriced. $250 per person for a resort guest to play at the Greenbrier course? Harsh. Management needs to come up with some better golf packages. I was also annoyed that despite full research into the website and after speaking to a reservation agent about our upcoming trip - specifically about golf, it was nowhere mentioned that only 1 course would be open.
To compensate, 2 of the 3 days here we played at the Cascades course at the Homestead - 45 minutes away. Spectacular. If you have an appreciation for golf design and a history of the game, the Cascades course is outstanding. (We also checked out the Homestead hotel. Very nice, but the Greenbrier is superior).
Spa "A". My wife, who (unfortunately) is a connoisseur, says the 5 diamond spa was one of the best. She recommended the spring water treatment, whatever that is.
Conclusion: We loved our long weekend here, and we were so happy we picked the Greenbrier. Is it expensive? Absolutely, but you really get so much for what you pay for. Fabulous place.