We just returned from four days at The Greenbrier, and all I can say is that it exceeded even our highest expectations! I visited with my mom and her best friend for Mother's Day weekend. It was my second time at the hotel, however my mom and her friend have both been about 5-10 times each. Before our trip I emailed Mr. Robert Mickey, the VP of Customer Relations, letting him know that we would be coming and telling him how much we have loved our previous stays. He connected me with Debbie Aldridge, the Head Concierge, who was one of the kindest most lovely people I have ever had the pleasure of speaking with. She helped book all of our restaurant and activities reservations as well as a few special touches.
We were greeted at the hotel gate with a smile by the attendant welcoming my mom (who spent the first 20 years of her life in WV) home. Pulling up to the hotel is an experience in itself. It’s hard not to just stand and stare mouth agape, the hotel is just that beautiful! We were greeted with smiles and warmth and thrilled to see Frank (who has worked at the hotel for 56 years) at the door. Of course we had to hug him and get our photo taken with him again! I cannot stress enough how AMAZING the doormen are. Darnell, Maynard, Frank...they all are the epitome of southern gentlemen.
From there we walked through the beautiful lobby to the front desk. My mom was again, welcomed home, and we were given a complimentary glass of champagne (lovely touch!) Along with our room key we were given a handwritten note from Debbie welcoming us to the hotel and reminding us of our reservation times. We were taken up to our room by Maynard who must have spent 30 minutes talking with us and showing us his favorite parts of the hotel. I loved taking a peek into the Carlton Varney Suite which offered outstanding views and was just gorgeous. We were thrilled to see we had been upgraded to a beautiful (and huge) corner room, so imagine my mom's excitement when she found the most gorgeous fresh flower arrangement, another handwritten card, and a big box of the Greenbrier's Chocolate Truffles. She was moved to tears by the kindness we received from her favorite hotel. The rest of our trip was as magical as the beginning. I'll break it down a little...
FOOD: We enjoyed two wonderful dinners in the Main Dining Room. Service was fantastic as always (a special thank you to Rick!!) and we loved listening to live music both nights…a very classy touch. The dining room itself is just stunning and the food equally amazing...my favorite dishes being the Lemon Thyme Roasted Free Range Chicken Breast with Rolled Truffle Angel Hair Pasta and the Jumbo Lump Crab Dressed with Citrus Crème Fraiche. And of course, you MUST order the famous Greenbrier Peaches! We also loved eating at Sam Snead's with a gorgeous view of the golf course and at the new Dorothy Draper's. The breakfast buffet in the Main Dining Room was decadent and delicious. I just can't say enough about the food and the service, hats off to the chef!
HOTEL INTERIOR: The hotel itself is magnificent, grand, opulent, elegant, luxurious, classy, and just plain gorgeous. Words really can't express how beautiful the Betty Draper designed interior is. It completely takes you back to a more refined time. The indoor pool is second to none. The shopping is unbelievable. My favorite part of visiting the Greenbrier (asides from the people) is simply wandering through the hotel...each room more stunning than the last. Make sure you bring a good camera because I wasn't able to put mine down!
HOTEL GROUNDS: The grounds are sprawling and gorgeous. The front and side entrances are usually covered with flowers which change throughout the spring and summer (tulips, pansies, etc.) There are beautifully manicured gardens which as you walk further out lead to parks, tennis courts, golf courses, an outdoor pool, shops (make sure you stop at the Art Colony), and walking trails. If you walk even further (just a few minutes) you will be in the mountains and will be able to walk or hike on one of the Greenbrier's many trails. We have done all of the above and I promise you will be afforded some absolutely stunning views of the hotel as well as the surrounding mountains. A fun way to explore is by horseback ride which we have done before and I can't recommend enough.
ROOM: We were in a very large corner room with three big windows, one of which had a fantastic view of the property and the surrounding mountains. Each room at the Greenbrier is a little different and it’s fun to walk down the halls and peek in as housekeeping is cleaning the rooms during the day. The old-fashioned bathroom (tile, wallpaper, etc.) were lovely and had all the modern conveniences. We had two queen sized beds which to be honest may have been the most comfortable that I have ever slept in. Very high thread count sheets, a fluffy down blanket, and at least five heavenly pillows on each bed. I slept the best I had in ages! Typically by the end of vacation I always think, "I can't wait to sleep in my own bed"...but after the Greenbrier I thought, "Can I trade my bed for this one?"
SPA: We treated ourselves to facials at the spa which were absolutely wonderful. The whole experience from beginning to end was serene and rejuvenating. The spa itself is gorgeous and I loved sitting on the comfy chairs in the relaxation room sipping infused water, eating dried fruit, and reading magazines. We used the sauna and steam room which were both very nice. The facialist (Martha) could not have been sweeter and not only made my skin look and feel amazing but gave me some really great tips on how to better care for it. The arm and hand massage was a real treat. It is definitely pricey but to me the prices are comparable to most 5-star hotel spas...and totally worth it!
SERVICE: Of all the hotels I have stayed at across the world, ultimately the service at the Greenbrier is what makes me come back. From start to finish it was absolutely perfect and par none. Debbie was wonderful in helping us plan our trip. Nothing was too much to ask. The doormen (Frank, Darnell, & Maynard) could not have been more kind. The waiters are truly wonderful, special thanks to Rick...it was such a treat getting to know you! The entire staff from housekeeping to spa personnel to groundskeepers to maintenance always have smiles on their faces and always make an effort to ask how your day is going and get to know you. I can't tell you how many times we were told "If you need ANYTHING please ask. Nothing is too much!" They are the perfect mix of refinement and warmth...incredibly professional but never pretentious. They truly seem like they love their job and it shows. Hats off to you for continuing to maintain the highest caliber of service all these years!
All in all, I couldn't recommend visiting the Greenbrier enough. The best way I can describe it is where southern hospitality meet old world elegance. It is perfect for families, for a romantic getaway, for a girls trip, for a golfing weekend, for a spa getaway…there is truly something for everyone. It is an American institution and is something that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. Thank you SO much for the memories, we will be back!