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“Historic and Beautiful, but With Growing Pains” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Greenbrier

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The Greenbrier
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5.0 of 5 Resort   |   300 W Main St, White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence
Washington, DC
Level Contributor
45 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
“Historic and Beautiful, but With Growing Pains”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2010

PRO: Lots of activities on site mean it’s great for families. Historic and beautiful. Staff very warm and friendly. Self-parking is easy and free. Housekeepers’ tips included in the resort fee.

CON: Front desk staff were polite but bumbling. Expensive for what you get. Lots of kids running around. Dining options at the resort pricey and (reportedly) of inconsistent quality, though much more is available outside the resort. Check-in is at a very late 4 PM, but check-out is still at noon.

We stayed at the Greenbrier for two nights, to take advantage of a super-discounted Internet deal. Overall we enjoyed it, although there were a few annoying things, a couple of which would have been dealbreakers had we paid more or had it not been such an otherwise charming place.

We had feared that as a 30-something interracial couple, we might feel out of place in what we’d imagined to an enclave of very formal, elderly WASPs. We were pleasantly surprised. The guests ranged widely in age, and the staff, from housekeepers to managers, was very warm and genuine. The formality that must have dominated in previous decades is largely gone; we saw numerous guests in jeans in the upstairs main lobby after 5PM (in defiance of the official rule). The only people really dressed up were those eating in the formal dining room.

The Greenbrier is gorgeous inside and out--though the numerous expansions over the years have rendered it so vast that it can feel like you’re trying to find your way in a cruise ship. It seems to be in a transition period--from an era when mineral baths were enough to bring the like of Princess Grace, to one in which this legendary resort must bring in more guests and offer more and more activities just to compete with resorts in North America.

The Greenbrier is currently building an underground casino. For now, it means that the former main entrance is off limits while they dig up the grounds in front of it. The side entrance currently serves as the main entrance. It suffices, but just barely; the lack of a double set of doors means the check-in lobby often gets blasts of freezing-cold air in the winter. Moreover, there is always a gaggle of bellmen with their carts nearly blocking this entrance, which is the only entrance or exit available. Management should change this.

With all the service people constantly milling about the entrance, it was surprising that there were sometimes no doormen to open the door.


We were frustrated to find that our room was not ready at check-in, nor for a while thereafter, despite our repeated inquiries. But when I complained later, the operations manager apologized profusely and comped us a spa treatment--a very classy response that did a lot to smooth things over.

It was also surprising that we did not receive our bill under the door the night before checkout, as is the custom at most hotels these days. As it turned out, they mistakenly billed us again for the resort fee, which we had already paid in advance with our reservation. When we pointed it out, they corrected it. If only they had done so for my wife’s title, which they had put on the reservation as “Mr” and never changed. Ah, well.

I didn’t care much for the bellman system, whereby the man who greeted us on arrival took our two small bags, put them on a cart, and made a point of telling us that another man would take them to our room--as if to say, “You can tip me for lifting your bag two feet, from your hand to this cart.” I’m not tipping twice for bell service. Why doesn’t the hotel just have the first guy who takes your bag upon arrival take your bags to your room?

The Room:

The room we finally ended up in was extremely spacious. The bed was very comfortable, with super-soft linens. There was a high-def widescreen TV with HBO. The bathroom was huge and sparkling, with two sinks (one with the toilet and one separate). The bath towels are the size of beach towels. There was a walk-in closet.

The wallpaper was bold—maybe garish to some but to us of a charmingly retro early-1960s-style quirkiness. (Same for the solid blue carpet.)

Alas, the safe was left locked by the previous guest, and for some reason, the hotel will not allow the handyman to fix it unless the guest is in the room. So we did without it.

The only real issue with the room was the heating system; it cranked out heat like you would not believe, even when we set the electronic thermostat very low. We finally resorted to setting it to cool, even with the outside temperature well below freezing.

The heating unit also produced (or perhaps merely channeled) an odd sound, barely audible in the daytime but very noticeable at night, akin to someone shoveling icicles or stirring a box of Legos. I suspect this sound may originate somewhere far below, in the depths of the HVAC system. I notified the manager and was told a handyman would fix it while we were out; we don’t know if he stopped by or not, but the a/c was still faintly, persistently noisy. We solved this by setting the fan to ON full time at night. That worked, though it finally got too cold, so I woke up and turned it off.

Be advised that on Sunday mornings at 8 AM, you will be awakened by the sound of church bells. It so happened that we were about to get up anyway, but had we intended to sleep in, we would have been incensed.


The bunker tour was led by a very knowledgeable and entertaining lady who was great at her job. The bunker itself? A bit underwhelming--especially at $30 a pop. The bunks that had been built for the members of Congress are gone, and most of the place has been rented out for data storage. So all you really get to see is a pump room, some showers, a briefing room, an auditorium, a long corridor, some vault doors, and a ho-hum mini-museum (with sample bunks). Interesting story and great tour guide, but the price should be no more than half of what they're charging.

The free movie in the ’50s-era auditorium, complete with free popcorn, was a nice perk, although some of our fellow guests were horribly behaved (talking, digging in a cup of ice, etc.). And the attendant hadn't bothered to clean the spilled popcorn and cups from the previous viewing.

It’s free to use the sauna and steam room, and both are fantastic. The indoor pool is huge, but there is no jacuzzi.

The gorgeous marble-floored main lobby features free coffee every morning, tea and pastry hors d’oeuvres in the late afternoon, and hot chocolate and cider in the evenings. Nice touch. There’s usually a big wood fire in the fireplace, and the piano is always playing. This main lobby was really what made the experience for us.


If you have a lot of money and have kids, this is your place. I can’t imagine paying $400/night, however--or even $300. That said, if you get a good deal on the rate, it’s fun to stay where presidents and royalty have stayed. And the presence of so many activities--from shooting and spas to golf and horseback riding--means you might not have to drive anywhere, provided you don’t mind the prices.

I think some attention to detail has been sacrificed with the Greenbrier’s increase in size over the years. The front desk experience is the weak point and needs a lot of additional training. But overall, the staff is very warm and friendly, and the building and grounds are magnificent.


Be advised that a “garden room” does not overlook a garden but the area that serves (as of 1/2010) as the entrance of the hotel (a circular driveway with a small landscaped area).

The Mason Jar restaurant is a two-minute drive down route 60 and has great country-style food. If it’s fried or comes on a bun, it’s delicious here--at least at dinner and lunch. (Avoid the Saturday breakfast buffet; the food looked very reheated.)

In the other direction, the small town of Lewisburg has a lot more to offer than White Sulphur Springs; we thoroughly enjoyed Food & Friends restaurant. Not gastronomically groundbreaking, but the food was very tasty, affordably priced (with pasta-based dinner dishes starting at $11), and served in huge portions in a very cozy, romantic setting.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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1,829 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (479)
Date | Rating
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  • Portuguese first
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English first
East Coast
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2009

We stayed here in July 2009. This place is like a blast from the past - a sprawling resort that is quite formal. My room was are very spacious and covered in floral wallpaper. Oddly, I liked the decor because it reminded me of a grand resort from times gone by.

The food was very, very good. We had dinner one night in the Main Dining Room, which was fun and very good. Please be aware, however, that this place is very formal and jeans are not really in the dress code for the restaurants. They have a little chocolate store, which I loved!

We did a white water rafting trip and I really recommend that. It took pretty much the whole day. Beware if you get motion sickness -- not from the raft but from the trip to the river! I think I was the only one in my van who was not affected.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Sylvania, Ohio
Level Contributor
15 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2009

I was disappointed all the way around. It started off with a bell hop who couldn't help with my luggage, because he was "going to be busy soon unloading a bus that is due anytime". They wouldn't even hold the door. Our room had ugly yellow roses on all four walls and shamrock green carpeting. It was so bad I had nightmares...really! The decor for the entire hotel was garish. We toured the fallout shelter and it was disappointing. It mostly shows the maintenance side of things.... boring for a woman and not worth $30. The sulphur bath was great, but it was the worst pedicure I've ever had!

  • Stayed October 2009
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Roanoke, Virginia
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2009

The resort itself is a wonderful destination for a high end getaway.
The ambiance and décor are unmatched, it truly feels like the special place that it is. The staffs as a whole were also extremely helpful and polite.
However, the food offered at the Greenbrier is mediocre at best. Drapers café offers lunch and dinner options that are below standard for such a resort. My wife ordered chicken pasta, which turned out to be cut up breaded chicken and box pasta with some sauce thrown over it. What happened to fresh pasta, fresh produce and quality prepared chicken?
Prime 44 West steak house is the Greenbriers newest culinary addition.
With our orders placed for medium rare and medium bone in ribeye ($60), two steaks appeared thirty minutes later, one of which was a quality, steak house steak 1 ½” Pittsburg style steak perfectly cooked. The other was an Applebee’s style steak ¾” thick and overcooked almost steamed, needles to say it went back to be exchanged for a new one. Twenty five minuets later, after everyone in our party had finished eating, another Applebee’s style ¾” thick and overcooked almost steamed steak appeared. This time it went back for good. After eating my friend’s leftovers and finishing my $20 glass of wine I left disappointed. The thing is, when you claim to be a steak house in a 5 star resort the steak you serve had better be good, it was not.
Our last food mistake was eating frozen pizza and chicken nuggets passed off as wings in the Tavern casino ($55)
The moral of the story is, when you pay for good food, you expect good food!
The Greenbrier is way off the mark with its food. The new owner needs to invest in half a dozen top quality chefs that serve fresh honest good quality food not the fancy pretentious menu they currently have. Why would you invest millions on a new casino when you have below average food?

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hampton, Virginia
Level Contributor
193 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 118 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2009

The Greenbrier is a must-do transport back in time. Despite the beauty of this classic resort, the main hotel/grounds are marred by current construction to build a new underground mega- casino. There are plans to build new golf courses and many new homes. The charm and seclusion can't last much longer. All the employees are extremely supportive of the new owner and the casino. Though a little bit worn, the place still oozes charm. Though undeniably gaudy by modern standards, I wouldn't update the look. The hotel and its employees make the place special despite the inconvenience of the construction. I do have one major complaint: the food is (exhorbitantly) priced inversely proportionate to its (inferior) quality. Both the main dining room and bar have great ambiance, but I really had to shake my head at the low quality , bland taste, and lack of presentation of the food in both. Terrible. The town of White Sulphur Springs literally has NOTHING, so unless you want to drive into Lewisburg, which you don't because you want to be wrapped in the time warp, you are stuck with less than mediocre dining options. One does not go to the Greenbrier looking for a bargain, but for quality. While I am no fan of the all-inclusive, give me a break on the nickel and diming.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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New England
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 22, 2009

The ole girl is on the decline.. The casino is tacky.. the rooms use to sparkle now they are headed down hill.. clean but not what they were. they are beginning to look worn and reflect a lack of attention. Hope she doesn't become Grey Gardens.. like. New owner is building a huge casino size of a football field and the elegant but fun resort is going to become Branson Mo. and 59.00 rates.. It won't last long

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
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West Virginia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 17, 2009

1st time visitor on recent Tribute to Virginias package. Drastically reduced room prices and 20% off of activities. It is still not a cheap weekend by any means. At check-in, to which we were cheerfully directed by at least 3 persons, we are informed by the young desk clerk that we were very lucky as we had been placed in The Presidential Suite. Frankly, I did not know the significance of that. We soon learned that we had two floors of history, original volume literature, art, antiques, a private patio, grand piano, and Ike's autograph all to ourselves. How cool. We have no earthly idea why, in a largely packed resort, we have the best room there for the price of $84 per night. I played golf and, met some good folks on a perfectly kept golf course, The Meadows. I was underwhelmed by the service at the Golf facility, but that is minor.
We had one dinner as a Tribute to the Virginias buffet. The salads, sides and meats were ok, the desserts were fantastic. Having grown up in WV, country cooking just isn't my favorite for eating out. Second dinner was a late reservation at Prime 44 West, the new steakhouse, The complimentary cornbread was an especially nice touch. Food and service were top notch, everything you expect from a really good upscale steakhouse. Afternoon Tea at was an event, the main lobby areas full with mulitple tea and cookie stations with a grand piano in the backround. The Lobby Bar made us fantastic, albeit pricey, Bellini Martinis The new Tavern Casino is very small by casino standards but has a different, classier atmosphere than most casinos. If they can maintain that atmospher in the under-construction casino, it will be like no other casino in the country. No comp drinks but didn't lose money. The Greenbrier makes clear that there is a dress code. However, we noticed it repeatedly breached by many, no doubt the Tribute package brought a lot of first time visitors. Everyone is made to feel comfortable and important by the staff. The staff are mostly local West Virginians so we were right at home. The Sommelier, Lori, was so nice to us and a true pleasure to meet. She stopped us the next day just to ask how we were enjoying our stay. The decor is a little strange at first but the longer you are there the more you understand how it all fits together. The Bunker Tour is a history buff's dream. We did a little shopping and purchased one truly unique leather item. Everyone should bring comfortable walking shoes is a lesson my wife learned. In short, we had a truly memorable experience that you cannot place a price upon. We were fortunate that Jim Justice allowed new visitors to experience The Greenbrier. If nothing else, I am convinced that historical, grand treasures like it must survive. Staying two nights in the Presidential Suite, listening to Wynton Marsalis playing Christmas jazz in the suite's study, my wife and I getting dressed up, and going out to dinner and the casino. Though I am sure that I will never have such accomodations again. we will be going back. It is truly an escape from the real world. In a fully booked hotel, the place just never seemed crowded. That is my highest complimnet.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Greenbrier

Address: 300 W Main St, White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986
Location: United States > West Virginia > White Sulphur Springs
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in White Sulphur Springs
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Greenbrier 5*
Number of rooms: 710
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 
Also Known As:
The Greenbrier Hotel White Sulphur Springs
Greenbrier White Sulphur Springs
Greenbrier Resort White Sulphur Springs
Greenbrier Wv

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