The Greenbrier

The Greenbrier
“America’s Resort” in Greenbrier County, West Virginia

By Hope S. Philbrick

Unless you manage to sleep the entire time you’re at The Greenbrier, while there you will learn something.

You can learn about design just strolling through the place with your eyes open—its décor is eye-popping, over-the-top colorful and famously unique. Stop to read a few of the plaques and signs posted around as you stroll through and you can learn about American history—take a guided tour with the resort’s historian Dr. Bob and you can learn even more. You can also learn something of specific interest by taking golf lessons at the golf academy, watching free cooking demonstrations at Greenbrier Gourmet, attending a falconry show, watching a glass-blowing demonstration at an art colony shop, joining a guided group hike, scheduling a private cosmetics lesson, booking time at the tennis court clinic, and a myriad of other options that can challenge your muscles and/or stretch your mind.

While dining with folks from the hotel’s marketing department, I learned that The Greenbrier used to be a place where singles came in hopes of finding love. Back in the days of chaperones and designated social seasons—way before and Tinder; the resort was founded in 1778—single ladies and gentlemen would come to The Greenbrier during the official social season to mix and mingle. Meeting a suitable mate has always been a challenge, even way back when, and The Greenbrier offered a relaxed setting for face-to-face match opportunities. Untold numbers of love connections were certainly made at The Greenbrier.

So if your family has a history of visiting The Greenbrier, you may want to ask Grandma when that all started and why. You may owe a lot more to the place than you think, perhaps even generations’ worth of your reason for being, which gives its slogan “America’s Resort” a whole new level of meaning.

The Greenbrier was established during the Revolutionary era and has been in constant operation since.

Let’s pause and let that sink in for a moment.

The Greenbrier

The Greenbrier has been added onto, renovated and improved over the years, of course. Sometimes due to changing times—hello, electricity!—and sometimes out of necessity. The Greenbrier got its current look after World War II in 1946 when it was decorated by the famous New York decorator Dorothy Draper. (These days, designer and Dorothy Draper protégé Carleton Varney ensures updates and additions are in keeping with the overall design scheme.) It’s pink and flowery for the most part, but also red plaid meets black and white checkerboard in others. The vibe changes from one room to the next, sometimes abruptly from “ladies who lunch” festivity to “art museum” solemnity. It’s Gone With The Wind-era Southern meets classic European, traditional opulence meets modern tech. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind place that somehow manages to be both way too much and homey all at the same time.

The GreenbrierThe Greenbrier

Sprawling and lavish, The Greenbrier is nestled on 11,000 acres in the Allegheny Mountains in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. In its earliest days, it gained a following as a haven of cool summer breezes and restorative mineral waters. These days you can be as active or as passive as you wish during your visit. Settle into your guestroom and savor a private retreat, schedule a horse-drawn carriage tour of the property with an entertaining guide, go shopping, soak in a pool, play golf or—perhaps more literally than is true at most resorts, since The Greenbrier offers more than 55 activity options—do whatever you want!

Whatever brings you to The Greenbrier, expect the place to warm your heart and improve your mind.

The Greenbrier

The GreenbrierThe Greenbrier


  • The Greenbrier is a national historic landmark
  • 10 lobbies, 40+ meeting rooms and a conference center facility
  • 710 guestrooms, including 33 suites, 128 estate homes and legacy cottages
  • 20 on-site restaurants, cafés and lounges plus 24-hour room service
  • 36 on-site boutique shops
  • 55+ different activity options, from an aerial course to whitewater rafting
  • On-site mineral spa
  • On-site, guests-only Casino Club features table games, slot machines and simulcast racing
  • 5 golf courses (4 public, 1 private)
  • The Greenbrier Clinic has been practicing diagnostic medicine since 1948 and in 2014 was expanded to include a full-service MedSpa and Cosmetic Surgery Center
  • Pet-friendly accommodation options available
  • 21 Plus Salute! The Rhododendron Terrace is exclusively for adults! The Casino Club is also only for guests age 21 and older!
  • 26 U.S. Presidents have stayed at The Greenbrier
  • In the 1950s, the U.S. government constructed a top-secret underground bunker beneath The Greenbrier to house Congress in the event of nuclear war. The space remained a secret from the public until 1992 when the program was exposed by a U.S. newspaper. Group tours of the declassified bunker are offered daily and private tours are available upon request
  • Odds of Encountering Children: Very high. But there are 11,000 acres so you can find privacy if you seek it. Segway tour participants must be at least age 14. Trail rides are limited to guests age 13 and older. Other limits apply and private options are often available if you really want to avoid kids but also want to get out and play.
More Information…

The GreenbrierThe Greenbrier
300 West Main Street
White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986

Greenbrier Valley WV CVB


– Photos © HSP Media LLC; see more of Hope’s photos of The Greenbrier

Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.

HSP15Hope S. Philbrick is founder and editor-in-chief of Getaways for Grownups. She became a freelance writer and editor because she believes that work and fun should not be mutually exclusive. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications nationwide. When not writing, she can usually be found on the road or savoring something tasty.

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