The Greenbrier has been dubbed America’s Resort and once you know this luxury destination’s history, you’ll understand why.
Opened in 1778, the White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia-based hotel first began drawing guests for its healing mineral springs and 2,000-foot elevation that provided relief from heat and humidity. The destination gained in prominence over the years and five sitting presidents (Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan) enjoyed a stay there between 1830 and 1861. As of today, 28 presidents have visited the resort.
While the resort closed during the Civil War, the grounds were used by both Union and Confederate soldiers as a hospital and headquarters. In 1873, the site was made more accessible with the completion of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. The company purchased the site in 1910 and built the central hotel section which stands today. It was then that a grand indoor pool and an 18-hole golf course were added.
In 1942, the U.S. Army bought the hotel and converted it into a hospital where nearly 25,000 soldiers were treated for the next four years.
In 1946 the railway reacquired the hotel redesigned the interior over the next two years.
In the 1950s, the U.S. government built a secret bunker onsite to house Congress in the event of a war. Buried more than 700 feet underground, the site was kept ready at all times until its existence was outed in a 1992 Washington Post article. The bunker was since decommissioned and guests can tour the site today.
Since 2009, the hotel has been owned by entrepreneur and current West Virginia governor Jim Justice. Since then the resort has become known for its golfing facilities, even attracting a PGA tour event.
Today, a variety of accommodations are available onsite, from traditional hotel rooms and suites to multi-bedroom estate homes and cottages, ready to serve as a luxurious home away from home.
The resort has a calendar full of special activities, including special dinners and shows and even a half marathon.
Guests can also take advantage of onsite activities such as a spa, casino and luxury retail.
By Gina Gallucci-White