I’ve heard about the Greenbrier for years and marveled at the pictures I’d seen of the over the top, bright, preppy decor. So when I visited a few weeks ago, I had high expectations for the design, ambiance, and service. At the same time, I’d never been to a resort that wasn’t on some body of water, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, especially considering I’m not always someone who loves the idea of relaxing. Within minutes of arriving, however, I was swept back into a world that’s all about creating an unforgettable experience for its visitors and made for the perfect winter getaway.
ARRIVING AT THE GREENBRIER
Our weekend started with stopping in Charlottesville to look at a wedding venue, so driving seemed like the best option. It’s a 4.5 hour drive from DC, which isn’t bad at all, especially considering so much of it is on roads winding through Virginia and West Virginia that rarely, if ever, see traffic. Next time we go, just to make things even easier, we plan on looking into the Amtrak train that runs straight from Union Station into White Sulphur Springs, WV. It literally stops right across the street from the entrance to the Greenbrier. I can’t imagine a more convenient and relaxing way to start off a weekend.
We were greeted at the reception desk with an offer of a glass of champagne or iced tea — no surprise, both Adam and I opted for the champagne. After a quick stop by the concierge to make our reservations for the evening, we headed up to our home for the next few days.
THE DRAPER SUITE
Our stay was in one of the Draper Suites, a large bedroom with a living room, walk in closet, and two bathrooms. You can’t beat two bathrooms in a hotel room. On the website, they refer to the Draper Suite as being able to sleep 2 and entertain 12, and I can absolutely see how it would be the perfect place to have the entire family over for a glass of wine or two before heading down for dinner in the evening. The room was decorated in the signature Dorothy Draper style, which I’ll dive into in a minute, and felt so homey and comfortable.
While I had given Adam a heads up about the decor of the Greenbrier, when he first walked into the bedroom there was definitely a bit of “oh my god, there is so much floral and pink and green.” But, after a couple hours, he admitted that he had started to appreciate the prints, the colors, and the incredible consistency in bringing so many over the top elements together to create one impressive design. There is not a single detail that has been overlooked.
I, on the other hand, was obsessed from the minute I walked in. But, that probably goes without say. I mean how can you not love a room where the wallpaper, the bedskirt, and the drapery are all the same gorgeous print?!
As I’m sure all the interior design fans already know, the Greenbrier was decorated in the 1940’s by Dorothy Draper, a high society decorator with a love for color, pattern, and not holding back when it comes to design. You’ll find palm prints next to stripes and florals layered with other florals. Draper had an eye for combining the unexpected to create a sense of over the top elegance. Carleton Varney is now the decorator for the Greenbrier and has done an amazing job of continuing her timeless and colorful style.
As someone who loves to dress up, I was thrilled that so many of the restaurants at the Greenbrier require a jacket for men and cocktail or formal dress for women. It’s such a delightful throwback, especially when we’re so used to all athleisure, all the time. We started each day with the wonderful breakfast buffet in the Main Dining Room. They have any breakfast food you could want form waffles to fruit to biscuits and gravy, and the grand backdrop of the green chandeliers and soaring floral draped windows of the Main Dining Room can’t be beat.
The first night, we had dinner at Prime 44 West. This is a steak and potato kind of place, but on a refined level. As we sat in the warmly decorated space with tartan accents and odes to West Virginian Jerry West, we were glad we went hungry. The rich food was too good to stop eating long after we were full.
Given that is is football season, we spent an afternoon at JJ’s watching our respective teams lose. The football may not have turned out well, but it was a great spot to kick back with a few beers and relax. The casual atmosphere was a nice little break to split up our Saturday.
Our last night at the Greenbrier, we decided to check out the Asian restaurant, In-Fusion. From the trendy ambiance to the delicious sushi to the convenient spot right behind the casino, this actually might have been our favorite meal of our stay.
WHAT TO DO AT THE GREENBRIER
First off, relax. That’s what we made our main objective during our weekend at the Greenbrier. We spent a lot of time just taking in the fabulous surroundings, drinking wine by the fireplace, and strolling through the amazing rooms discovering one stunning detail after another. We hiked the Valley View trail on a brisk morning, took a dip in the gorgeous indoor pool, spent time exploring the shops, and even lost a bit of money at the Casino (don’t miss the nightly champagne toast and waltz performance at 10 PM!).
If you’re looking for a more active stay, there’s falconry, the gun club, biking, golf, bowling, kayaking, carriage rides, and the spa, among so many other options.
WHEN TO VISIT
We absolutely loved visiting in November. The Christmas decorations had just gone up, which makes the already festive atmosphere just that much more jovial. There’s something absolutely beautiful about the mountains of West Virginia in winter, and if it happens to be a bitterly cold weekend like the one we visited, you never even have to leave the resort.