West Virginia may not be where one would think to find one of America's oldest resorts, but it is home to the historic resort, The Greenbrier. Located in the Allegheny Mountains in Greenbrier County and close to the White Sulphur Spring, The Greenbrier is a massive luxury resort. One of the craziest things about this resort is that was the secret site for a massive Cold War bunker designed as a refuge for the members of Congress.

This part of West Virginia (West Virginia has also been called "almost heaven") has been a tourist destination since way back in 1778 - long before West Virginia was even a state. To say The Greenbrier is big would be something of an understatement. Central to the resort has been the spring of sulfur water that is located in the heart of the resort's massive property.


History And Background Of The Greenbrier

Today the White Sulphur Spring is surrounded by a white-columned spring house with a green dome. The tradition of bathing or "taking the waters" was first adopted by Mrs. Anderson in 1778 from local Native Indian tradition to soothe her chronic rheumatism. In 1858 a huge hotel was built on the property called the "Grand Central Hotel". During the Civil War, it changed hands multiple times - and the armies almost burned it to the ground.

Related: Why You Should Be Visiting Newfoundland, If Only For These Unique Accommodations

One of the things to check out on the property is the Presidents' Cottage Museum. This museum is about the history of the property and the 26 out of 46 presidents who have visited the property.

  • Land: The Greenbrier Is One 11,000 acres or 4,500 ha. of Land
  • Rooms: 710 Guest Rooms
  • Restaurants: 20 Restaurants And Lounges
  • Activities: Over 55 Indoor And Outdoor Activities
  • Shops: 36 Retail Shops
  • Presidents: A total Of 26 Presidents Have Stayed At The Hotel
  • Built: In 1913
  • Bankruptcy: Filed For Bankruptcy In 2009 In The GFC But Bought Out

This is more than a luxury country resort, now it is something of a historical landmark and icon. Reportedly 26 presidents (the last being Dwight D. Eisenhower) have stayed at the resort - that's more than half of the total 46 American presidents (including the current president).

The Greenbrier as a luxury resort has a number of dress codes for various settings, these can be viewed here. The resort is of course complete with fully furnished spas for guest's rest and relaxation. Additionally, since its bankruptcy is has been home to an in-house casino. There are many restaurants in the resort catering to all tastes with about anything one could think of ordering.


The Greenbrier's accommodation is much too much to list off here with all the pricing and other info. But the main categories of signature accommodation that they have are:

  • Guest Rooms
  • Historic Suites
  • Windsor Club
  • Classic Suites

More information on the rooms can be found here.

Related: Everything You Need To Know To Plan A Vacation To Beautiful Montego Bay


There are scores upon scores of different activity options and it is simply not possible to list them all out (let alone with their prices) here. Some of their classic "Gentlemen's" activities include Duck and Dove hunting.

Other activities include golf, aerial adventure courses, an arcade, mountain biking, bowling, jewelry making, canopy tours, horse and carriage rides, croquet, dancing, adventure Oz escape room, falconry lessons, fishing, fitness classes, shooting ranges, horseback riding, ice skating, indoor swimming, 4WDing, kayaking, archery, paintball, outdoor swimming, pickleball, "Princess Grace Services", segway tours, stand up paddleboarding, tennis, glass making, whitewater rafting, and so much more!

The Cold War Bunker Congress

Another interesting fact of The Greenbrier is that it also hosts a massive underground bunker. It was intended to be an emergency shelter for the members of Congress during the tense Cold War.

  • Bunker Code Name: "Project Greek Island"
  • Size: 112,544 Square Feet, 720 Feet Into The Hillside
  • Date: Construction Began In 1958 Completed 1961
  • Capacity: Designed For Over 1,100 People
  • Active: For Over 30 Years
  • Exposed: By An Article By The Washington Post In 1992

This declassified bunker is a total must-see and the resort has a number of tours for its guests to visit the famous bunker - not the normal run-of-the-mill tour for a luxury American resort! The tours are open to day visitors as well.

  • Length Of Tours: Approximately 90 Minutes
  • Minimum Age: Must Be 10 Years Old or Older
  • Cost Of Entry: $39 Per Adult  ($20 Per Youth)

Private Tours: 

  • Before 5:00pm: $850 per Private Tour + $25 Gratuity (1-25 guests)
  • 5:00pm - 6:30pm: $1,245 per Private Tour + $100 Gratuity (1-25 guests)
  • 6:30pm - 8:00pm: $1,245 per Private Tour + $150 Gratuity (1-25 guests)

Even if not staying at The Greenbrier, visiting it even as a day guest is a must for anyone visiting this beautiful part of West Virginia. It has a history just about a long and the country itself and certainly longer than the state of West Virginia.

Next: The Best Resorts In Portugal For Sun, Sand, And The Best Of The Beach