Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

April 7, 2022

HOTEL GUIDE: Staying at The Greenbrier On a Budget.

      Staying at the iconic Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia has been on my bucket list since I was in college. This hotel is absolutely stunning inside and out, and steeped in rich culture and history. When I lived in Charlottesville, I was just a mere two hours away from The Greenbrier, so my desire to visit grew even stronger. The only problem? The Greenbrier is expensive, and was very out of my travel budget for a long time. In 2019, I wrote on my 101 in 1001 bucket list that I finally wanted to visit and stay at The Greenbrier. I was determined to make it happen in the first half of 2022, as my 101 in 1001 list wraps up this summer. I finally had the chance to visit and stay at The Greenbrier, and I'm excited to share all about it! 

     Since this post is focusing on how to enjoy The Greenbrier on a budget, I'll be highlighting the exact costs that I spent for the room, meals, and more! Hopefully that will be helpful. I will say though- my first Greenbrier experience was worth every penny, and I already can't wait to return someday. 

History of The Greenbrier: 

     The Greenbrier is affectionately known as America's Resort, and it lives up to its slogan. Vacationers started traveling to vacation in the tiny town of White Sulphur Springs, WV in 1778, and the first hotel building was constructed on today's Greenbrier property in 1858. The current central hotel building that stands today was built in 1913! In the late 1940s, popular interior decorator Dorothy Draper came to oversee a massive décor renovation at the hotel. Since then, the entire Greenbrier property (guest rooms and common areas) has been decorated in the most beautiful bright colors, prints and patterns in true Dorothy Draper fashion. In more recent years, The Greenbrier has become noted as a popular hosting spot for major sporting events. They've held PGA tour events for golf, and professional tennis championships as well! 

      In the 1950s, the hotel became the secret location for an underground bunker designed to fit the entirety of the US Senate and House, and each member's aides. This bunker was built in case of a nuclear attack on Washington DC, as The Greenbrier is only a few hours away from DC. The bunker never ended up being activated for use, and its existence was revealed to the public in the early 90s. Today you can sign up for a bunker tour while staying at the Greenbrier, and check out all of the unique history with this Cold War era relic for yourself!

Hotel Location + Travel Info: 

      The Greenbrier is located in the tiny town of White Sulphur Springs, WV. It's just a few miles over the state line from Virginia, right off I-64. If you're coming from somewhere in the South, driving is probably the easiest way to get there! If you drive, valet parking for guests is available for a daily fee, or you can choose to do free self-parking, which is what we opted for. It is a little bit of a walk from the self parking lots to the front of the hotel, but it wasn't too bad!

      Amtrak does have a White Sulphur Springs stop on their route that comes from DC! There is a tiny airport with very limited flights just a few miles from The Greenbrier in Lewisburg, WV, and there are two slightly bigger airports with more connections to other US cities located in Roanoke, VA (an hour away) and in Charleston, WV and Charlottesville, VA (both two hours away from The Greenbrier). 

How I Learned About The Greenbrier:

     I first found out about The Greenbrier way back when I was in college. It was the way that I find out about a lot of things- through other bloggers! I'm pretty sure that Caitlin from Southern Curls and Pearls was the first blogger I followed who traveled there and shared about it. I was blown away from her blog and Instagram posts about the hotel, and immediately dreamed of visiting someday. 

     Over the past few years, I've seen countless other bloggers and influencers stay at The Greenbrier, and each time I've seen a post I feel like it's increased my desire to stay there even more! I wish I'd been able to visit when I still lived in Charlottesville (as that's only a couple hours away), but I'm so glad I finally did it. The travel blog posts about The Greenbrier that were the most helpful to me in planning this trip were these from Sydney at Summer Wind, Heather at Heather Bien and Katie from A A Touch of Teal.

Most Affordable Rooms:

     The Greenbrier offers a wide array of accommodations- from estate homes and cottages for rental all over the property, to suites and rooms in the classic part of the hotel. As I've said many items in this post, it is not cheap to stay here.  So I knew that the lowest level room is what would be in my budget. My friend Amanda and I booked a stay in a Gable Room, which is the lowest tier of lodging accommodations offered at The Greenbrier. While the picture on the Greenbrier website of Gable Rooms kind of makes it look not quite spectacular as some of their other lodging options, I was absolutely blown away in the best way when I saw our room in person. It was the most darling and beautifully decorated hotel room that I've ever stayed in! The wallpaper alone...oh my goodness. Perfection! So don't be afraid to book a Gable Room from the unassuming photos on the website. Gable Rooms have one bed, so Amanda and I shared (which was totally fine).

      Amanda and I visited on a weeknight in off-season (January-March), and stayed in the cheapest room option. The total cost for our room (with taxes and resort fees included) was $288. Amanda and I split that, so it was $144 each for the room for our one night. 

     Sometimes The Greenbrier does offer packages for multiple nights, or ones that have certain meals or activities included! We didn't go with one of those, but if your budget is a little bigger and can allow for more nights, you might be able to get more value by looking into their packages.

Dining On A Budget:

      I will give The Greenbrier credit- there are a number of dining options on the property that truly are at all price points! I knew that I wanted to splurge on one really fancy dinner while I was there, but I didn't want to spend as much for other meals. The most expensive restaurant option for guests is the Main Dining Room. This looks like a very fancy experience, which also includes a strict dress code. I perused the menus for the Main Dining Room and some of the other nicer dinner options, and after chatting with Amanda we decided to do an upscale restaurant option that wasn't quite as upscale as the Main Dining Room. We went to steakhouse, Prime 44 West, for our dinner. No regrets- as this was the best steak of my entire life! 

     To save additional money for the trip, we stopped for bagel sandwiches in Charlottesville at Bodo's for lunch during our drive to West Virginia, instead of eating lunch at the hotel upon arrival. That's another money-saving tip I'd have, try to prioritize which meals you want to eat at The Greenbrier, and which can be eaten outside the hotel.

      Here's the places we ate:

  • Coffee Bar - The perfect spot to grab a coffee or tea beverage for a casual breakfast. They also sell a variety of fruit and pastries. I'd love to try the fancy breakfast in the Main Dining Room for a future Greenbrier stay, but for this trip I was fine with going cheap and casual for breakfast so I could splurge on dinner.
  • Draper's - Draper's is an old fashioned style ice cream parlor restaurant! It is decorated beautifully and open for lunch and dinner. We ate here for lunch before departing on the second day. I have to be honest- the burger I had here wasn't my favorite. I thought the bun was a little dry, and it did not taste as good as I expected it to for the price. However, I absolutely loved my milkshake! If I ate here again, I'd try a sandwich instead of a burger.
  • Prime 44 West - This was our splurge meal of the weekend! Prime 44 West is the steakhouse at The Greenbrier, and it has previously been named best restaurant in the state of West Virginia by Southern Living magazine. I had high expectations going into dinner... and I'm pleased to share that this restaurant exceeded all of them! Everything was delicious. This was 100% the best steak I've ever eaten in my life. I had the filet mignon and added a blue cheese crust to it. Amanda and I split a side order of the mac n' cheese, and she had the peach chicken for dinner. I was heartbroken to be too full to finish all of my steak, and too full for dessert! For one cocktail and my steak dinner, my bill was slightly over $100 (gratuity included). A splurge- but so worth it! 
     If I'm ever able to go back to The Greenbrier, here are other restaurants on the property that I'd like to try:
  • The Forum - (Italian, lunch and dinner)
  • In-Fusion - (Asian fusion, dinner)
  • Main Dining Room - (Formal, breakfast and dinner)

Things To Do On a A Budget: 

     The Greenbrier is not an all-inclusive resort, meaning that while there are a lot of activities and amenities on the property, a lot do cost an extra fee. With that said, some of these are not super expensive. And there still are some free things for guests too! There are over 50+ activities and excursion opportunities offered most days to guests.

      Here are the things Amanda and I did during our 24 hour trip:

  • Walk and explore the inside of the hotel (free): Honestly my favorite thing we did! The hotel is absolutely exquisite in person- pictures don't hold a candle to what it's actually like to be there. The hotel is gigantic, and every wing and room is decorated more beautifully than the one before.
  • Visit the shops ($ varies): There are all sorts of different boutiques within The Greenbrier! There are clothing stores for men, women and children, and other specialty shops like jewelry and home goods. Most of the stores were a bit out of my budget, but it is still so fun to window shop! And I did get a few tourist souvenirs in the official Greenbrier gift shop.
  • Afternoon tea (free): I still can't believe that Afternoon Tea at The Greenbrier is free to guests- since so many other nice hotels charge for things this!! Every afternoon from 4:15-5pm in the main lobby, there's complimentary tea and treats for hotel guests. 
  • Visit the indoor pool (free): The Greenbrier has a gorgeous indoor pool that's open year round. Just like the rest of the hotel, the decor by the pool is stunning. Unfortunately Amanda and I didn't stay as long as we hoped as a large group of kids and parents showed up...😊 But if you can catch the pool at a quieter time, it's lovely!
  • Bunker tour ($40 per person): I mentioned earlier in this post about how for decades, The Greenbrier was home to a secret underground bunker that was large enough to fit the entire US Senate and House in case of a nuclear attack on Washington. The existence of the bunker was revealed in the early 90s, and it was eventually opened up to tours for Greenbrier guests! Unfortunately you're not able to take any pictures on the tour so I don't have any to share, but it was super interesting to learn about this unique part of American history and how it tied into the hotel. Reservations are recommended to guarantee your spot on the tours! 
  • Visit the casino ($ varies): I am not really a gambler by any means. (The last time that I was in a casino was celebrating my 22nd birthday in Las Vegas, and I lasted maybe 10 minutes at best in a hotel casino there.) The Greenbrier Casino is my favorite that I think I've ever been to! It's a private casino, and strictly only open to hotel guests (they check ID at entrance). They have a wide array of table games, but I had fun on a couple slot machines! I had a $1 in my purse... and I was able to turn that into $5.80- ha! 
      And some more things that guests can do and that I'd like to check out on future trips:
  • Visit the outdoor pool (free): This was closed during this time of year!
  • Walk and explore the resort grounds (free): There's so much to see on the property besides for the main hotel! We visited in late March and happened to be there during a cold snap, and it was in the 20s and 30s during our 24 hour trip. Due to the cold weather, we didn't opt to spend any extra time outside. But in other seasons, I'd love to spend more time looking at the other buildings and trails on the property.
  • Visit the spa ($$$): Not a cheap activity, but I'm sure the spa services at The Greenbrier are absolutely luxurious!!
  • Bowling ($10 a game): The Greenbrier has its own little bowling alley- how fun is that?
  • Movies (free): There is a movie theater on the property that has free nightly showing for guests! They play a variety of classic films and newer films. The Great Gatsby was showing the night we stayed- sadly we weren't able to make it as it conflicted with our dinner reservation.

     I think that's the most I've ever written about somewhere that I've only spent 24 hours at- ha! Although this wasn't the cheapest quick trip I've been on, it was 110% worth it and exceeded any expectations I had. Visiting on a weeknight in off-season worked for my budget now, but I dream of visiting again in either the summer or at the holidays. (I can't even imagine how beautiful the hotel would be decked out for Christmas!)

      Have you ever stayed at The Greenbrier before? I'd love to hear if so!

       God Bless,

       xoxo Annaliese


  1. OMG I loved this post! I had only heard about the Greenbriar maybe 3 years ago from a coworker that went around Thanksgiving. She did not mention how beautiful the hotel was period! I am most definitely adding this to my bucket list!


    1. Yay!! You will absolutely love it if you get to visit!


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