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Culture / Travel

An Iconic Historic Hotel Finds New Life

Billionaire’s Playground Loved By Presidents, Star Athletes and Regular Folks Alike

BY // 06.07.16

PRESIDENT EISENHOWER, THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF WINDSOR, PRINCESS GRACE AND JFK HAVE ALL VISITED “AMERICA’S RESORT,” AS THE GREENBRIAR IS KNOWN… AND ITS HISTORY IS NEARLY AS OLD AS AMERICA ITSELF

The stately Greenbrier hotel, perched in the Allegheny Mountains of West  Virginia, has long been a Camp David of sorts for presidents and politicians from Woodrow Wilson to Dwight D. Eisenhower. Twenty-six presidents have visited; Joseph and Rose Kennedy honeymooned here in 1914, shortly before the antebellum hotel became a stop on society’s golden road from Palm Beach to Newport.

From the ‘50s to 1992, the hotel was shrouded in the highest level of secrecy, with a hidden bunker built into the hillside. The plan was to house U.S. congressmen there in the event of a nuclear crisis. The bunker has since been decommissioned, and hotel guests can tour the Cold War relic.

In 1778, the main attraction was medicinal soothing at White Sulphur Spring, a favored presidential repast. Then, 
in 1884, the first golf course in America was built just
 a few miles away: Oakhurst Links, a nine-hole course spread across 30 lush acres. Today, The Greenbrier hotel
 and The Greenbrier Sporting Club, owned by West Virginia billionaire entrepreneur and Democrat gubernatorial candidate Jim Justice, occupy more than 10,000 acres of forests, fields and streams, with five golf courses, a health clinic, spa, med spa and casino.

The Greenbrier
The Old White TPC course, hole 7

One of the most significant cultural touchstones is
 The Greenbrier’s vibrantly hued Hollywood Regency-style interior, designed in 1946 by Dorothy Draper, who was commissioned soon after WWII. While Draper worked her magic, Sam Snead returned as golf pro and established the hotel as a golf haven.

The Greenbrier’s dramatic and iconic environs are carefully preserved by Carlton Varney, Ms. Draper’s successor in her New York decorating firm. A visit to the hotel and discourse with Mr. Varney when he is in residence is a rite of passage for designers, architects, and historians.

Holiday Gifting

  • Oscar De La Renta - Earrings
  • Bond No 9 - Candle
  • Cle Du Peau - Lip Gloss
  • Oscar De La Renta - Clutch
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Bond No 9 - Perfume
  • Cle Du Peau - Nail Polish
  • Loeffler Randall - Shoes
  • Loeffler Randall - Clutch
  • Nocturne Studio
  • Casa di Lino
  • Mariquite Masterson

Last summer, The Greenbrier celebrated the opening of its tennis stadium, Center Court at Creekside, with a rivalry match between Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. Another 18-hole championship golf course has been announced, designed by golf legends Arnold Palmer,
 Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino and Gary Player, to be built within an elegant and private enclave upon a mountaintop, dubbed Oakhurst.

The 281 home sites overlook Oakhurst Links, with scenic mountain views, and offer ski-in/ski-out access during the winter. Home sites in the heritage-steeped neighborhood start at $300,000 and include access to all Greenbrier Sporting Club amenities, including off-road pursuits and fly fishing, falconry, shooting and, of course, golf.

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