WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. - The Greenbrier Resort has hosted presidents, kings, queens and princes, and movie stars in the 236 years since it opened.
Yet the resort of worldwide renown remains within the reach of the every-day American, officials said.
The Greenbrier Resort at 300 West Main St., White Sulphur Springs, offers 10,000 acres of activities and events to keep its guests entertained. From specialty shops to the casino, there is something for everyone at the resort.
The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs welcomes guests with its spa, shopping, casino and golf courses.
The Greenbrier Resort focuses on sporting events, too, including golf and tennis championships. Recently, it announced the return of the Tennis Classic tournament Sept. 20-21. Tennis stars Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Tommy Haas and Andy Roddick will attend.
Tickets for the tennis matches recently went on sale for $100 per seat.
Forbes lists the Greenbrier Resort as a four-star destination. AAA lists the resort in its five-diamond category.
The Greenbrier began as a resort in 1778 and has been a landmark in Greenbrier County since. In 1910, the property was purchased by the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, which later became the CSX Corp.
Ninety-nine years later, the Greenbrier was sold to the Justice Family Group owned by Jim Justice II.
Rooms at the Greenbrier Resort are within the price range of the average household, said Jeffrey Kmiec, president of the Greenbrier. Rooms can be acquired for as little as $199 a night. Kmiec said.
The Greenbrier offers 55 activities for guests, with a little bit for everyone, Kmiec said.
For those who enjoy their activities indoors, guests can partake in bowling, fitness classes, an indoor pool, laser tag, shuffle board and indoor tennis.
Board games, table games and nightly movies at the in-house theater will keep guests young and old entertained throughout the afternoon, while the Adventure Zone opportunity gives young guests a chance to explore and entertain themselves under the eyes of trained staff members.
Guests who prefer to be outside will find an alpine tower, canopy tour, outdoor tennis, a gun club, outdoor shuffleboard, horseshoes, seasonal ice skating and croquet waiting for them.
Activities offering a chance to get closer to nature include options of biking, falconry, a carriage or sleigh ride depending on the season, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, kayaking and whitewater rafting waiting for them. Other outdoor activities include paintball, off-road and utility vehicle adventures, and an outdoor infinity pool.
Golf at the Greenbrier Resort is world renown. The annual Greenbrier Classic, a PGA tour FedEx cup event, is in its fifth year, Kmiec said.
The Old White TPC Course on which the Greenbrier Classic takes place is one of the resort's main attractions, Kmiec said.
Three other golf courses, the Greenbrier Course, the Meadows Course and Oakhurst Links, await golfers as well. Oakhurst Links stands out particularly in history as the first golf course designed and built in America, Kmiec said.
"Guests can play (at Oakhurst Links) using vintage-style hickory-shafted clubs and gutta percha balls, and even wear period dress while playing the links," Kmiec said.
For those guests looking more for a trip through history, the learning opportunities only begin with the historic Oakhurst Links. A full outdoor grounds tour provides a background for more intensive educational experiences, including the President's Cottage Museum, a historical tour of the resort, and tours of the famous underground bunker built beneath the resort to shelter the United States government during the Cold War.
The most popular and unique activity at the Greenbrier is the tour of this Cold War-era bunker, which is located beneath the West Virginia Wing of the resort, Kmiec said.
Guests who enjoy fine cuisine will find themselves enjoying afternoon tea and culinary demonstrations throughout their stay. The resort offers eight restaurant choices, five lounges, and in-room dining.
But for many guests who visit the Greenbrier, the place to be is the Greenbrier Spa. The 50,000 square foot spa incorporates the natural sulphur waters into all of the spa's treatments, Kmiec said. It offers guests 42 different treatment rooms with options such as hydrotherapy, body fusions, waxing, facials, manicures and pedicures.
The "Greenbrier Spa is, in many ways, the heart and soul of the Greenbrier, in that travelers have been flocking to this area for centuries to 'take the waters' of the curative natural white sulphur springs waters," Kmiec said.
The Greenbrier Casino Club is known around the world as a destination that offers guests a mixture of boutique shopping, international cuisine, live entertainment and gaming options, records said. The casino boasts 320 slot machines and 35 table games round out the casino experience, all in a non-smoking environment. Gaming options include blackjack, baccarat, roulette, craps and Texas Hold 'Em poker.
For those who prefer shopping as their main source of entertainment, the Greenbrier Resort offers more than 25 boutique stores, including shops featuring candy, food, flowers, clothing, golf, Christmas, bags, and guns as their themes. The Art Colony Shops offer guests a selection of items handcrafted by West Virginia artisans. Items made from brass, metals, leather, glass, pottery and wood can be found there.