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The Greenbrier
Palatial New Hotel at White Sulphur Springs.

Greenbrier Independent
October 9, 1913


The newest resort hotel in America, 'The Greenbrier,' at White Sulphur Springs, is a fitting complement to its sister houses, The Plaza Hotel in New York and the Copley-Plaza in Boston.

When Fred Sterry, Managing Director of this chain of hotels, in anticipation of assuming this newer and greater responsibility, resigned little more than a year ago, from the Virginia Hot Springs, after eighteen years, it was rumored that the new hotel to be built by the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway on the site of the oldest and most famous watering place in America, would be the last word in hotel construction.

However, no one realized that, unlike other resort hotels, it would have every facility of the finest modern palatial city house with the unusual advantages of a health resort in the mountains.

It is to be run on the European plan, under the resident magership [sic] of J. Howard Slocum, formerly identified with the management of the Vanderbilt and Marie Antoinette Hotels in New York, and the room clerk will be Owen J. McLaughlin, who during an eighteen years connection with the Virginia Hot Springs, probably has made more friends among prominent society people all over America, than any other hotel man.

The Greenbrier is probably the finest specimen in America of the purely Georgian type of architecture, which was the forerunner of what we now have come to know and term as "Colonial."

As befits so representative a type, this largest and finest building in the south stands a stately monument, over two thousand feet above sea level, in the heart of the Alleghanies, higher than any one of the hotels in the White Mountains. Its position on a commanding hill gives one a vantage point from which may be seen for miles, the near and distant ranges of blue-capped forest covered mountains. Here and there the old Indian trails now widened and more clearly defined, are ribbon-like streamers that decorate the mountainside for a radius of forty miles. The horseback rider who prefers trail riding to the more formal, if not less interesting ride over the many splendid roads, finds miles of trails which will give him a different ride for every day of the season.

Admirably situated in the famous blue grass region in the most notable hunting section of the two Virginias, where deer, fox, partridge and quail vie for attention from the over joyous, expert sportsman, the hotel is but a stone's throw from the White Sulphur station, on the main line of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, half way between New York and Cincinnati. The private park of the White Sulphur Springs Company covers an area of eight thousane [sic] acres, and stands next to a United States Government reservation, selected by government scientists as a fish hatcheries station, on account of its superior climate, water, and natural advantages.

A generous porte cochere is the central feature and main entrance to The Greenbrier. A broad shallow flight of steps leads to a spacious collonaded [sic] vaulted terrace, 15 x 140 feet, from which one enters the main lounge of the hotel. As a type of Georgian room it is a gem, 80 by 65 feet, paneled in putty-colored, enameled wood, lighted by fifteen Eighteenth century crystal electroliers. In recesses, at either side of the entrance, are two imposing fireplaces, modeled after the famous Henri II fireplace in Musee Cinny. It is furnished to period in Mulberry antique velvet, and dull gold. The twelve large and luxurious lounges are copies of the Charles I sofa at Knole Park, and the same style has been carried out in the armchairs, founteule [fauteuils], banquettes, etc. in the lobby.

Opposite the entrance and leading from the main lobby is a large fountain and pool with pond lilies, and gold fish, which make an interesting background for the French cane-furniture that is effectively set off by bay trees and laurel.

A fifteen foot corridor leads from both sides of the main lounge. To the right is the women's reception room panelled in pale enamel wood, with a French lattice ceiling, and a generous fireplace. An old French toile de jouy is the piece de resistance of the Queen Anne gold and English mahogany furniture upholstered in French rayeure.

Elevators and a dressing room for women flank the reception room. To the north is the Spring Room, the feature of the hotel. It will be run as an adjunct to the new bath house for the benefit of those who come for the baths and the "Cure", and are drinking the waters. It is finished in old English brick with a caen stone vaulted ceiling, and a floor of marble and Welsh tile. On the west wall recessed in a circular conservatory is the fountain from which the Sulphur water, piped from the famous century-old spring, will be served over a counter, as at European spas. Both the fountain and the counter were executed from special designs of the architect, by the Doulton potteries of England. On the south wall are two grottos of stone imported from Italy, with large pools at the base of each. The water-plays from the fountains fall into ponds of lillies [sic] and gold fish. The east and west walls are glass casements that may be opened at will, when the lountain [fountain?] room can be made into an al fresco lounge during the ten months of the year when all life at White Sulphur Springs is out of doors. Dainty French wicker, greenery, and marble-topped tables furnish the room.

The handsomest hotel ball room in the country, separated from the spring room by a glazed foyer, is in a color scheme of three shades of French grey. The walls and ceiling are medallioned and in the four corners, subdued light is cast from huge grey, torcher and numerous Georgian candelabra. Rose pink taffetas, tasselled and trimmed in gray, curtain the thirteen windows, and the chairs, and trimmed in gray, curtain the thirteen windows, and the chairs, [sic - part of sentence duplicated] and banquettes in a special 18th century design, are covered with a French print.

On the other side of the main lobby or lounge, the general writing room is directly opposite the main offices. Farther on to the south of the corridor is the dining-room, finished in Caen stone, with French fenestration, to the east, and corresponding mirrors on the opposite side. It is 150 feet long and on the south, a circular bay, 50 feet broad opens onto the south lawn where an al fresco dining terrace will afford dining out of doors. Queen Anne chairs of black lacquer with black and silver seats are used. The lighting is subdued through rose colored shaded candles is [in?] silver sconces.

The private dining-rooms carried out in distinct styles lead from the east of the main dining- room. A caf‚ and men's lounge to the west is finished in Elizabethan style, with panelled oak and ornamental plaster ceiling, leaded glass windows and an imposing Gothic fireplace. The kitchens and culinary offices are to the south of this caf‚.

As the hotel is built on a sloping hill site, the south part of the building has a ground floor entirely above the level of the lawn. This ground floor can be reached from the main floor by the central staircase, and one leading from the spring room, which also goes to the gallery of the ball room. The main entrance of the ground floor is through the generous arch of the crossway, connecting hotel and bath house. It leads into a billiard room 50 by 80 feet and thence by a 15-foot corridor into a men's writing room, and card room on the east. A number of shops are on the west. A central lounge is provided on this floor leading to the telephone rooms, telegraph rooms, barber shop, etc. The remainder of the floor is given over to dining-rooms for the accommodation of children, nurses, maids, valets, chauffeurs, and other servants, and the culinary and other executive offices connected with the management of the hotel.

Above the main floor and connected with it by three stairways, three passenger elevators and two freight elevators, are the five bed floors, each containing 50 bed-rooms, with drawing-rooms, baths, huge clothes closets, and utility rooms. In all there are two hundred single and double bed-rooms with private baths, and a number of large and small private apartments having drawing rooms, bed- rooms and bath rooms.

The rooms and suites are furnished in the delightful homelike style generally known as English. The furniture and woodwork are enameled in a series of color schmes [sic] in soft tones of French grey, Queen Anne green, or Italian yellow, with the chintzes and printed lines profusely used for hangings, bed spreads, dresser tops, and desk and lamp furnishings, matching throughout. Great attention has been paid to the conveniences which are indispensable to the modern hostelry. Such details as proper lighting, heating, ventilating, telephone service, closet room, etc., have been provided for to the minutes [sic] detail, and no room in the entire hotel is without its long distance telphone [sic], and private toilet and lavatory, in addition to the private baths which are connected with all the suits [sic] and the majority of the rooms.

The building which is absolutely fireproof was designed by Frederick Sterner, the New York architect, who had the benefit of the assistance of Miss Maude Sterner, who furnished the hotel, and has taken care of detail which adds so much to the comfort of the women who live in hotels, and is seldom ever afforded the luxury of hangers for her clothes, proper lights for her dressing table, etc.

Every detail of management which has made a "Sterry" hotel from the Royal Poinciana at Palm Beach, the Homestead at the Virginia Hot Springs, and the Plaza in New York to the Copley-Plaza in Boston, known the world over for clientele, comfort, and "atmosphere", will be a feature of the New Greenbrier which opened on September 25th.


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