The Greenbrier Spa Experience
Updated: Nov 10, 2020
The Greenbrier dates back to 1778 as a spa destination, when travelers from all over the region came to “take the waters” of the curative natural springs. Today, guests still enjoy the benefits of the rich mineral waters in the resort’s 40,000 square-foot spa facility
By: Anne Heintz
There are two things that makes the spa experience at The Greenbrier so unique. One is the water. The other is history. They are both uniquely intertwined. The Greenbrier is home to one of the nation’s first spa resorts. Since its early beginnings it has treated presidents, movie stars, athletes, royalty and normal folk too!
The water beneath White Sulphur Springs has a high concentration of pure mineral bath salts which is perfect for soothing tired, sore muscles while helping to rebalance the body’s natural minerals and rehydrate the skin.
In fact, people have been coming to this area since the late 1700’s. Back then, they called it “taking the waters” which meant they bathed in it and drank it for medicinal purposes.
The Greenbrier is built on this history. It is there because of the water. In essence, the spa came first followed by the resort!
Today The Greenbrier uses the same mineral-sulphur water out of the same spring people used in the late 1700’s. Water from the spring is pumped into a holding tank, heated and then used in the spa. The water is perfect for healing a variety of different aches and pains. It’s amazing. By the way they have filtered out the rotten egg smell before you get to treatment time.
The only thing different today… people don’t drink the water!
The Greenbrier Spa has 18 massage rooms, 9 facial rooms and separate rooms dedicated to their many hydrotherapy offerings. Quite a few of their treatments are on a pause due to COVID 19, but there are still so many no one will feel slighted.
It takes up one whole wing of the hotel. After passing the hair salon and medspa you enter through a long corridor leading into the lobby of the spa.
For the record, the Greenbrier Spa is almost as popular with men as it is with women. It’s not unusual for gentlemen golfers to take in a soak and massage after 18 holes. But I’m not a golfer. I’m simply someone who loves the spa experience.
I was immediately greeted, temperature taken and given information about my appointment and whisked off to the locker room. I came early so that I could check out the sauna and steam room facilities.
My favorite though was the large quiet room decorated a la Dorothy Draper. All sorts of comfy chairs, chaise lounge, lots of snacks, flavored waters and teas. I even extended my stay post massage and soak and exited out into the quiet room courtyard to catch a few rays.
The Greenbrier expanded their list of offerings to include Medspa services as well as meditation and healing. Many of their “signature treatments” include both a hydrotherapy component and a massage. I booked myself a hot stone massage before arrival. I passed on a facial, wrap, scrub, hand and foot treatment, but revisited the waters. After all, when in Rome, do as the Romans do!
I asked more about the bath services. I find at the end of a day there is nothing better for destressing than a nice warm bath. Well I made it through the descriptions of the Sulphur soak, mineral mountain bath without batting an eye. They hooked me on the fruit and cream bath.
They have deep soaking/hydro jet tubs. The coconut infused creamy milk bath is waiting for you. You just choose whether you want mango, mandarin orange or raspberry bath salts added to the already soothing waters. The piece de la resistance is the added bonus of choosing the tint of the water when the lights are lowered.
My one regret is that I should have done the milk bath first, then the hot stone massage. Oh, but wait! I find that I don’t want to plan too many things in advance or otherwise my time off feels too scripted. That said, I really should have done the three-mile walk around the beautiful vast acreage BEFORE the bath and massage. Maybe one of these days I will learn!
It is also important to note that many of the spa employees have had a long tenure there. I witnessed it first-hand when two attendants arrived in the quiet area to greet (socially distanced of course) their clients who clearly were faithful clients!
The Greenbrier Spa is a not to be missed part of your overall experience at this beautiful mountain retreat. After all its still around after 230 years! Any signature treatment is a wonderful way to experience the reason “Americas Resort” came to exist in the first place. They have refined their array of options, the foundation of which stands the test of time…the water!
**Anne Heintz is an independent travel advisor based in Washington, DC who always has her bag packed. She loves the fact that the journey creates memories and connections for her clients. She is affiliated with Worldwide Travel Associates in DC and Tzell Travel in NYC. She is the co-founder & namesake of TravelAnne.com. Anne can be reached at Anne@TravelAnne.com