August 15, 2011
Struth! Railroaded to Luxury
IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says America's oldest and most luxurious resort is adding another level of indulgence for its well-heeled guests – from July next year they'll have their own 240-passenger express train to deliver them in extraordinary luxury from Washington DC's Union Station right into the 2600ha (6500 acre) Greenbrier Resort in Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
Forty tradesmen are using exotic timbers and finest fabrics to refurbish fifteen rail carriages that once belonged to the Union Pacific and Santa Fe railroads, and which were originally built in the 1950s but lain idle for years.
They're being furnished and decorated in the same classic Dorothy Draper & Company décor as the Greenbrier Resort itself, whose original buildings were opened in 1778 for those seeking to "take the waters" at the sulphur springs.
And during their six-hour journey, guests will dine on the finest cuisine and drink the best labels in the lounge, observation and dining cars.
"We want them to experience everything from the décor to the dining as if they are already at Greenbrier," said owner Jim Justice, who is also an owner of the company that's building and will operate the Greenbrier Express.
And once at the resort, guests will have a choice of 710 rooms, thirteen restaurants, cafés and lounges, a 12,500 square metre (40,000 sq feet) spa, 32,000 sq metre gaming and entertainment venue (103,000 sq feet,) a championship golf course, fifty other sporting and recreational activities, and arcades of boutiques, before getting their own train back to Washington…