A Swedish massage at a glamorous mountaintop resort is only a train ride away. That was the vision that danced through my head as I boarded the Amtrak Cardinal line to The Greenbrier, the famed resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
The hotel, set amid the Allegheny Mountains, is known for its outdoorsy luxury. Golf, tennis, hikes and horses make it an ideal destination in summer. But in the dead of winter, you needn’t go any farther than the front door.
In fact, I barely left the warm environs of the Greenbrier Spa, wrapped up in my plush robe.
The train ride — actually quite pleasant as it turns out — is well worth it.
Since the shuttering of the Greenbrier Presidential Express in 2012, Amtrak’s Cardinal is a fine alternative, especially if you like trains and the idea of an old-school weekend getaway with champagne, board games by the fire and glamorous dining — thanks to Dorothy Draper’s historic styling of the resort in bright colors, chintz and marble floors.
The spa has an interesting history too. The sulphur water of the Greenbrier Valley has drawn prestigious visitors, including nearly every president, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Princess Grace, to White Sulphur Springs for nearly 250 years.
The late NASA legend Katherine Johnson, who died this week at 101, was a native of White Sulphur Springs, and was one of The Greenbrier’s other illustrious fans.
The Greenbrier water is a vigorous detoxifier and treatment for achy muscles, arthritis, bursitis and the dehydrating effects of Old Man Winter on the skin.
As I walked through the nearly 40,000-square-foot space, I noticed the small rooms where people literally hop in a tub to experience the water’s magic.
The spa suggests a 20-minute sulphur soak, followed by a hydromassage that stimulates your central nervous system and circulation.
If this sounds too complicated, you can simply enjoy some water therapy in the spa’s indoor pool, which is comfortably heated this time of year.
The Cardinal runs Fridays and Sundays, making this the perfect weekend escape. The Greenbrier’s multiple restaurants, casino and massive parlor fireplace will keep you warm and entertained.
If you’d prefer to travel during the week, the resort has a special package through March 31. Guests are able to book a two-night stay, Sunday night through Thursday night, for $1,000 and receive a spa allowance of $1,000 to use for services of their choice.