HOT FLASH REPORT 5/7: According to the LA Times, the owner of Justice Family Group, a West Virginia coal and agriculture company claims the rights to purchase the Greenbier! Justice had acquired stock in the Greenbrier Hotel Corp. Not so fast, remarks the LA Times of the Marriott reaction.
According to press releases, the Greenbrier was closed for Q1 2007 for a $48 million facelift. Although renovations continued through the fall of 2007, the hotel reopened with 65 rooms in April 2007.
As a comparison, Marriott entered into an agreement to purchase Wentworth by the Sea in 1997. It had been closed for about 20 years and did not reopen until June 2003*. During that six year period, a big chunk of the original building was torn down and the remnant completely renovated and expanded to include a spa. The Wentworth has 161 rooms compared to more than 700 at the Greenbrier.
The Greenbrier never recouped the $48M and sustained losses of $35M in 2008. The 2007 renovation may have missed the mark or it could have been the economy or both. To bring 700+ guest rooms up to brand standards is a huge undertaking. A staged approach might have the hotel operational sooner. The Revive bedding package is a Marriott brand standard which can be implemented quickly assuming the labor issues are sorted out. Let's hope they are!
Stepping Stones' post about the news of Marriott's Grosvenor House in London up for sale prompted memory of Marriott's valiant, but unsuccessful attempt to acquire the Greenbrier. The Washington Post did a story a few months back: The Greenbrier: Turns out you can afford it . . .
Above: Examples of designer Dorothy Draper's influence are everywhere at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia. Bold floral patterns and colorful walls decorate the area around the Olympic-size indoor pool. (Andrea Sachs/The Washington Post)