See inside the luxurious resort GOP members stayed in for their retreat — and where Congress would have escaped to during the Cold War

The iconic North Entrance of The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

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The iconic North Entrance of The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
source
Wikipedia Commons

Every year, Republican members of Congress and their staffers convene for a three-day retreat – away from the hubbub of Washington – to socialize and discuss their party’s agenda.

On Wednesday, GOP lawmakers traveled to this year’s venue: The Greenbrier, a luxury resort in West Virginia, established during the 18th century, that has hosted US presidents and features an underground bunker where Congress was supposed to hideout in the event of a nuclear outbreak during the Cold War.

Take a look at what it’s like inside this beautiful resort:


The Greenbrier is a large resort complex located in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and includes a hotel, casino, golf course, and private residences.

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Wikipedia Commons

The hotel was built in 1858. During the Civil War, Union and Confederate forces used the hotel grounds as a hospital and military headquarters.

Source: The Greenbrier


During World War II, the hotel briefly served as a detention center for diplomats of enemy countries, including Germany and Japan. It also served as a hospital to treat wounded American soldiers.


The hotel reopened to the public a few years after the war.

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Wikipedia Commons

In the 1950s, the US government started building an underground bunker on the grounds of The Greenbrier to serve as an emergency relocation center for Congress in the event of a nuclear attack.

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The West Tunnel Blast Door, which weighs 25 tons and serves as an entrance to the bunker.
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Alex Wong/Getty

It was stocked with supplies, beds, and even a medical clinic.

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A remaking of the Communication Room of the bunker.
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Alex Wong/Getty

The bunker was code-named “Project Greek Island,” and took up about 112,000 square feet.

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This is what the bunker’s dormitory looked like.
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Alex Wong/Getty

The US government kept the hidden bunker under wraps until 1992, when media outlets reported of its existence.

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The clinic of the secret bunker.
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Alex Wong/Getty

Source: The Los Angeles Times


The Greenbrier currently offers public tours of the bunker.


Today, The Greenbrier hosts guests from all over the world. Visitors can participate in activities such as falconry, skeet shooting, and bowling, among others.

Source: The Greenbrier


It frequently holds lavish parties and events, and requires a strict dress code for guests.

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A lounge at the hotel.
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Wikipedia Commons

Source: The Greenbrier


A casino opened in 2010. High-profile politicians and celebrities came to the resort for the launch.

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Former West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin and actress Jennifer Garner participate in the ribbon cutting at the grand opening of the Casino Club.
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Bryan Bedder/Getty

In 2011, Greenbrier management announced it was launching a luxury express train that would run from Washington, D.C. to the resort in West Virginia. The project was eventually nixed.

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Wikipedia Commons

Source: The Greenbrier


In 2014, the New Orleans Saints relocated their training camp to The Greenbrier.

Source: The Greenbrier


The Greenbrier is also home to a premier golf course, where the Greenbrier Classic — a tournament part of the PGA tour — is held every year in July.


But in 2016, the tournament was canceled amid intense flash floods that devastated West Virginia, killing 23 people and damaging many homes.

Source: Business Insider


Though the resort was temporarily closed as the flood waters damaged much of the property, The Greenbrier owner and West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice took in over 700 flood victims and allowed them to temporarily seek refuge at the hotel.

Sources: Business Insider, Washingtonian


About half of all US presidents have stayed at The Greenbrier. On Thursday, President Donald Trump spoke to GOP lawmakers during their annual retreat there, touting the US economy and criticizing Democrats for not cheering during his State of the Union address.

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Donald Trump, flanked by House Speaker Paul Ryan, addresses the Republican congressional retreat at the Greenbrier on February 1, 2018.
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Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Source: Business Insider