The new owner of The Greenbrier resort isn’t wasting any time trying to restore the luster of the historical West Virginia property. After sweeping in to thwart what was an otherwise done deal between the previous owners—who filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy—and Marriott last month, businessman James Justice has his eyes on a new prize: a five-star rating.
(Read how Justice thwarted hotel giant Marriott’s purchase of The Greenbrier)
It wouldn’t be the first time the Greenbrier was bestowed the most-coveted of hotel benchmarks. The property previously had been awarded that fifth star by Chicago-based Mobil Travel Guide decades ago—only to have it taken away in January 2000.
Getting it back will prove no easy task. The Greenbrier couldn’t boost its rating after a US$50-million renovation almost 10 years ago. And at 771 guestrooms, the sheer scale of the property makes it difficult to manage more than 550 Mobil standards.
But if Justice showed us anything in the way he acquired the property in the first place, it’s that he isn’t one to back down from a challenge.
To help with his quest, he’s called on Mobil’s consulting division to help identify the resort’s strengths and weaknesses. He’s also promised hotel staff a 10-percent bonus if the fifth star is restored.
Of course, no amount of prodding and pushing will guarantee success. The five-star rating isn’t handed out generously. Only 44 hotels in the U.S. have been awarded the honor.
But Justice still deserves kudos for trying. In a time when most hoteliers seem to be cutting back, adjusting to a new normal, it’s nice to see at least one person push well beyond the status quo.