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Chilling reason why hotel resort has a secret bunker which could house 1,000 people

Chilling reason why hotel resort has a secret bunker which could house 1,000 people

It was built for one reason, but most people didn't even know it existed.

Checking into a luxury hotel brings all sorts of nice benefits with it, but you might not have had "surviving the potential collapse of humanity" on that list.

That's just what is technically offered by a massive hotel that had a whole new wing built with a secret purpose at its heart. While the hotel's west wing was being built, between 1959 and 1962, the Cold War was raging, and as well as being a large and attractive hotel above ground, the Greenbrier would soon conceal an underground secret - a massive bunker that could sleep up to 1,000 people, complete with a cafe, hospital and even a broadcast center.

All of this was hidden behind a 25-ton blast door that wouldn't move for love or money, unless the right people knew how to get it open.

Wang Yukun / Getty
Wang Yukun / Getty

As it turns out, the reason for this bunker's construction came straight from the US government, which contacted the hotel's owners to ask for it to be built beneath the new complex.

It was designed to be able to house the entire population of the US Congress in case of nuclear war or invasion, giving them a safe place to stay and the means to communicate.

By the time the bunker was finished, it was a 112,544-square-foot labyrinth, and it still boasts decontamination chambers, an intensive care unit, auditoriums as well as a communications briefing room.

In theory, this would all mean that Congress could continue to function and run the country from its hiding place underground if the worst should happen.

Amusingly, the bunker was completely secret until 1992, when a careful reporter figured out there was something more under the hotel.

fhm / Getty
fhm / Getty

The moment this report was published in The Washington Post, the government decommissioned the bunker - since a secret bunker isn't much use when it's no longer secret.

At that point, it was converted into a National Historic Landmark, which means it's been kept in great condition and you can now visit and tour it, getting a sense of the paranoia of the Cold War, and what it might have been like to actually have to live down there.

This only applies to part of the bunker, though - other sections remain classified, while some parts have been repurposed to house data storage facilities. That's presumably a handy way of recouping some of the old cost of building the thing in the first place.

Still, it means that you can book a trip out to West Virginia right now if you like, to stay in one of the only hotels in the world that can offer a tour of a Cold War nuclear bunker that you don't even have to leave to find.

Featured Image Credit: Scott Halleran / Staff / Getty / The Greenbrier Resort