Virgin Hotels Is Opening Its First Property in Europe — and We Got a Sneak Peek Inside
Since Virgin Hotels opened its first location in Chicago in 2015, it has made its way into four other U.S. cities: Dallas, Las Vegas, Nashville, and New Orleans. But this summer, the brand will hop the Atlantic Ocean, making its European debut with a pair of Scottish properties in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Virgin Hotels Edinburgh will debut first in the capital city's Old Town area close to The Royal Mile on Jun. 1, 2022. Reservations are now live for those eager to book their summer stays. Located in the historic India Buildings, first built in 1864, this outpost will have 222 rooms and multiple dining options.
The brand describes the location's ethos as "unmistakably Virgin," in a statement released to Travel + Leisure, meaning that it will preserve the local cultural traditions, but with all the modern-day upgrades and luxurious elements that the Virgin products embody, along with colors that are "soft and muted, tactical and relaxing." Of note are the Eve Branson suite, an ode to company founder Richard Branson's late mother. Located under the bell tower of a restored medieval church and lit with a classy light installation, the bed sits under the spire, giving it bragging rights as the "unofficial tallest canopy bed in the world." Also on the property is Richard's Flat, another suite named after the founder himself with a lounge, bar area, and soaking tub.
Also on-site is the Commons Club, which the brand calls a "modern social club where guests can both work and play during their time at the hotel." Here, red is the standout shade, reminiscent of a vintage train carriage with a sweeping red sofa wrapping the room, red walls, and a deep-red ceiling with gold cornice details. The Commons Club is a stark change of scenery with stone walls and archways, as well as an exposed wine cellar, while the Junction space is one of juxtaposition, merging contemporary and heritage features.
There will also be an outpost of the Funny Library Coffee Shop, with areas for working and socializing. This location has two distinct parts to it: the coffee counter is in a link bridge, while the library and lounge are in the India Buildings with books surrounding the room, plus a central fireplace to cement a cozy feel. And each book is chosen with thought, as they are "locally sourced and feature irreverent and whimsical titles with games and oddities sprinkled throughout." The Virgin Hotel Edinburgh will also feature a large multifunctional gathering space called Greyfriars' Hall that it describes as "raw and honest" with both elements of greenery and a mural wrapping around the walls.
As for the second European outpost of Virgin Hotels, it will open later this summer in Glasgow. This property is of personal significance to founder Richard Branson, as it's where his wife, Joan, is from. The personal tie is reflected in the choice location, right in the city center at 236-246 Clyde Street, featuring panoramic views of the River Clyde. Sitting in the middle of Glasgow's shopping district, next to St. Enoch Shopping Centre and walking distance to Buchanan Street, the riverside hotel is also in close proximity to the Gallery of Modern Art and Glasgow Central station. Virgin Hotels Glasgow will house 240 rooms, split between the brand's Chamber and Grand Chamber Suites offerings. Each has a Dressing Room area, which is a hallway, closet, and bathroom rolled into one, as well as a Sleeping Lounge, designed for working or just chilling out.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the 38-floor Virgin Hotels New York City — complete with a rooftop pool and bar — is prepping for a summer opening at 1227 Broadway near Manhattan's Madison Square Park. Also in the works is Virgin Hotels Miami in the city's Financial District, scheduled for a 2025 opening.
"Virgin Hotels has established a beloved brand amongst many, always ensuring that all offerings embrace and showcase the local community culture for all travelers to enjoy; and this property will surely do the same," Branson said of the Glasgow location.