By Cailey Rizzo
May 24, 2018
Credit: Courtesy of Virgin Hotels

Virgin Hotels is preparing to open its first European location.

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson celebrated the upcoming hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland at a ceremony on Tuesday. The hotel will take over the historic India Buildings in Edinburgh’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Center.

Credit: Courtesy of Virgin Hotels

At the celebration, Branson spoke about his connection to the city. His wife is Scottish and his grandparents were from Edinburgh.

“The city holds a very special place in my heart,” Branson said. “Virgin Hotels takes its role as neighbors’ in this beautiful city very seriously, and we want this hotel to fit in with the fabric of the city and are working with the local community to make sure of this.”

Credit: Courtesy of Virgin Hotels

The hotel will open in 2020, with 225 rooms and suites, designed to complement the historic structure.

“India Buildings is absolutely stunning and has so much for us to work with,” Branson wrote in a blog post. “It is full of stories and legends, and I’m sure we can create many new ones.”

The India Buildings are A-listed historical buildings that date back to 1864. They have been unused for the past decade and were deemed “at risk” by Historic Environment Scotland.

Credit: Courtesy of Virgin Hotels

Branson said the hotel will also include the flagship “Commons Club,” a multi-use food, drink and party space. The billionaire founder — who started the music label Virgin Records — also promised to “bring more live music back to the capital in surprising ways.”

Credit: Courtesy of Virgin Hotels

Virgin Hotels are in a period of rapid expansion. The first hotel opened in Chicago in 2015. This summer, a second location will open in San Francisco. Within the next two years, Virgin Hotels are also planned for Dallas, Nashville, New Orleans, New York City, D.C., Las Vegas, Silicon Valley, and Palm Springs.