Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels Is Finally Open in San Francisco (Video)
Get ready SF, Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels San Francisco is officially open for business.
The much-anticipated property, which is situated in SoMa (South of Market), is the second Virgin Hotels location in the U.S. after the first opened in Chicago in 2015.
“I’m confident that Virgin Hotels San Francisco — and future properties — will differ from our existing location in Chicago because of the huge focus on ‘local,’” Virgin Hotels CEO Raul Leal exclusively told Travel + Leisure. “Through its culinary offerings, design partners, and entertainment, we’ll be infusing local flavor into the offerings, while ensuring they have the Virgin thread embedded throughout.”
Featuring 192 rooms — “Chambers,” as they’re called in the Virgin lexicon — and two penthouse suites, this hotel was designed with an eclectic energy that merges “San Francisco’s Victorian-era past, the city’s 1960s rock ’n’ roll appropriation of Victorian styling, and a 19th-century British feel.”
Chambers at Virgin hotels are designed in a signature two-room style that separates “The Dressing Room” from “The Lounge,” and San Francisco is certainly no exception. In The Lounge, guests will find plenty of amenities fit for a tech-minded, forward-thinking traveler: ergonomically designed lounge bed, a retro-style fridge with snacks at street pricing, a yoga mat, and more than enough outlets to charge. The Dressing Room, separated by a sliding door with keyhole, is home to a massive shower with a bench, a vanity, makeup desk, and closet for two that would make any Kardashian jealous.
And if that’s not enough, the room comes with a virtual personal assistant named Lucy, who can order you room service, control your thermostat, or give you dinner recommendations and then make reservations straight from your phone.
The Commons Club, the brand’s flagships restaurant and bar, gives guests an elevated lounge experience that feels members only, but is touted as “open to all.” Modern takes on California classics are served up by chef Adrian Garcia, and cocktails are as elevated as the 30-foot velvet curtains adorning the space. At Everdene, the 12th-floor rooftop bar, visitors will find nearly 360-degree views over San Francisco from an indoor/outdoor space, and if lucky, a VIP lounge hidden behind a Virgin-red garden gate.
“Personally one of my favorite parts of the hotel is the Commons Club situated on the ground floor,” said Leal. “This is where work and play intermingle, where live entertainment and entrepreneurial conversations take place.”
The San Francisco opening is a long-awaited chapter in the hotel brand’s massive expansion plan over the next few years, with locations coming to Dallas, Nashville, Las Vegas, New York, New Orleans, Washington D.C., Silicon Valley, and Palm Springs. The first international expansion will open in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2021.
And while visitors and locals alike can expect plenty of classic Virgin charm — Virgin red details and the Commons Club — each property, like San Francisco, will be tailored to “inject local customs” into the property.
“Virgin Hotels has always been about providing a better product for our guests and the idea of ‘membership without dues.’ Consumers continue to be ripped off with resort fees, overpriced minibars, and more, and we’ve always worked to provide an incredibly inclusive experience with a ‘no nickel and diming’ mentality,” said Leal. “These things we are not changing, but our guests’ needs are developing, and we’ve taken notice of that. We’re offering even more opportunity to personalize their experiences in Chicago and now San Francisco and at all future properties.”
If you find yourself heading to San Francisco — or live there now and just need a staycation — Virgin Hotels is currently offering two discounted packages to experience the new property. The “You’re So Good Looking” package gets guests two free drinks at one of the hotel’s bars while the “Brekky Package” includes breakfast to help get an early start or recover from the night before.