First Virgin Hotels property opens in Chicago

Virgin Hotels Chicago opened its doors yesterday (15 January), becoming the first property under Richard Branson's new Virgin Hotels brand.

Virgin Hotels Chicago opened yesterday (15 January)
Virgin Hotels Chicago opened yesterday (15 January)

Virgin Hotels Chicago is located in the heart of Chicago's Loop district in the historic Old Dearborn Bank, a 26-storey Art Deco building and famous Chicago landmark.

The 250-room property will include 40 one-bedroom suites and two Penthouse Suites. Five dining options include a 23-hour American diner a rooftop bar and lounge, all opening between February and April of this year. Situated where the original bank floor existed, the two-storey Commons Club is 'at the heart' of the hotel – a space where guests can dine, drink, work and mingle, as well as attend the nightly hosted Social Hour.

For meetings and events, Virgin Hotels Chicago has three modular spaces: The Manor, seating 108; The Sandbox, seating 72; and the Founders Room, seating 12.

The brand aims to cut the added costs associated with the sector, offering free wi-fi and eliminating early check-in fees, late check-out fees, room service delivery charges and business centre transactions.

Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder, said: "It’s been a long-held dream to start beautiful, comfortable, fun hotels for guests and give them what they want and need while being gentle on their wallets.

"I’m tremendously proud of the brilliant Virgin Hotels team, and I look forward to hosting our fans and spending more time in Chicago."

Virgin Hotels plans to open a second location in Nashville in the summer of 2016 and a third in New York City in late 2017. The brand hopes to have 20 locations by 2025 and lists London as a "huge priority".

The new brand is not Branson's first foray into the accommodation market – he already operates the high-end Virgin Limited Edition portfolio, which includes Necker Island in the Caribbean, The Lodge in the Swiss Alps, London's Kensington Roof Gardens and a number of luxury African properties.

The serial entrepreneur also announced in December that he was planning to "shake up the cruise industry" with the launch of Virgin Cruises.

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