Richard Branson’s trendy hospitality company Virgin Hotels will be debuting its first European property in June, complete with high-tech, pet-friendly rooms. Jenny Southan reports
Located in the landmark India Buildings in Edinburgh’s old town, Virgin Hotels Edinburgh features 222 rooms and suites, as well as multiple bars and restaurants.
These include the Commons Club, Virgin Hotels’ flagship restaurant and bar that acts as a “modern day social club”; and Eve, a “vibrant, all-day dining space, offering a progressive approach to late night entertainment in Edinburgh”.
The hotel site is also home to a 19th-century church, now known as Greyfriars Hall, that has been restored and repurposed as an event venue. In addition, the hotel offers a rooftop sanctuary with views of Edinburgh Castle. Bedrooms feature Virgin Hotels’ signature layout with two distinct spaces ideal for travellers looking for more than just a bed for the night.
The Dressing Room has a full vanity, closet space big enough for two, make-up desk with a well-lit mirror, an extra-large shower with a built-in bench and toiletries by Arran of Scotland. Meanwhile, a sliding door or curtain separates the Dressing Room from the Lounge, which sports Virgin Hotels’ patented ergonomically designed bed with a tufted headboard, a red SMEG mini-fridge generously stocked with a curated selection of local products, a television and outlets for smartphones, laptops, or other devices. A press release states that the rooms exhibit “city influences and modern touches”. Virgin Hotels says: “Original Victorian era details and a soft neutral palette come together to create a comfortable residential feel.”
A nice touch that Globetrender notes is that rugs have been made in partnership with Lālla London, which specialises in ethically produced Moroccan rugs, supporting women’s weaving cooperatives throughout the Atlas Mountains.
The project supports over 180 female weavers in hard-to-reach villages, providing a necessary lifeline for the women and their families.
Top level suites include Richard’s Flat, and the Eve Branson suite, located under the bell tower of the restored medieval church.
There is also the Moroccan-inspired Kasbah Tamadot Suite, named after the Virgin Limited Edition property in the Atlas Mountains. Apparently, this room has a “secret second-floor lounge tented in traditional fabrics and adorned with festive lanterns and sumptuous furnishings”. James Bermingham, CEO of Virgin Hotels, says: “Edinburgh is such an iconic city and we’re thrilled it will be the home of the first Virgin Hotels in the UK and across Europe.
“Through dynamic contextual design and neighbourhood-centric influences the new hotel will be a cultural city hub, with a design that sustains the building’s heritage while adding a vibrant, new style to the area.” All guests can sign up for the brand-wide guest preferences and loyalty program The Know, which grants a personalised hotel experience that allows for access to room upgrades, member rates, special events and a free cocktail hour in Commons Club – all when booking directly with Virgin Hotels.
Guests can also control all room lighting, thermostats and TVs, as well as order room service, directly via the mobile app, Lucy, which is exclusively available to Know members.
Lucy also gives guests the ability to check in prior to arrival and can be used as an access key to their rooms. It’s also worth noting that the hotel is pet friendly, supplying free “pet-menities” such as dog beds, food and water dishes.