More than simply masters of the skies and the seven seas, Virgin has its fair share of boutique and high-end hotels too, in cities from Nashville to New Orleans. And now, it can count one in Scotland's historic capital among them.
Opened on June 1, ahead of public bookings from June 14, Virgin Hotels Edinburgh delivers an on-trend experience with a twist, inspired not only by its location amid the rambling streets and Victorian architecture of the Old Town, but the 19th century building it resides in.
Surprisingly, it also marks the group’s debut property outside of the United States.
Occupying the landmark India Buildings on Victoria Street, built in 1864 during the Gothic Revival period, the new Edinburgh hangout boasts numerous architecturally-impressive bars and restaurants, including the brand's flagship Commons Club.
A collaboration between Virgin Hotels and Scottish design and architecture studios ICA Studio, Four-by-Two, and Joelle Reid Interiors, the building's design preserves many of the original elements while adding a sheen of modern sophistication.
Prior to opening, James Bermingham, Virgin Hotels' Chief Executive Officer, remarked: “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.”
Spanning 15 categories, the 225 chambers (aka rooms) and suites each feature Victorian-era details and a neutral colour palette. Sliding doors or curtains allow guests to customise the rooms, separating 'The Lounge' relaxation zone from the stylish 'Dressing Room'.
The Dressing Room includes a full vanity, closet space big enough for two, makeup desk with a well-lit mirror, an extra-large shower with a built-in bench and toiletries by Arran of Scotland.
Free wifi and a red Smeg minibar generously stocked with treats at street-level prices are also part of the deal, along with yoga mats and other surprising details, which the hotel says are aimed at “making guests feel better”.
Grand Chamber Suites are the premium offerings, each slightly different and infused with local influences.
Among them, the opulent Richard’s Flat, named after Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson; and the historic romance of the Eve Branson suite, named after Sir Richard’s mother and situated beneath the bell tower of the restored medieval church onsite. The Family King Suite enjoys a view to iconic Edinburgh Castle.
For guests seeking something a bit different, there’s the Moroccan-inspired Kasbah Tamadot Suite, a nod to the Virgin Limited Edition property in the Atlas Mountains, with a secret second floor lounge tented in traditional fabrics and adorned with sumptuous furnishings.
However, it’s the public areas filled with bespoke artworks where the hotel is set to really shine.
This includes Commons Club, an Art Deco-tinged restaurant and bar; the intimate Scarlet Lounge; and Eve, a vibrant, all-day dining space with a focus on entertainment.
Virgin Hotels currently has properties in New Orleans, Dallas, Chicago, Nashville and Las Vegas, with fresh additions earmarked for New York City, Glasgow and Miami.