Richard Branson's Virgin finally opens first hotel

Virgin Hotels Chicago opens after repeated delays; Operator targeting 20 hotels by 2025

The Commons Club in Virgin Hotels Chicago, where guests can dine, drink, work and mingle
The Commons Club in Virgin Hotels Chicago, where guests can dine, drink, work and mingle

Virgin Hotels, the hospitality brand within Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, has finally opened its first hotel in Chicago, after a string of delays over the past three years.

Announced in 2010, the four-star brand was originally intended to debut in the following year, although its opening date was then repeatedly pushed back.

The 250-room Virgin Hotels Chicago finally opened on Thursday (January 15) in the city’s Loop district in the historic Old Dearborn Bank Building.

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The operator plans to open a second location in Nashville in 2016 and a third in New York City in 2017. Another two locations are set to be announced by the end of next year 2016, with Virgin hoping to have 20 hotels by 2025.

"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," said Virgin Group founder Richard Branson.

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

Among the 250 rooms at the new hotel are 40 suites, and the property offers free Wi-Fi, with no early check-in fees, late check-out fees or room service delivery charges.

Virgin Hotels confirmed in December that is currently has no plans to enter the Middle East.

Responding to enquiry by Arabian Business (a sister publication of Hotelier Middle East), a spokesperson for the company said: “We are open to evaluating and exploring all cities, but at this time the Middle East is not in our pipeline.”

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