Virgin Hotels, the luxury lifestyle hotel brand by Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, has opened its latest outpost in Edinburgh in soft launch today for hotel guests, and will open to the general public from 14 June. Phase two of the property and the official grand opening is scheduled for autumn.
This first phase of the launch is the soft opening of 54 Chambers, in addition to multiple dining and drinking outlets, all with their own unique space and distinct design. This includes Commons Club, Virgin Hotels’ flagship restaurant and bar that acts as a modern-day social club, and the Funny Library Coffee Shop, offering a selection of teas, coffees, house-made pastries and sandwiches creating a cosy communal space boasting a range of local literature to enjoy next to the roaring fire.
The second phase launch will bring guests even more Virgin charm and playfulness, when it officially opens in early autumn 2022. All 222 Chambers and Grand Chamber Suites will open, as well as the remaining dining and drinking outlets. This will include Eve, an all-day dining space, and Greyfriar’s Hall, a 19th century church that has been beautifully restored and repurposed as a special event venue and a rooftop sanctuary with unobstructed Edinburgh Castle views.
Virgin Hotels Edinburgh opens in the landmark India Buildings in Edinburgh’s Old Town, just moments from Edinburgh Castle, joining several noteworthy local restaurants, music venues and boutique hotels. A collaboration between Virgin Hotels and Scottish architect studio Four-by-Two; the designers have worked to preserve notable elements of the original building while adding some sophisticated Virgin touches. The property promises a thoughtful mix of old and new to fully capture the character of the cultural city of Edinburgh.
Throughout the summer, guests will be able to enjoy 54 of the bright and airy Chambers. Guests can expect to be met with elegantly decorated rooms with warm textiles and locally sourced accessories and lighting, ranging from 23 to 75 square-metres. The Dressing Room includes a sit-down vanity unit with mounted illuminated mirror, and an extra-large shower with a bench. A sliding wooden door separates it from The Lounge, which features Virgin Hotels’ patented ergonomically designed bed with a channel-tufted headboard, Hypnos™ mattress, a red SMEG® mini-fridge generously stocked with a curated selection of local products, HD TV and a yoga mat. All Chambers feature custom lighting on sensors that automatically illuminate as guests move around the space, and ample outlets for smartphones and other devices.
Commons Club restaurant will also be open as part of the soft launch to hotel guests and starting the 14th of June the restaurant will take reservations for all visitors. Commons Club is designed to feel like a modern social club in a playful yet sophisticated environment. Under the direction of Edinburgh-born Executive Chef, Steven Wilson, the menu showcases contemporary Scottish seasonal cuisine using the freshest produce straight from Scotland’s local larder. Commons Club features a communal Chef’s Table overlooking the open kitchen, allowing guests a front row seat to all the action – The Kitchen at Commons Club. There will also be The Bar, featuring an impressive back bar which is home to all the best Scottish whiskies and liquors, along with an inventive selection of signature cocktails.
The hotel worked with Visto Artwork to curate the artworks on display throughout the hotel which includes numerous pieces created by local artists alongside works inspired by the unique character of Scotland and the Scots. Fashion photography with Scottish tartan, portrait galleries celebrating women from Scotland’s past and present, and a focus on female Scottish artists showcase women both in-front of and behind the lens in delightful and surprising ways.
The history of the location as well as Virgin the brand played a key role in developing the pieces, intertwining the heritage of the building with the contemporary character of the hotel. Illuminating the walls and ceilings throughout the restaurant, guests will find standout works including ‘Virgin Lips’; a custom commission by Edinburgh-based artist Wendy Helliwell which incorporates a full pair of old jeans, ‘747 Fuselage Wall Art’ giving a playful nod to Virgin Atlantic, and ‘Queen of Dreams’ by Alan Macdonald inspired by Mary Queen of Scots.
The hotel offers guests the chance to 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 complimentary cocktail hour in Commons Club – all when booking directly with Virgin Hotels. All Chambers and Suites have integrated tech capabilities, which can control lighting, thermostats, TVs, and 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 Chambers. Chambers are also pet friendly, with complimentary ‘pet-menities’ available, including dog beds and food and water dishes.
The hotel is also working with sister company Virgin Start Up to feature products from local Scottish companies that have been supported by the Start Up initiative. A selection of food, drink, clothing and skincare will be available for purchase from a centrally located honesty bar.
Room rates at Virgin Hotels Edinburgh start from £320 for chambers and £850 for suites. Reservations can be made directly on the hotel’s website www.virginhotels.com/edinburgh and Commons Club Restaurant reservations can be made at www.commonsclub.com/edinburgh