In Victoria Street, in Edinburgh's historic centre, near the Royal Mile and the Castle, the brand's first hotel will be built, which once again proposes an innovative business model based on the ability to adapt to guests' needs: "Virgin Hotels was launched to bring about smart disruption in the hotel sector. For over 40 years, Virgin has challenged the status quo by creating products and services that have improved it considerably," said Branson, who added: "Virgin Hotels puts the traveller at the heart of design and service. I often travel and know what I want wherever I go in the world: free wifi, no cancellation fees, early check-in or late check-out without penalty. I want a comfortable bed, space to work in, a social area to relax in and a high standard of service. Virgin Hotels offers these things and much more - but I don't want to spoil the surprise completely.”
Virgin Hotels: a new hospitality formula
Considering the daily presence of parties starting from tea time, concerts and events open to everyone organized on the panoramic terraces, the fact that the hotel's restaurant, the Commons, is also a club, the constant social updating of the number of customers and animals hosted and the live blog space, it is not surprising that, within Virgin hotels, the professional figure of the Director of Entertainment has made his appearance. Indeed, Virgin Chicago's "entertainment director" Blake Smith was promoted to the brand's first Executive Director of Entertainment last year. With over ten years of experience in production and recording, in Virgin and before that in Polygram, EMI, Island Def Jam and as a screenwriter at Universal, Smith has already over 500 concerts and musical events in the two halls of the Virgin Hotel alone, the Upstairs and Cerise.
Apart from the suites that also have a living area, most of the rooms consists of only one bedroom and a bathroom, separated by a sliding door, which is also equipped, with the addition of peepholes, the local wardrobe.
Since, according to Virgin's research, business travellers spend much more time working on the hotel bed than on a desk, a team of designers has designed an extremely functional exclusive one, which becomes an armchair and has incorporated the dog's kennel (on the hotel's website, the owner himself shows its potential, sitting comfortably in a bathrobe).
The adventurous London tycoon, appointed Sir in 2000 for his services in business and whose family-owned venture capital group currently has interests in more than 400 companies, with Virgin trains, planes and spaceships - but who has chosen to concentrate on the management of Virgin Unite, the group's philanthropic arm - is certain to offer a completely new, personalized and "light" model of hospitality, far removed from the often stale and unfamiliar services of common high-end hotels.
And most of all, Branson is managing to export his formula outside of the United States as well: as he said to Inc, "One day we'll have a hotel in space, I guarantee you.