Virgin Opens Its First Hotel In Chicago

The Windy City gets a new slick hotel aimed at the female traveller.

All images courtesy Virgin Hotels Group.

All images courtesy Virgin Hotels Group.

Leave it to billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson to take a leap into the world of hotels. A few weeks ago, Branson debuted his Virgin Hotels brand with the opening of the Virgin Hotel Chicago. A project that was two years in the making, this 250-room downtown hotel is ideally situated just steps away from the Magnificent Mile, and is jam-packed with amenities that is guaranteed to please any traveller.

The main focus for Branson was to be completely transparent with regards to fees. For starters there is free Wi-Fi with unlimited bandwidth, no fees for early check-in or late check-out, no charges for room service and mini-bar prices that are extremely affordable (how about a chocolate bar for a $1?). Oh and there’s free bottled water too.

virgin-hotel-chicago-bedroom

But the great stuff doesn’t end there. The bedrooms (called Chambers) are divided into two main areas, one which is a changing/getting ready area and the other for sleeping and lounging. Aimed at the female traveller, there are tons of details us ladies can appreciate including the over-sized vanity with good lighting and bench in the shower (for shaving). The sliding door separating the two rooms were designed with the idea you can be in your bedroom, working or lounging, while room service drops off breakfast or the toothpaste you forgot to pack.

The hotel's unique hybrid bed.

The hotel’s unique hybrid bed.

Another work-related feature designed into the room is their patent-pending hybrid bed with an ergonomic headboard and customizable footboard, so you can lug that laptop into bed with you if need be. Technology has also been integrated into the hotel experience — all made possible by downloading their hotel app, Lucy — which allows you to do things like change the thermostat in the room, order room service or live chat with the concierge.

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But it’s not all work and no play with Virgin Hotels. The Commons Club is the hotel’s social space — mirrored after a private member’s club, minus the fees. Daily from 6 – 7 p.m. is their nightly social hour where hotel guests can sip on complimentary cocktails. There are a total of five dining concepts, many of which haven’t opened yet, including a rooftop bar, a diner called Miss Ricky’s and a coffee-meets-wine bar.

Get ready because this isn’t the last we’ll see of Virgin Hotels. Branson said he plans to open two to three hotels a year, with a Nashville location opening next year and a New York City location in 2017.

In the meantime, you can check out the Chicago location. With rates starting at $209/night, the price definitely seems right.

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