EDINBURGH – Virgin Hotels, the luxury lifestyle hotel brand by Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, announces reservations are live for its first European hotel Virgin Hotels Edinburgh, on 1 June 2022.
Situated in the landmark India Buildings in Edinburgh’s Old Town, a stone’s throw from Edinburgh Castle, the hotel features 222 Chambers and Grand Chamber Suites and 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 Eve, a vibrant, all-day dining space, offering a progressive approach to late night entertainment in Edinburgh. The hotel site is also home to a 19th century church, now known as Greyfriars Hall, that has been beautifully restored and repurposed as a special event venue. In addition, the hotel offers a rooftop sanctuary with unobstructed Edinburgh Castle views.
Bright and airy with warm textiles and locally sourced furnishings, the Chambers are a welcoming space to relax after a day exploring the city, featuring Virgin Hotels' signature layout with two distinct spaces. 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. A sliding door or drapery separates it from The Lounge, which features Virgin Hotels’ patented ergonomically designed bed with a tufted headboard, a red SMEG mini-fridge generously stocked with a curated selection of local products, television and ample outlets for smartphones, laptops, or other devices.
With views of Edinburgh Castle and across to the Royal Mile, the hotel’s Chambers have been infused with local city influences and modern touches. Original Victorian era details and a soft neutral palette come together to create a comfortable residential feel. Thoughtfully curated artwork evokes Virgin’s playful spirit as seen through the lenses of Edinburgh and greater Scotland. The Chambers and Suites’ rugs have been made in partnership with Lālla London who specialise in ethically produced Moroccan rugs, supporting women’s weaving cooperatives throughout the Atlas Mountains. The project supports over 180 female weavers in hard-to-reach villages, providing a necessary lifeline for the women and their families.
Spanning across ten floors, guests have plenty of choice when selecting a Chamber or Suite, with 15 unique categories including the signature suite, Richard’s Flat with beautifully restored architectural details and furnished with contemporary pieces in order to strike the perfect balance for Sir Richard’s home away from home and the Eve Branson suite, found under the bell tower of the restored mediaeval church where the dramatic architecture is tempered with a muted pallet in rich textures. The ever-charming suite is a nod to the Virgin founder's late mother. For guests looking for something a little different, there is the Moroccan-inspired Kasbah Tamadot Suite, a nod to the prestigious Virgin Limited Edition property in the Atlas Mountains, with a secret second floor lounge tented in traditional fabrics and adorned with festive lanterns and sumptuous furnishings.
A collaboration between Virgin Hotels and Scottish design and architecture studios ICA Studio, Four-by-Two, and Joelle Reid Interiors the hotel’s design preserves the original building's notable elements while adding a sense of style and sophistication. The property promises a stunning mix of old and new to fully capture the character of the cultural city of Edinburgh, combined with the heartfelt, personalised service the Virgin Hotels group is known for.
The hotel worked with Visto Artwork to curate the art throughout the hotel which includes numerous artworks created by local artists alongside works inspired by the unique character of Scotland and the Scots. The history of the location played a key role in developing the pieces, intertwining the heritage of the building with the contemporary character of the hotel design. Illuminating the walls and ceilings throughout Eve, guests will find ‘Mary in Space’ by Studio Giftig, inspired by Mary, Queen of Scots, a cultural icon who also lived for some time in Edinburgh Castle. Wearing modern clothing, Mary makes for an interesting image as past, present and future worlds are imagined to collide.
Other significant pieces of note are the “Chandelier” by Arthur Mamou-Mani. One of the world’s first bioplastic 3D printed sculptures of this scale, measuring 3 metres wide, hangs in the nave of the former church known as Greyfriars Hall. In addition, a large-scale painting was commissioned by artist Alan Macdonald for the mantle in the Commons Club bar. This work is rich in symbolism not only of the Virgin brand and what it represents, but of the site and the history of the area.
James Bermingham, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Hotels commented: “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. Through dynamic contextual design and neighbourhood-centric influences the new hotel will be a cultural city hub, with a design that sustains the building’s heritage while adding a vibrant, new style to the area.”
All guests can 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, Lucywhich 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.