Virgin Hotels' First Location Will Be Chicago
Well, here's the news we've been waiting for for over a year now. The location of the first-ever Virgin Hotel has been announced, and it's not quite what we were anticipating: Chicago—specifically the Dearborn Bank Building in the north Loop—will welcome the brand's 250-room debut in Fall 2013. And boy have they put a lot of thought into this decision!
Virgin announced this morning at 11am that Chicago was chosen because it's "economically vibrant, culturally exciting, and a sports and entertainment hub." They neglected to mention that this yet-to-be renovated building also finds itself smack in the middle of an area populated by tons of other hotels.
Whether this is just a way to show their own superiority over lesser hotel beings, or tap into a well-visited section of the city (or both), we can't say. But to forgo the expected cities like NYC, SF or Miami is obviously Virgin's way of saying they want to establish their presence as a major player in the up-and-coming hotel world from the get-go. And really, who's about to stop them?
Check out this screen grab from Google maps, which pinpoints the distance between Virgin's baby and the newly-opened Public Chicago. Separated by a few neighborhoods, Virgin has opted for a more central location, surrounded as it is by Hotel Monaco, Hard Rock Chicago, The Wit and Trump Chicago (which you can actually see looming in the background of the above photo!)
Back last year, Branson had confidently stated his hotels would be "the hippest most comfortable in any city." Well, in the next two years, we get to see that challenge come to life. But we're guessing certain other new Chicago openings won't go without putting up a fight.
We'd like to know what you think of Virgin's announcement. Are you excited? Do you approve? Would you have picked a different spot, or a different city? Let us know in the comments below!