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Virgin Hotels have been taking
too long their sweet time in opening their first property. They've also been extremely tight-lipped--some may even say closed-off--about the details of their hotel experience. But today, HotelChatter has an inside line on what to expect when the first Virgin Hotel opens in Chicago this fall, to be followed by other eager, young Virgins around the world.
Here are 6 THINGS VIRGIN HOTELS WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT THEM as told to HotelChatter by Raul Leal, CEO of Virgin Hotels.
1. Virgin Hotels Will Woo Women
"We are building a product experience sensitive to how women travel," Leal said. Indeed, 60 percent of the Virgin Hotels team is women and they've been giving their input on the room experience from a female business traveler perspective, highlighting more drawers and closet space and a dedicated space to apply make-up. But Leal said Virgin will still be build something that both sexes like and that "works for both sides."
Virgin Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Hype / Sir Richard Branson / Raul Leal / Nashville Hotels / → All Tags
You can probably thank Taylor Swift for the latest announcement from Virgin Hotels. The burgeoning hotel brand has just revealed they will open a new hotel in Nashville in 2016 in a pretty prime location--One Music Row.
Virgin Hotels Nashville will have 240 guest rooms, multiple "concept" suites, along with food and beverage outlets and perhaps most necessary of all, a cutting edge recording studio.
“Based on its nonstop cultural and live events, food and beverage scene, and its ability to inspire both talented artists and TV viewers, Nashville’s time is now – and we’d like to be part of that excitement,” said Sir Richard Branson. “Virgin Hotels will be our first venture in Nashville, and we’ll look at other opportunities for our US and international customers to enjoy the southern hospitality that Nashville is known for.”
Meanwhile, Virgin Hotels Chicago is apparently just "months away from opening" according to Raul Leal, CEO of Virgin Hotels. After that, Virgin has its eyes set on NYC, Boston, Dallas, LA, Miami, San Fran, DC and London.
We don't think we need to say it again but it bears repeating, "Hurry up because we can't hardly wait."
[Photo: Nashville CVB]
Happy Monday! There will soon be a new hotel in Manhattan with free WiFi!
Virgin Hotels have just announced their plans for a New York location and it's going to be in the coolest hotel nabe in town--the NoMad area. More specifically, the new build 300-room Virgin Hotel, developed by The Lam Group, will open on the Northwest corner of 29th and Broadway.
The area is already home to the Ace Hotel, the NoMad Hotel and the upcoming Tommie Hotel, along with several others. And all that hotel hubub is exactly why Virgin picked this spot for their first NYC hotel.
“We are delighted to enter the New York market and specifically to play a part in continuing the NoMad neighborhood’s growth as a dynamic destination,” said Virgin Hotels CEO Raul Leal. “Virgin’s 60 million global customers can’t get enough of New York City, and we hope to welcome them all with our trademark style, humor, innovation, and friendly customer service. We are equally thrilled to partner with the Lam Group, who has shown success in New York as real estate investors and developers."
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Raul Leal, President of Desires Hotels
With a name like Desires Hotels, this small collection of boutique properties has a lot to live up to. After all, don't all guests want their every desire fulfilled whenever they check into a hotel? And look no further than the recent introductions of specialized services in hotels like pillow menus, bath butlers, shopping concierges and even iPhone applications to understand that today's hotel guest is becoming increasingly needy.
But in speaking with Raul Leal, the president of Desires Hotels, we learned that his hotels have a few subtle ways to make sure that your need are taken care of when staying overnight.
For starters, the concierges at Desires Hotels (which include The Ironhorse Hotel in Milwaukee, The MAve in New York and The Besty Hotel in Miami) are called, Managers of Desires. Their sole purpose is to spoil you whether it be by accommodating special room requests, securing restaurant reservations and planning a day (or night out) on the town. Have a desire and want it fulfilled? This is a good place to start. But remember, these managers are not genies. Keep your requests reasonable (and clean.)
Desires Hotels is the boutique hotels division of Tecton Hospitality which has 12 hotels, open and pending, in the U.S., mostly in Miami Beach. For instance, this is the company that now manages the Sagamore Hotel (once a Thompson Hotel) and that manages the Hotel Mela in New York.
Upcoming hotels include the Cassa Hotel & Residences in Midtown Manhattan, an all-suite luxury hotel, set to open in the winter of 2009. Another is the Betsy Hotel (formerly the Besty Ross) in Miami Beach which is undergoing renovations and will re-open in Winter 2008. There are other hotels in Milwaukee, Atlanta and Puerto Rico.
Overall Desires Hotels seek out guests that are "tech-savvy, enjoy trendy restaurants and seek personal recognition, comfort and attention." What these means for you hotel guests is that Desires Hotels are stylish places that offers a different experience from the "cookie-cutter" hotel chains. Which sounds decent enough.
So who are the people behind such Desires? Why that would be Richard Millard, chairman and CEO and Raul Leal, president and partner.
Richard Millard (in the chair) mainly oversees the company's business development efforts. His hotel background is extensive having managed over 150 hotels before becoming president of Tecton Hospitality in 1995.
His partner Raul Leal (in the tub) oversees all the day to day operations of Tecton Hospitality. In fact, he co-developed the Desires Hotel boutique division within Tecton. And he obviously marches to a different beat. Most hoteliers like to jump on the bed in their professional photos but Raul stood in a tub! A stylish tub at that.
Unlike many hoteliers we cover here, these two seem to have a low-profile. Hence, no celebrity girlfriends or Google image results where they are surrounded by models. But we are sure the titles of Chairman of Desires and President of Desires must come in handy at many social gatherings.