Tag: Richard BransonView All Tags
Sir Richard Branson. Can anyone guess the DeGrassi High alum sleeping behind him?
Yesterday we were fortunate to grab some time with Sir Richard Branson at his first class seat on the launch party flight for Virgin America's new Toronto route.
And while we could have asked Branson what a typical day is like for him at his Necker Island retreat or if he fancies Dita Von Teese, we had our mind on other sexier things--like Virgin Hotels and when we might expect them to open.
Branson told us they are "not many months away from making an announcement" regarding Virgin Hotels (an opening announcement that is.) He says they have the resources and the concept which is somewhat under wraps but he did confirm it would be very much a translation of the airline experience. And remember, Virgin Hotels is very much an urban brand that will only open in cities.
You know that Virgin Group main man Richard Branson owns a British Virgin Island, right? That would be Necker Island, the diamond in the tiara of Branson's Virgin Limited Edition label, which includes several super private, super luxe properties. Now did you also know that Branson owns a ski lodge in Switzerland?
He does! It's called The Lodge and it's nestled in the snowy valleys of the Swiss Alps at Verbier. Usually you'd have to get your rich, ski-happy friends together to get in here, since The Lodge is only available for full rentalno individual rooms are sold hotel-style. That is, until now.
It looks like we may be making a trip out to New Jersey very soon. That's because billionaire fly guy himself Sir Richard Branson is opening a resort in New Jersey next week that will have a cooking and wine school on the premises. The New York Times reports:
The resort, located in Peapack-Gladstone in Somerset County, is called Natirar Y(the reverse of Raritan, the river that runs at the edge of the property). A restaurant, Ninety Acres, will be open to the public, along with a cooking school run by Viking, the kitchen appliance company, and a wine school. Natirar, which consists of 492 acres in total, was built as a private estate in 1912 and in 1983 it was bought by the king of Morocco to use as a summer residence. The Moroccan royal family sold it to Somerset County in 2003. All except the 90 acres that have been leased to Branson and his partner, Bob Wojtowicz, are used as parkland.
Hah, we love it. They took a dirty sounding word like Raritan and prettied it up to sound more exotic. Natirar. Maybe we should do that with all of New Jersey's town names. For instance, Nekoboh-Hoboken. Elliveryas-Sayreville (Jon Bon Jovi's hometown.) Timmus-Summit (our hometown.) Erohs Yesrej-Jersey Shore. Man, you could create a new epic journey through middle earth using backwards Jersey town names.
Someone over @ Virgin America knew what they were doing when they booked Boston's Liberty Hotel for Richard Branson's BOS route opening soiree last night.
Ok, ok, the old jail building's gorgeous atrium lobby is not exactly conducive to stellar ways of egress for the legendarily large posse Sir Richard tends to bring to a party, however, the historic Charles Street Jail turned Liberty Hotel possesses some of the coolest mixing of new and old that we have seen, and we have been around the hotel block.
Type: 16-story Tower Suite
Square Footage: ~750 square feet
Best Feature: 240 degree Panoramic Views of the Charles River -- all the way to the Citgo sign.
There's tons of hotel news flying around this week and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so you will have to settle for some news briefs.
· More Bob Marley Hotels?: Bob Marley's eldest daughter, Cedella, says her family is considering franchising the Bob Marley name to include beer, clothes and hotels. There's already a Bob Marley Hotel in Jamaica. [NME]
· Octomom's Hotel Stay: The controversial woman who gave birth to octuplets after getting in-vitro, although she already had six children, has apparently been staying in a hotel for the past week. Let's hope California taxpayers aren't footing the bill. [Radar]
· Hotels.com Lays Off Quality Assurance Workers: We are a little concerned about the recent layoffs at Hotels.com who let go about 150 IT workers and some quality assurance staffers. [Computer World]
· $99 Rooms at Gaylord Opryland: Room rates at this mega-hotel in Nashville have dropped to $99 a night for stays this month and in March.
· Where Richard Branson and Other Celebs Enter the Liberty Hotel: Through this "super secret" entrance. [HotelChatter Twitter]
There's some accommodation opening up in Queensland that most of us won't be able to visit--unless you're one of the 35,000 employees of Richard Branson's Virgin mega-empire.
After buying Makepeace Island about five years back, Branson and his co-owners have been lovingly getting it fixed up as a place for Virgin employees and their families and friends to vacation. They call it an "eco-tourism retreat" and the three villas will apparently house about 20 guests. There's a swimming pool and tennis court and it sounds like no expense was spared to make everything look good.
Makepeace Island, which is in the middle of the Noosa River, is nearly ready for visitors, according to recent reports, and we're wondering who we have to get friendly with at Virgin to score an invite to the big opening party. Suggestions, anyone?
[Photo: Michael Dawes]
Richar Branson billionaire mogul/hotelier has managed to take time away from his busy space-travel planning schedule to outline a plan for an eco-resort on Mosquito Island in the British Virgin Islands (of course.) The AP reports:
The plan calls for 20 villas and a beachfront restaurant. The resort would be powered by wind turbines and solar panels, while captured thermal flows would cool the buildings. Guests would eat food from an organic orchard, and they would have access to beach buggies that run on biofuels.
Branson's eco-friendly plans are being reviewed by the government but the word is they "seem to like" his ideas. More on the eco-resort can be found here.
Branson is in the midst of planning a bunch of "Urban" Virgin Hotels and he already has a few luxury resorts in his portfolio including Necker Island. Although the latter might not be as eco-friendly with its helicopter landing pad.
Two years later, we've got an UPDATE ON VIRGIN HOTELS here.
Last week, we wondered on Jaunted what Virgin Atlantic was announcing via an email to loyalty club members. We thought it might be something like in-flight massage chairs, but according to Marketing Week it's probably three new Virgin Hotels that we first heard of back in March.
Bossman Richard Branson, who already has a few luxe hotels under his belt, says the product will be sorta like Starwood's W Hotels:
Urban, townhouse-style properties, half way between a hotel and a private club.
Apparently other brands have approached his company for ideas, but Branson is ready to just start up some new hotels himself. Rumor has it that the first three properties will be in New York, London and LA.
We are suckers for a room with a killer view. We find that we are even more likely to forgive some minor hotel inconveniences if we can stare out the window at something pretty--yeah we are that shallow. Let's help out our fellow hotel mavens by uploading rooms with killer views to the HotelChatter/Flickr photo pool, or by sending the photo along to us. We will feature our favorites in this space from time to time. Remember to tell us the name of the hotel and the room number of the hot view.
Thanks to HotelChatter tipster srte for dropping this in our Flickr pool. It's from Richard Branson's Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco, and we're more than impressed with this magnificent view from the terrace of the hotel overlooking the pool, and a fantastic garden.
We fell in love with this hotel the first time we looked at it and views like this only make our craving to get there stronger. In a perfect world we'd be booking the Deluxe Suite (which includes a pool) but the Escape Package for that (a three night stay) costs 2,470 (US$3,800) a double, which sadly doesn't fit into our budget this month.
The cheapest option during low season is 320 (US$500) a night for the double, which is more within the realms of possibility.
If you've seen Casablanca, you've dreamt of nights spent at the kasbah, no? Rest assured there are plenty of riad and kasbah accommodations throughout Morocco; some remain empty and some like the Kasbah Tamadot have been turned into luxury retreats.
At the bidding of his mother, Sir Richard Branson bought this property as he began a round the world hot-air balloon excursion from Marrakech. He renovated the magical walled-in building and, in 2005, it became the latest addition to his Virgin Limited Edition portfolio.
Amidst the fairy-tale setting, you'll find 18 individually designed guest rooms, each one offering some sort of outside space, be it a balcony, terrace or private rooftop area, with magnificent views.
If the deal comes off, there'll be a shiny Virgin City Hotel sign on a 44-storey skyscraper on Aytoun Street, Piccadilly. The four-star hotel would only take over 23 floors of the building, and the rest would be taken up by whatever brings most profit to the Albany Crown developers - offices and shops mostly.
Virgin City Hotel is a baby brand and has not actually yet signed any deals with any hotels anywhere. But if it follows the Virgin style, we can imagine the hotel - fluffy bathrobes, hot-tubs, shiny glass-and-steel décor in the bar, dark red sofas and seats, and hopefully working Wi-Fi.
Ski Hotels / Luxury hotels / Switzerland Hotels / Celebrity Hotels / Richard Branson / Monica Guy / → All Tags
Celebs often rely on their name and reputation to get away with a third-rate film or a tuneless song.
But can they do the same with hotels?
Richard Branson's latest venture, opened in December 2007 after a $7,256,000 renovation, is the super-luxury ski chalet The Lodge in the elite resort of Verbier, Switzerland. You won't find many guests blogging their experiences, though, because with next year's prices set at anything between $83,000 and $140,000 a week for the nine-room chalet, guests aren't really in the blogging market.
So let's see what you get for your money....and see whether you think it's worth it.