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It's that time of year again: the 2014 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...
The Virgin Hotel Chicago page was our most trafficked page of the year. This is crazy interesting because the Virgin Chicago hasn't even opened yet. But that just goes to show how much Virgin Hotels have been hyping their brand.
When the year started, we were no closer to learning more about Virgin Chicago, other than it would have 250 amount of rooms and a rooftop scene. In February, the hotel was planned to open in September. Um, nope.
Throughout the year, we did learn small tidbits, like the announcements of a general manager and the chef and his F&B concepts. We also got Raul Leal, CEO of Virgin Hotels, to tell us 6 things we didn't know yet about Virgin Hotels.
This was nice but without a rendering or a room shot, we couldn't get excited. Even when the hotel was making up rumors about itself over the summer, we were still very nonplussed.
Piece by piece, the layers are coming off the Virgin Hotels brand.
Last week, we learned that Virgin America's Elevate members would get certain perks at Virgin Hotels, which will open first in Chicago on January 15. Now we have the full details of Virgin Hotels own loyalty program, excuse us, preference program, called The Know.
Here's what to know about The Know. t's pretty simple.
Visit VirginHotels.com/the-know to fill out a short questionnaire. (You'll also have to submit your email if you haven't already signed up.) The questions asked include cheeky ones such as, "What do you really want to be called?" "Afraid of elevators?" "Do you have any allergies?" and "Special requests? Pet peeves? Ghost concerns?" You can also tell them your favorite drink, favorite snack, your "dream" minibar item and what should NEVER be found in your minibar.
Once you've enrolled, and stayed at a Virgin Hotel, you'll be eligible for perks such as:
Virgin Hotels / Hotel News / Loyalty Program News / Chicago Hotels / Hotel Openings / Virgin America / Hotel Loyalty Programs / → All Tags
As the opening day gets closer and closer for the very first Virgin Hotel, the brand's loyalty program is also getting closer to coming out.
We reported two months ago that a Virgin Hotels loyalty program would be "integrated into the airlines' current loyalty programs." Today, we know exactly how that will work.
Just last month, we heard that work would begin soon on the forthcoming Virgin Hotel New York. And now this Virgin is starting to show some skin. The rendering kind.
The 38-story hotel will go up at 30th and Broadway, smack dab in the middle of the oh-so-ho NoMad neighborhood. It will also be very close to the hotel that spurred the comeback of this random, in-between area--the Ace New York.
Now, is it just us or does this look like a USB flash drive plugged into the ground? #justus #butyoutotallyseeitright?
It's really happening! Gone is the wraparound red construction board at Chicago's eagerly anticipated hotel and in its place, a real live Virgin. Er, marquee.
That's right. Signage just went up at the Virgin Hotel Chicago and it is looking good. Of course, the entrance is predictably Virgin with its red sign lettering and the Virgin logo on the plaque next to the door, but still looking good. We're also chuckling at the cheeky window signage which says, "Is the plural of cheese, cheese or cheeses? Either way I could use a glass of wine." So could we. And some cheeses while we're at it.
Additionally, signage went up for Miss Ricky's All American Diner at the hotel, and a special VIP with some giant red lips stopped by to admire it. Lovely. And slightly scary.
Rates for the hotel, which opens on January 15 start at $219 a night for a Chamber King room.
Congrats to Virgin. Now just make sure the T, E, and L are always lit up. Otherwise, you'll have a real oxymoron on your hands there.
[Photo: Virgin Hotel]
The Real Deal Blog reports that developer, The LAM Group, filed permits yesterday for the Virgin Hotel in the hot-to-trot NoMad neighborhood at 1225 Broadway between 29th and 30th streets. That lot will be demolished and a 38-story hotel with 447 hotel rooms will be built with duplexes on the 34th and 35th floors.
Downstairs will have 100,000-sq.ft. of retail space. Upstairs it looks like there will be a rooftop lounge and possibly a pool. The architect for the project is listed as Brian McFarland of VOA Architecture, the company behind plenty of hospitality projects, including the remodel of The Tides in Miami Beach.
Once again, Virgin Hotels is
harassing driving by other hotels in town, flaunting what they got. This time, it's free WiFi which will be available for every guest at the Virgin Hotel Chicago when it opens in January.
Virgin took the streets of Chicago in a branded van the other night and parked at the intersection of Wells and Adams St., which is conveniently near both the JW Marrioott and the W City Center hotels, two hotels that charge for WiFi in the guest rooms. (Although, internet access is available in the lobby for free.)
But not only did Virgin be like, "Look what we have that they don't have!", they also offered free high-speed WiFi from the van so passerbys could experience the Virgin WiFi network.
Virgin will also not charge for early departure fees, room service delivery fees, minibar stocking fees, and business center fees so expect this van to come back around. again.
[Photo: Virgin Hotels]
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We now know you can FINALLY book a room at The Virgin Hotel Chicago on January 15, starting at $209 for a Chamber king room. We also know that you'll get a room with a sliding partition, an ergonomic bed, an oversized vanity, minibar snacks at normal prices and free WiFi.
Outside of your kinky room, there will be five restaurants and lounges for you to socialize in because ain't nobody leaving the hotel when it's freezing outside.
The good news is there will definitely be one. But the bad news is we have to wait a little longer for the details. A Virgin Hotels spokesperson has told us that the loyalty program will be coming out much sooner that initially reported (well before the first Virgin Hotel opens) and it will be integrated into the airlines' current loyalty programs. Whee!
So while the ins and outs of the Virgin Hotels loyalty program are still under wraps, we bet if you have status on either Virign America or Virgin Atlantic, you will see probably some status perks at Virgin Hotels.
[Photo: Rayme Gorniak for HotelChatter]
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Earlier tonight, Virgin Hotels, at long last, unveiled their new website with actual information, not just rumors, about their hotels. Even better, reservations are now open for the Virgin Chicago starting on January 15. Rates for a “Chamber King” start at $209 a night.
We're still undressing the Virgin Hotels site but here are the pertinent details. Before we go any further, we strongly suggest you watch the video above to get a clear sense of what the hotel has to offer and how they plan on doing it.
Virgin Hotels have put an end to the rumors they willingly helped others spread about themselves, but there's still a while to go before the hotel actually opens to the public. Yet if you continue to be good little boys and girls, you should be able to sleep with a Virgin by Christmas.
The unofficial opening date for the Virgin Hotel Chicago is now December. And boy, do we hope Santa Branson and his elves can pull this off. Work is still obviously underway at the hotel and we've yet to see an actual website for the property. But they do have a general manager and a chef on board.
So we hope the rest is just a matter of making lists, checking them twice, finding out what's naughty and nice, and then, finally, crossing them off.
[Photo: Virgin Hotels/Facebook]
Looks like starting crazy rumors about themselves wasn't enough.
Virgin Hotels are now printing those rumors--on doormats--and dropping them off at other competing hotels in Chicago. Here are a couple of snapshots of the upcoming hotel's cheeky brand awareness campaign.
We've actually seen this sort of campaign before when CitizenM parked a stretch limo plastered with ads for their new Times Square hotel in front of luxury hotels. We like the doormat idea better but would it have hurt you, Virgin, to put an opening date on the doormat? #canthardlywaitanylonger
[Photos via Virgin Hotels]
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At long last, Virgin Hotels are getting ready to strip down for guests.
Since 2011, we've been
not so patiently awaiting the opening of the Virgin Hotel Chicago, which will be the first hotel for the brand. Making the wait more frustrating, aside from the repeated opening delays, is that we're still rather in the dark about what the Virgin Hotel concept is about.
We did learn 6 important things about the Virgin brand this past spring and about their 6 F&B concepts in Chicago, but largely, we've just been speculating as to what will be inside the Virgin Hotel. In true tease fashion, Virgin wants us to keep guessing.
Today, Sir Richard Branson himself is spreading rumors about the Virgin Hotel and wants you to spread some of your own too.
The Branson-sanctioned rumor-mongering is all part of a gimmick to drum up attention for the Virgin Chicago property as well as give fans an opportunity to win a two-night stay at the hotel. Here's how it works:
Branson has shared some Virgin rumors here in this video including one that says he personally tucks in every guest at night and that the hairdryers have a "beard setting."
You can submit your own Virgin rumors over the next five weeks by tweeting here on the Virgin Hotels website. Be sure to hashtag this entry with #virginrumors. Whoever submits the best rumor will be win the two night stay at Virgin Hotels, plus airfare and transport to the hotel's opening party. A rep for Virgin also cryptically said the "rumors will play out on the streets of Chicago this week" so we'll be sure to report on that as we see them.
Alas, there's no hint as to when the actual hotel opening will be but if the contest is running for five weeks, then we know the hotel won't be open before then. Ooo, did we just come up with our own entry for #virginrumors? Indeed we have.