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Hotel News / Kenya Hotels / Virgin Hotels / Virgin Limited Edition / Richard Branson / Luxury Hotels / → All Tags
Just as the Great House on Necker Island is open again for business, is Richard Branson expanding his exclusive Virgin Limited Edition collection of billionaire-worthy escapes and toys (Necker Nymph anyone?). The place is called Mahala Mzuri, in the Maasai Mara region of southern Kenya, a name that means ‘beautiful place’ in Swahili.
The traditional Maasai ceremony to celebrate the opening took place at the end of last month, and Branson participated as recognised Maasai Elder, which he became six years ago. Who knew?
UPDATE Nov. 5, 2013: The hotel is now opening next Summer, not Spring as initially planned/hoped by everyone eager to sleep with this Virgin.
A while back we were stoked to find out that the Virgin Chicago, due to open next
spring summer, would have not just a rooftop bar but also a Virgin Clubhouse. Granted, we weren't exactly sure what would be in the Clubhouse, but if it was anything similar to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses found at airports around the world, we knew it had to be something cool.
But now the clubhouse may not even happen.
The hotel's developer, Lionstone, has pulled the information referencing the Clubhouse from their website. Boo. But fortunately, the rooftop bar and lounge remains. (They also pulled this rendering of the hotel's entrance which a Virgin rep told us was not accurate at all.)
One of our operatives skipped by the hotel the other month but the Virge was pretty well-covered up. Such a modest Virgin! But still, we hope it won't be much longer before we get some real news out of this joint.
Hotel Developments / Lam Group Hotels / Le Meridien Hotels / Virgin Hotels / Aloft Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / → All Tags
When we recently attended the grand opening of Hotel Indigo Brooklyn we nodded our heads when someone made the cheeky comment that Duffield Street (home also to the Sheraton Brooklyn and the Aloft Brooklyn) should be renamed Lam Street. They had a point, but the Lam Group's development vision can not be confined to one Brooklyn street. Oh no, they are all over the city, with two Aloft hotels under construction (in the Financial District and in Long Island City); a Four Points in the Financial District, and a five-block patch of Midtown Manhattan that will soon see a Virgin Hotel , the next door Le Meridien Midtown Manhattan and something only known as the Chelsea Full Service Hotel Project at 112 West 25th Street.
The Virgin Chicago gets photobombed by Trump Chicago
We'd be lying if we said we're not excited about any news that comes out of the Virgin Hotel camp and since our last stroll by the Chicago property, we're even more excited about seeing some hard-core construction going on.
There's already a lot of action going on in this particular Chicago 'hood with a few handfuls of hotels, a city college, and plenty of office space surrounding the Loop building. But with concrete barricades and construction workers cleaning up the Virgin building's vintage detail, this is the action we're most excited about.
We also spied Virgin-red tape securing every window as wells as a red fence and a giant red tarp at the top of the building. Alas, the scaffolding is a boring beige color.
The Virgin Hotel Chicago won't open until next year with NYC to follow in 2016 but we've already known that Richard Branson's hip hotel brand wants to be in all the right places.
Earlier this year, Virgin Hotels announced they want to open in "Dallas, LA, London and beyond". But now it looks like they are getting closer to opening in Miami.
The Miami Herald reports that Virgin Hotels opened an office in Coconut Grove last month with about 10 employees. Currently, five employees work out of the New York office. According to Virgin Hotels CEO Raul Leal, having an office in Miami gives them access to South Florida but also the Caribbean, Latin America and Europe. And of course, it makes it easier to do the scouting for their Miami hotels. That's right, Leal said Virgin is planning two Miami hotels--one in Miami Beach and one in the hot new downtown area of Brickell. Leal even went so far as mentioning Fort Lauderdale. Caliente!
We will soon be drinking way up there.
When we first heard there would be a Virgin Hotel opening in Chicago, we speculated about it having a rooftop pool. Well, that won't be happening but what will be happening is a rooftop bar and lounge.
We found this exciting bit of info on the website for Lionstone Development, the developers behind the hotel. We also got a look at a rendering for the entrance, although you should know that renderings don't always look like the finished product. Still we're digging those Virgin logos next to the front doors, not to mention what looks like an outside dining spot. (Update: Virgin Hotels said the rendering is not accurate and it will be removed from the Lionstone website.)
But most intriguing are the plans for a Virgin Clubhouse.
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."
On the heels of our 2013 Hotel WiFi Report, we've got some very good news from the upcoming Virgin Hotels. The hip four-star hotels from Sir Richard Branson's Virgin company will be offering not just free WiFi in their hotels but "secure, reliable and fast" WiFi. Glorious!
Here's what Doug Carrillo, Virgin Hotels VP Sales and Marketing told us:
Virgin attracts travelers who like to mix business with pleasure, whether they are checking their inbox during a getaway or checking out new restaurants and local entertainment inbetween business. Like our sister Virgin companies, we at Virgin Hotels will offer guests a distinct and better experience at a great value and product innovations that aren’t bells and whistles but that will result in a productive and enjoyable stay. We already love our guests so much that we plan to give them all the tech amenities they need -- starting with wifi that is secure, reliable, fast, and free.
The other month we got the jitters when we heard on-the-street rumors that the first-ever Virgin Hotel in Chicago might not happen.
Yet before we dropped to our knees, hands on our face, asking "Why, why?", Virgin assured us that Chicago would happen by early 2014 and that it would in fact be the first Virgin hotel to open (we had also heard Chicago might not be the virgin Virgin hotel.)
Virgin Hotels CEO Raul Leal evenmentioned in an interview with Hotel News Now that Virgin Hotels had some pretty grand expansion plans, rattling off places like California, Spain and London. Today, we now know exactly where Virgin is looking.
In the bottom line of a recent Virgin Hotels sales and marketing hire release they included this bit:
Virgin Hotels Chicago is currently under construction and scheduled to open in the spring of 2014. Additional locations under consideration for Virgin Hotels properties include Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Palm Springs, San Francisco, Washington DC, London, and others.
Not totally surprising locations (especially not Los Angeles which we've written about before) but still exciting to hear and to think about.
However, the next bit of news from Virgin Hotels better be about what the hotel brand will actually look like and what it will include. So far, we know absolutely nothing about it. We're guessing there's gonna be mood lighting of some sort and free WiFi but we're gonna need something more to maintain this, erec, er, excitement.
Downtown LA Hotels / LA Hotels / Hotel Hype / Virgin Hotels / King and Grove Hotels / Ace Hotels / Renaissance Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
It's been a longtime coming but it looks like Downtown Los Angeles is about to get the hotel renaissance it so desperately needs. With the exception of the awful tragedy last month, the chatter about the downtown LA hotel scene has us tremendously excited. Here are updates on the hotels we look forward to seeing:
ACE HOTEL DOWNTOWN LA: So far things are still very much a go for the Ace Hotel and its website promises a 2013 opening. Yay! We can't wait to see what they do with the landmarked United Artists building, a former movie theater built in 1927. We're guessing the vibe will be film noir heavy but don't forget, this Ace will also have a pool.
Among Chicago’s — and possibly the world's — most eagerly anticipated hotel openings is Richard Branson’s first ever Virgin Hotel, originally slated for Chicago. But rumors are swirling that it’s not going to happen. We cringe and die a little inside whenever we hear it, but more than anything, we're just anxious to get to the bottom of things.
In 2011, Branson first announced plans to open the hotel in a 27-story Art Deco gem, the Old Dearborn Bank building located in Chicago’s Loop. Construction was set to begin in May 2012 with a tentative opening date of fall 2013.
Well, that got pushed to a more ambiguous late 2013/early 2014 opening. And then, just yesterday, Virgin CEO Raul Leal confirmed an early 2014 opening with Hotel News Now. So what exactly is the deal with this place?
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Well, now the world is saved! Okay, we’re being facetious, of course: It’s a noble thing to take a stand and do some good for the planet and, after all, we all need to do our part.
But we do have to ask: Just how much bottled water are they consuming over there on Necker Island? There are only six houses (aka rooms) holding a maximum of 28 guests. And at a cool $29,000 (single or double) for a seven-night stay during “Celebration Weeks” (the only time you can book individual rooms; otherwise it’s the whole island or nothing for $42,500 per night.
Is his British Virgin Island's nirvana really fully booked all the time to need to make a big deal of letting us know Sir Richard is trying to get green while collecting that green? Forgive us if we smirk just a tad.