Virgin opens 1st hotel in world in Chicago

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Virgin Hotels has opened the doors to its first property, Virgin Hotels Chicago.

The hotel offers free Wi-Fi at unlimited bandwidth and lacks early check-in fees, late check-out fees, room service delivery charges, business center transactions, and other fees associated with many hotels.

"Chicago is an exhilarating and historic city, and a place we're happy to call home for the first-ever Virgin Hotel," said Raul Leal, CEO of Virgin Hotels. "We hope our fans recognize the subtle yet authentic Chicago touches throughout the hotel."

Click here to watch Sir Richard Branson's announcement

Virgin Hotels Chicago is located in the Loop in the historic Old Dearborn Bank Building at 203 N. Wabash Ave. The 26-story art deco building, a Chicago landmark, offers 250 guest rooms, including 40 one-bedroom suites and two penthouse suites.

Several of the building's original features remain intact and are showcased throughout, like a 1920s oak cigar bar that serves as the hotel's front desk, brass elevator doors, and the original mail slot and chute serving all floors.

At the heart of Virgin Hotels Chicago is The Commons Club, a space where guests can dine, drink, work and mingle, and attend nightly social hour. Virgin says the vibe is one of a private members club, without the fees, where guests and locals alike are welcome. The two-story space it occupies was the original bank floor with a coffered plaster ceiling.

The hotel will have four additional dining options, including Miss Ricky's, a 23-hour, American diner and a rooftop bar and lounge, all opening between February and April of this year.

Virgin Hotels Chicago also has three modular event spaces on the third floor.

All guest rooms are divided into two spaces by sliding doors, complete with a peephole. The dressing room includes a full vanity, make-up desk and mirror, an extra-large shower with a bench, and his and hers closets. Slide open the privacy door and guests will enter the lounge with a red mini-fridge, LG Smart TV, custom designed table that swivels and a Poltrona Frau task chair. Tired of searching for an outlet, guests can look no further than their bedside to find ample outlets for their smartphone, computer or other electronic devices, Virgin said.

Virgin Hotels has plans to open a second location in Nashville in the summer of 2016 and a third property in New York City in the fall of 2017. Virgin hopes to announce two more locations by the end of 2016, with the brand hoping to have 20 locations by 2025.

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