Virgin Hotels update: Richard Branson's first hotel reveals new pioneering details
(Hint: Doing away with everything we dislike about hotels)
Virgin Hotels is setting out to fix everything that can be deemed wrong with the hotel industry. The first Virgin Hotel has launched in Chicago, occupying an old Dearborn Bank building that left designers with a wealth of original features to play with (which they did wonderfully).
Determined to right the enduring wrongs committed by so many hotels, of charging caviar prices for Kit-Kats in in-room mini-bars, the managers are adamant that they will only charge street value. So committed were they to this mission, that they set out with a note pad a pen to check the going prices for sodas chocolates and nuts in everyday stores, and that is what guests will pay.
Another wonderful touch is the availability of open Wifi, saving weary travellers from logging onto hotel systems on fiddly sign-in sites, or buying bundle packages for connectivity during their stay. "Bandwidth is a right, not a revenue stream," the hotel's website boasts.
The hotel's decor is not the nightclub neon vibe you might imagine, if you've ever flown on Virgin upper class, but a refined blend of the building's classic heritage and chic modern flair. On the ground floor you can still see where the bank tellers used to sit, and the current check-in desk is the bank's original cigar bar and candy stand.