First images: Edinburgh will have a stylish new Virgin hotel in June
It’s an absurd understatement to say that the last two years have not been the right time to open new hotels. Not only are we still hearing rumors of another variant of Covid emerging from Europe and the UK, but we still don’t have the stats yet on how many people have simply taken the opportunity to completely ditch the travel — especially as Zoom has decisively pushed the in-person meeting closer to eventual extinction.
Yet Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels seemed particularly indifferent to all of this, fearlessly announcing and opening new hotel after new hotel. Indeed, Nashville debuted in 2020, New Orleans in 2021 – and New York, Miami and Vegas are all on track to arrive in the reasonably foreseeable future.
But before all that American expansion, Sir Richard will actually have a hotel with his brand premiering in his home, uh… Kingdom. To be sure, the new Virgin Hotels Edinburgh will open its stylish doors in June, at a location fairly equidistant from the Royal Mile, the Grassmarket and the beloved but rather spooky Greyfriars Kirk + Kirkyard.
The reason this is particularly cultural news in Scotland’s capital is that the city has been significantly short of the sort of socially-energizing hotels that London now has on virtually every other city block. (The Tigerlily’s lobby lounge still draws a crowd… but it’s no longer the stage it once was.) Most notably, the Virgin will boast an outpost of the brand’s signature magnet, The Commons Club, which will include meals here in intimate corners under spectacular conditions. vaulted brick ceilings or sip signature drinks in a strikingly designed wood-paneled bar area. The Scarlett Lounge, a haven of fiery red sensuality, will be for those looking for something a little more… electrifying.
Upstairs, the chic bedrooms are separated by a sliding door that separates The Dressing Room, where you wash, from the Lounge, where you temporarily live, work and finally count sheep. Soothing colors are punctuated by bright red telephones and minibars, with windows framing the majestic landscape of the surrounding Old Town.
In fact, the hotel itself is embedded in the Historic Buildings of India, dating back to 1864, giving it a distinct sense of architectural gravity.
Edinburgh, always an interesting weekend away from London, certainly has no shortage of great hotels. But the Virgin will surely bring new energy to its hotel scene, at a time when travelers will be looking to make up for two years of not having much fun.