As the culmination of all things hip, the ever-stylish Sir Richard Branson has his sights set on a new venture: luxury hotels. Branson plans to open New York Cityís first Virgin Hotel in the NoMad neighborhood in 2016. With his Midas touch he is anticipated to open more hotels in the nationís hottest cities like Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Dallas, Miami, San Francisco and London.
Virgin Hotels has partnered with entrepreneur Alberto Beeck, as well as hospitality and real estate investor Diego Lowenstein. In the next three years, the group aims to acquire up to $500M in properties. For over 25 years, the Virgin symbol has meant unforgettable experiences with a range of products from airlines to mobile devices and fitness clubs. This new endeavor, which has been creatively summed up by their slogan "Fancy getting into bed with Virgin?," is one that will take its patrons from pre-arrival to check-out and back home in style.
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Managed by The Lam Group, the highly anticipated NYC property is expected to hold 300 guestrooms, meeting spaces and multiple dining venues in the former Old Dearborn Bank Building. Included in the 136,000-square-foot project will be the construction of pools and a block of high-end retail space. The four-star property will offer free WiFi, a luxury among Manhattan hotels.
"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," Virgin Hotels CEO Raul Leal said. "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."
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This isnít the first time the CEO and founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Records, V2, and Virgin Mobile has entered into the hospitality world. His own private island (no big deal), Necker Island, is home to his exclusive resort in Virgin Gouda. Despite the 2011 fire and continuing rebuild of the main house, the entire island still functions as a resort and accommodates up to 28 guests. Necker Island is part of the Virgin Limited Edition collection of retreats which offers exclusive experiences in some of the worldís most exotic locations.
The new hotels, however, will be more accessible to the public for quick getaways, business travel, or staycations. Prior to Virginís New York hotel, their Chicago location is set to open in 2014 and is currently under construction. The NYC location will take up residence next to the Ace Hotel, the NoMad Hotel and the Tommie Hotel.