Seeing Red: Virgin Hotels San Francisco Opens In Style

All photos courtesy of Virgin Hotels

San Francisco’s glitterati arrived wearing red on Thursday, May 23, to fete the grand opening of Virgin Hotels San Francisco, the latest from billionaire entertainment mogul and founder of Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson. The rollicking party was hosted by the man himself, who arrived clad in a retro red Beatles military jacket.

 “San Francisco holds a special place in my heart, and I am so thrilled to be here celebrating the opening of the beautiful Virgin Hotels San Francisco,” said Branson. “Raul Leal (CEO of Virgin Hotels) and his amazing team have created something truly special in this dynamic and vibrant city. And they sure know how to throw one hell of a party!”

With 12 stories rising above the city’s South of Market neighborhood, directly across the street from Yerba Buena Gardens, Virgin Hotel San Francisco officially opened for business earlier this spring with 192 rooms (called chambers) and two penthouse suites. Top to bottom, the hotel racks up style points, with a passion for food and beverage, music and culture, and socializing infused into every nook and cranny. From the plush purple velvet banquettes of the Shag Room (named for the carpeting) off the lobby to the red bedroom doors to the retro Smeg refrigerators in each room, Virgin Hotel San Francisco does what it does best in a sea of ordinary: stand out.

The hotel’s central gathering space and main restaurant, Commons Club, snagged executive chef Adrian Garcia, formerly of lauded SF restaurants Benu and Quince, to showcase a globally-inspired menu. The floor-to-ceiling windows, massive well-stocked bar and outlets beneath the leather banquettes make it easy for guests and locals to hang out, productively. Dinner and weekend brunch are served, but there’s also a generous daytime menu featuring a variety of bites, starting with a full-English and “Mimosa: a socially acceptable way to start partying at breakfast". You can also drop into the Funny Library Coffee Shopa partnership between Virgin and actor Hugh Jackman, for fair trade Laughing Man coffee.

The hotel’s pièce de résistance, however, is the 4000-square-foot indoor/outdoor rooftop restaurant bar, Everdene, named for Bathsheba Everdene, the heroine of Thomas Hardy’s novel, Far From the Madding Crowd. As one of just a handful of rooftop bars in San Francisco, it was already a hotspot in the cool grey city before the opening party when a DJ had its own maddening crowd dancing until the wee hours. Overlooking the San Francisco cityscape, Everdene is open to hotel guests and walk-ins (no reservations taken).

This stylish San Francisco outpost joins a constellation of other Virgin Hotels in Nashville, Dallas, New York, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Silicon Valley, Palm Springs, Edinburgh, Las Vegas, with others on the horizon.

Virgin Hotel San Francisco

250 4th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 534-6500

Hotel's opulent Commons Club. Courtesy of Virgin Hotels
Everdene is a rooftop oasis. Courtesy of Virgin Hotels.
The Shag Room. Courtesy of Virgin Hotels.
Sir Richard Branson greets party goers. Courtesy of Virgin Hotels.
Unique touches and signature red fill the hotel. Courtesy of Virgin Hotels.

Kimberley Lovato

Kimberley Lovato is a francophile and a champagne-loving freelance travel and lifestyle journalist whose work has been published by some of the country's top magazines and websites, including National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Private Clubs, Virtuoso Life, Delta Sky, Celebrated Living,, and many others. She received a Gold Medal from the Society of American Travel Writers for her c...(Read More)

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