Remember when you flew Virgin for the first time and found it exciting that you could order food and beverages from a personalized screen in front of you? Well, just like the Virgin brand raised the bar for the airline industry, it will soon do so for the hotel industry with the opening of the Virgin Hotels Chicago in January. And luckily for meeting planners, the Virgin Hotels concept was created with the meeting attendee in mind.
The hotel was converted from the former Old Dearborn Bank Building, built in 1928. While the outside still maintains its historic Art Deco architecture, the interior was designed for the modern traveler. Take the 250 guest rooms—or chambers, as Virgin calls them—for instance. Red residential-style doors greet guests before they enter the chamber, which is divided into two life-style focused rooms: a dressing room and a sleeping lounge. Privacy doors, ideal for the meeting attendee traveling with a significant other or child, separate the both areas. Plus, there’s a vanity with a large mirror and flattering lighting for those travelers that need a space to get ready.
Perhaps the best thing about the room, however, is the Lounge Bed. Virgin Hotels created a bed that could also be used as a workspace for those guests who want to relax while checking email on his or her phone or tablet. The Lounge Bed is engineered with an ergonomic headboard, which allows for attendees to reconfigure it into several seated positions. Best of all, the Virgin Mobile App allows guests to control room elements, such as the temperature, as well as chat with the concierge.
The meeting spaces are equally as accommodating. The hotel features 2,400 sf of dedicated event space as well as public areas for events. The Commons Club, for instance, is a multipurpose space that functions as a lounge, business center and a restaurant or bar. Attendees can also experience the hotel’s four other F&B concepts: Miss Ricky’s, a modern American diner experience; The Rooftop Bar, which will serve tapas when it opens in the spring; Two Zero three, a newsstand-style coffee bar that doubles as a wine bar at night; and room service.
The hotel’s catering and sales manager are also available to help curate creative breakout sessions for groups. Life-size Jenga, hallway bowling, ping pong and fitness video games are just a few ideas to help stir engagement outside of the meeting room.
Lastly, but certainly not least, there won’t be any surprise charges at checkout because the hotel has done away with fees. It doesn’t charge a fee for Wi-Fi, room service, mini bar stocking or late checkout, to name a few. Now, that’s exciting!