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What's the Virgin Hotels difference?

There's no doubt that when Sir Richard Branson chooses to enter a new sector of travel, he does so with plans to completely shake things up.

There’s no doubt that when Sir Richard Branson chooses to enter a new sector of travel, he does so with plans to completely shake things up.


And it’s no different with his new hotel operations, Virgin Hotels.

The hotel group will make its debut this week with the opening of the first property in Chicago.

Although the entrepreneur has remained tight-lipped about what guests can expect in rooms or Chambers (as Virgin likes to call them), Branson has revealed minor but vital details on what sets his first hotel apart from others.

Here’s the Virgin Hotels difference that we know of so far:


Free Wifi

Free Wifi Virgin

You read right. Virgin Hotels has removed pesky add-on fees on everything from wifi to room service, Forbes.com reported.

The group’s chief executive, Raul Leal said that last year the industry made up to $2 billion in add-on fees. This came from services such as wifi, early check-in, luggage storage and more.

Mr Leal believes travellers are being ‘ripped off’ for services ‘that should be a right, not a revenue stream.’

“Virgin Hotels plans to be that customer champion the industry needs.”

Raul Leal, Virgin Hotels chief executive

Wifi is included in the booking, and allows guests to download all the movies they want.


Authentic mini-bar prices


Forget the overpriced mini-bar, Virgin Hotels’ minibars will charge ‘authentic prices’ for snacks and alcohol.

That means, guests will pay for a chocolate bar or soft drink as if they were shopping at a local grocery store.


Mobile service and controls

Virgin Hotels 2

You know when you’re resting in your Chambers and you just can’t be bothered moving to turn down the air conditioning or order room service?

Yeah, well Virgin Hotels is accommodating to us lazier travellers with a new mobile service that allows guests to use their mobile phones to order room service, request early or late checkout, make a dining or spa reservation and even adjust the temperature in the room.


In the Chambers

Virgin Hotels

Gone are the days of fighting for a spot in front of the single-person mirror while getting ready for a big night out.

Virgin Hotels has added spacious makeup tables inside its Chambers where ladies and gentlemen will have plenty of room for the beautifuication process.

Rooms also have beds with adjustable settings, allowing guests to sit upright.

And in-room electrical plugs have been placed in convenient locations above night stands and tables.


Dining and socialising

A unique concept is the hotel’s ‘Commons Club’, which is open to guests and locals.

It’s not only a place to mingle, but also a spot where guests can escape for a quick meal or read a book.

The Chicago property will also have a classic American diner ‘Miss Ricky’s’ scheduled to open in March.

According to Forbes, the restaurant will have a hip and ‘gritty’ vibe and will have an all-day breakfast menu plus snacks and grilled entrees.

For more information check out the video below:

What do you think of Virgin’s first hotel so far?