Virgin Hotels New Orleans, the latest addition to Sir Richard Branson's expanding brand of lifestyle hotels, celebrated its official grand opening with much fanfare on Thursday evening.
St. Augustine High School's internationally acclaimed marching band, the 'Marching 100', provided the pomp and circumstance upon arriving from nearby Lafayette Square. Branson even donned a blue-and-gold drum major's uniform, took up a ceremonial baton and led the procession himself.
The lively marching parade concluded in front of Branson's brand-new, $80-million luxury hotel, located in New Orleans' Central Business District. There, Virgin Hotels Chief Executive Officer James Bermingham and Dave Pollin of the Buccini/Pollin Group (the company that owns the hotel) joined Branson in presenting St. Augustine's with a donation to aid with damages recently inflicted on the school by Hurricane Ida.
Branson took the opportunity to express his dedication and commitment to the Big Easy. "We're glad to be part of this community and embrace the incredible spirit of New Orleans," he said. "How wonderful it is to celebrate this beautiful new property and becoming part of the continued growth of one of the world's most magical cities."
The trio then presided over a ribbon-cutting ceremony before the hotel entrance, officially welcoming guests to come and experience the 238-room, Art Deco-inspired hotel. Music artists and performers-including Ivan Neville and DJs Boyfriend, Logic and Jodeci Juice-played for the first time in spaces throughout the property, from the ground-level Commons Club to the rooftop Pool Club and adjacent Dreamboat Social Club.
"Our excitement in opening Virgin Hotels New Orleans grows stronger each day that we get to witness the passion and pride New Orleanians feel for their hometown. The city's welcoming spirit, lively entertainment and incredible culinary experiences are all things we're excited to bring to life at our hotel," said Bermingham.
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