PHOTO: Virgin Hotels Chicago 'Chamber' (PRNewsFoto/Rockwell Group Europe)
Think you've seen the new Virgin Hotels Chicago?
Well, you ain't seen nothing yet.
The first property of Virgin Hotels, the lifestyle hotel brand courtesy of Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Hotels Chicago has already introduced 250 guest rooms known as Chambers (including 38 one-bedroom suites), as well as The Commons Club (described as "the social epicenter" of the hotel) and a wealth of guest-friendly and mobile-friendly features such as free Wi-Fi with no bandwidth restrictions, the elimination of add-ons, room amenities designed for the female business traveler and the Lucy app, a mobile concierge.
But that was just Phase One.
Virgin Hotels Chicago is now working with Rockwell Group Europe on Phase Two, which will open in stages between mid-February and mid-April.
Included in the second phase: Miss Ricky's, a hip street-level diner; Two Zero Three, an old-fashioned coffee and wine bar; two penthouse suites; and The Spa, which aims to provide an environment for relaxation and mingling.
"Bringing to life the Virgin Hotel brand has been a fluid, collaborative process," said Raul Leal, CEO of Virgin Hotels, via a press release. "While we came to the project with a specific notion of hospitality that builds on Virgin's innovative and playful spirit, Rockwell Group Europe helped us design a unique guest experience focused on customization and efficiency."
"Design is critical," Branson has said about the hotel's many features. "There's just a feeling you get when you walk into a Virgin property. Design is what sets it apart."
According to the Virgin Hotels website, Miss Ricky's is a "modern American diner experience" that serves comfort food, including items such as The Sir Ricky Burger, Great Lakes Reuben, The Biggie Grilled Cheese, and Chicken Pot Pie. Miss Ricky's will even have its own gourmet doughnut called The Tupelo King, which will be stuffed with peanut marshmallow, roasted bananas and honey-glazed bacon.
Two Zero Three will transform from a "newsstand inspired" coffee bar into a wine bar serving a light menu of cheese and chartcuterie.
The Spa will essentially be a wellness lounge that breaks from the traditional spa experience and encourages casual mingling similar to the atmosphere of a dinner party or gathering.
The Commons Clubs is already causing some commotion. The 11,000-square-foot spread is divided into four zones, each with its own vibe. There's The Commons Bar, which includes a coffered plaster ceiling. There's The Shag Room, where small parties can convene in a semi-private or private setting. There's The Funny Library, which offers a curated collection of comedic books, vintage toys and art from local antique stores. And there's The Kitchen, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner from an open-air kitchen as guests mingle at the bar, communal tables and booths.
On top of that, talks on innovation, entrepreneurship, entertainment and more are hosted throughout the zones every week, completely free for guests.
Virgin Hotels Chicago is also raising eyebrows for its restorative work of the Old Dearborn Bank building, a 26-story Art Deco landmark that it now occupies. Features include a 1920s-style Cigar Bar that serves as the hotel's front desk and elaborate brass elevator doors.
"The Old Dearborn Bank building adds a lot of historic Chicago character to the hotel and allowed us to work with wonderful original details while bringing in contemporary design elements to underscore Virgin Hotels' vibrant identity," said Diego Gronda, managing and creative director, Rockwell Group Europe.
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