VENUE ENVY: VIRGIN HOTEL CHICAGO
Virgin Hotels opened its first property last month in the heart of the Loop, a culmination of a long-running renovation of a Chicago landmark. The 26-story Virgin Hotels Chicago consists of 250 guests rooms, starting at $209 a night, including 40 single-room suites and two penthouse suites. Located at 203 N. Wabash Ave., the hotel occupies what was the Old Dearborn Bank Building.
Arguably every hotel tries to make guests feel special and at home, but the new Virgin model walks the walk. WiFi is included—download all the movies you want, just as if you were on your sofa at home. Minibar’s come stocked but at authentic prices (charging what you’d pay for a coke as if you were shopping at home), and rooms (or chambers as Virgin likes to call them) come furnished with a patent-pending lounging bed, making them most likely better than what you have at home.
The hotel’s Commons Club is another unique Virgin concept, open to guests and locals, it’s meant to be many things all at once. It’s a place to put away your device and mingle, enjoy a good read, or grab a bite. Virgin Hotels calls it a “dynamic hybrid of bar/lounge, laid-back study and restaurant – all with the vibe of a private members club.” The space promises to be intriguing with a restored ceiling (circa 1928), bar, lounge, library and TV room.
Miss Ricky’s is a classic American diner (opening in March) on the first floor. The vibe aims to be hip, yet “gritty” serving breakfast anytime along with snacks and grilled entrees. Two Zero Three is the hotel’s coffee and wine bar, and Rooftop, an indoor/outdoor space with Chicago city views, cocktails, and Izakaya-inspired dishes. Virgin Hotel Chicago offers several spaces to rent for functions such as meetings, weddings and private parties. The Manor is an ideal space for a meeting of the minds or a large social gathering for 120 people. The Sandbox is a brilliantly intimate space for meeting with colleagues or socializing among peers which seats 75 people. The founders Room is perfect for a collaborative meeting or elegant dinner around a cherished oak table for 12 people.