Virgin Hotels Makes Its European Debut in Edinburgh, Scotland
In addition to the 12th-century Edinburgh castle and the three-week performing-arts extravaganza that is Festival Fringe, the Scottish capital now also boasts another major draw: the newly opened outpost of Virgin Hotels, the brand’s first in Europe and seventh overall. (Sign of a recent expansion, three more are in development for nearby Glasgow as well as Miami and Denver.) Situated in the heart of Old Town and located within the 19th-century complex of India Buildings connected to Greyfriars Hall, all UNESCO World Heritage sites, this 222-key property portrays a mash-up of Victoriana and the contemporary tropes expected of Sir Richard Branson’s 2010–launched brand. Developed by real-estate investment company Flemyn, the hotel is a collaboration between ICA Architects and Four-By-Two, with the latter’s design director, Karen Maxwell, taking charge of interiors. (Furniture in the restaurant and the rooftop terrace, meanwhile, are by Joelle Interiors.)
Standouts abound, starting with the main entry sequence featuring vaulted ceilings, a grand staircase, and a domed rotunda. Amenities include Greyfriars, an erstwhile medieval church newly transformed into an events space; the red-on-red Scarlet Lounge; and the Commons Club lounge and restaurant, a Virgin standard, with an exquisitely crafted millwork bar. Stellar art is a unifier. Note the commissioned painting by Alan Macdonald hanging over the bar’s mantle and Arthur Mamou-Mani’s 10-foot-wide, 3D-printed chandelier illuminating a former nave. Curated works feature prominently in the calm and composed guest rooms, too, kitted out with custom timber paneling and Moroccan rugs woven by women’s cooperatives in the Atlas Mountains.
Inside Virgin Hotels in Edinburgh Designed by ICA Architects and Four-By-Two
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