Sir Richard Branson came to Chicago in a big way and Virgin Hotels Chicago is another delightful reminder of his golden touch. (Quick note: he also appears in the introduction on the TV in each room, so he does make an “appearance” to each guest, in a matter of speaking.) In the past few years, the debut hotel brand has garnered buzz from a variety of outlets. It makes a perfect place to camp out for a brief trip to check out all that Chicago has to offer.
Old Masters in the Lobby, Music on the 25th Floor
Virgin Hotels Chicago occupies the former Old Dearborn Bank Building, which has a prominent place at the northeast corner of Wabash and Lake in the Loop.
As part of the building’s significant renovation program, the ornate plaster ceiling and sliding brass gate in the Commons Club was restored, along with the original lobby desk. Of course, you’ll want to peek above the lobby desk for some modern interpretations of some Old Master paintings. A fabulous design touch, indeed.
The hotel has a vast range of amenities, including an excellent Social Hour in their bar (just show your room key for drinks between 7 and 8 p.m. each evening during your stay), a Tesla Model S house car available for short lifts, and their live music venue, Upstairs, which is located on the 25th floor, surprise, surprise.
Chambers: Two Rooms in One
As for rooms? Well, you’re in luck. Each of their fine chambers includes a dressing room and a lounge, which are separated by a sliding door. Their patented loan bed has a lovely headboard and a corner foot-board that can also be used as an additional seat for, well, additional visitors. You’ll also find stylish closets and a separate make-up desk for preparing for an evening out. My favorite feature is the custom lights, which come on as you get up to maneuver around in the night. Such illumination can be most helpful, let me tell you.
It’s worth a mention that the rooms each also have complimentary WiFi, 24-hour room service, a yoga mat, the delightful scents of Red Flower spa products, and dog-friendly chambers. If you do end up spending much time in the room, you certainly won’t be disappointed.
Amidst all this merry-making, you might find time to check out Miss Ricky’s on the first floor of the hotel. This lovely lady happens to be the upscale Chicago-style diner that serves up all three meals each and every day to guests and other folks who might happen to catch a pleasant aroma from the sidewalk.
Breakfast options include some au courant favorites, including the Greek & Granola parfait and their avocado toast, which is covered with zucchini, feta, arugula and a fried egg. You can look over their entire menu and you’ll want to keep tabs on their “Red Door Specials," which include familiar faves such as meatloaf, fried chicken and a fish fry on Friday, naturally.
Virgin Hotels Chicago is a great place to spend a few nights, and dine and drink (don't miss the Cerise rooftop) — all while exploring all that Chicago has to offer. After one stay, you'll probably be coming back again soon!