The Virgin brand made history this week with the opening of its first hotel, Virgin Hotels Chicago. The hotel features a two-chamber layout with guest rooms divided into two spaces — a dressing room and a lounge — separated by a sliding door. Featured amenities in the chamber include a full vanity, an extra large shower with a bench, his and hers closets, a mini fridge, an LG Smart TV, ample outlets near the bed for electronic devices, and Virgin Hotels’ patent-pending, ergonomically designed bed.
“It’s been a long held dream to start beautiful, comfortable, fun hotels for guests and give them what they want and need while being gentle on their wallets,” said Richard Branson, founder, Virgin Group. “I’m tremendously proud of the brilliant Virgin Hotels team, and I look forward to hosting our fans and spending more time in Chicago.”
Since the brand’s inception, eliminating fees and surcharges have been top priority, along with creating an experience that allows guests to feel that Virgin Hotels is their place in the city. The hotel brand offers free WiFi (at unlimited bandwidth) and has eliminated early check-in fees, late check-out fees, room service delivery charges, business center transactions and other services often cited as annoying by business travelers.
Virgin Hotels Chicago is located in the heart of Chicago’s Loop district in the historic Old Dearborn Bank Building at 203 N. Wabash Ave. The 26-story Art Deco building, a Chicago landmark, offers 250 guestrooms, including 40 one-bedroom suites and two penthouse suites.
The UNESCO World Heritage neighborhood of Balat rivals İstanbul’s Old City for its historic significance, with an added splash of color. Its cobbled hilly streets boast a full rainbow of houses, cafés, restaurants and churches painted in pinks, reds, oranges, yellows, greens and blues — parts even surpassing my native San Francisco’s steep, colorful corridors. The most vibrant stretch of homes, dating anywhere from 50 to 200 years old, runs along Kiremit Caddesi.
Global business travel is making its way back, even as the pandemic and other world events continue to challenge its return. In a recent poll from the Global Business Travel Association, more than four in five respondents (86 percent) from across the industry said they feel more optimistic than they did at the beginning of the year. Business travel bookings, the need to travel to do business and employee willingness to travel are all on the rise.
It is amazing to be marking the 19th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards with our December issue. We look forward to hosting a gala evening at The Ritz-Carlton LA Live in Los Angeles on Dec. 6 to present the best the industry has to offer, all selected by you.
United Airlines remains firmly committed toward sustainability in aviation. The latest development in its eco-conscious goals includes working with Oxy Low Carbon Ventures to commercialize the production of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) with biotech firm Cemvita Factory. Cemvita looks to develop a revolutionary new way to produce SAF by using carbon dioxide and synthetic microbes. Additionally, United Airlines Ventures (UAV) recently announced an equity investment in Fulcrum, and United has invested more in SAF production than any other airline in the world.
Palm Springs became a destination of legend when Hollywood’s biggest and brightest during cinema’s “Golden Age” turned the desert community into their glamourous backyard. While restaurants and hotels epitomizing definitive Palm Springs luxury open, adapt and change with the times, it says something that one of its hottest restaurants sets up an outpost back in Los Angeles. And that’s exactly what chef Michael Beckman and restaurateur Joe Mourani did on the southern tip of the always-evolving Fairfax District.
Resort guests have never liked them, and now the White House and President Joe Biden plan to target them: resort fees. Whether it’s adding them on to resort amenities, like WiFi or access to the hotel gym, resort fees exist and frustrate many.
Copa Airlines is celebrating its 75th anniversary by showcasing a Boeing 737-800 NG in an aircraft livery that harkened back to the airline’s look in the 1990s. During that time, Copa Airlines launched an expansion of their network to become the Hub of the Americas®, changing the way to travel to and connect in our Continent.
My husband and I recently traveled to London, England, on vacation, our farthest trip since the pandemic started. We were there for longer than a week and planned to squeeze in as much sightseeing as possible during our stay. Ahead of our trip, we knew we would want to mix in some relaxation, so we booked a couple’s massage at The Lanesborough’s spa halfway into our visit.