Interior design at Virgin Hotels

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas Harmon lobby
Virgin Hotels
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
10 May 2023

Sometimes fitting in is the best way of standing out. And no-one knows that better than Virgin Hotels.

Virgin Hotels has collaborated with local people to design hotels that fit in with their cities, while still staying true to the Virgin brand and standing out in their own way.

Virgin Hotels started this journey with its first property in Chicago. Based in the 1928 Old Dearborn Bank Building, which was designated a Chicago Landmark in 2003, Virgin Hotels Chicago has used many of the original design features to inspire the look and feel of the hotel. As guests step inside, they arrive into a beautiful historic lobby with polished brass elevator doors, a limestone staircase with an oak bannister, and the building’s original cigar bar, where they can check-in for their stay.

Virgin Hotels
Virgin Hotels

However, it’s in Las Vegas that this idea of being inspired by the locale really comes to life. After completely renovating the old Hard Rock Hotel, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas opened its doors in 2021. With its Mojave desert-inspired decor, it captures and embraces its location. 

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas brings the desert inside with cacti, Joshua trees and red rock mountains all featuring in the decor. The property takes you on a journey through the desert during your stay.

Another property that has taken inspiration for its design from the city it’s located in is Virgin Hotels New Orleans. Working with local designers, Virgin Hotels has created a building that tells the story of New Orleans. 

Its southern residential feel helps guests to feel at home in the city while they stay with Virgin Hotels. And the tropical architectural motifs mirror the plant life that thrives in the region. Even the carpets in the corridors (an often overlooked part of hotel design) take inspiration from Henri Matisse’s book Jazz, in keeping with New Orleans’ French Quarter. 

“Contextual responses to the local area are really important, as they give customers a more authentic, immersive experience,” Virgin Hotels design chief Teddy Mayer said. “In New Orleans, we worked with the owners of a home store in the Garden District. They understood how to deliver design that wasn’t an insult to locals: we didn’t want Mardi Gras masks and beads all over the place. They brought it from a very authentic, very real place that’s also future-thinking.”

A hand holding an iPhone showing the Virgin Hotels app opening a red hotel room door
Image from Virgin Hotels

As for Virgin Hotels’ first European property, Virgin Hotels Edinburgh presented a challenge for designers. Architects had to work out a way to bring three separate listed buildings together with a newly built part of the hotel, all occupying different levels within the local cityscape. And they had to do this while maintaining the character of Edinburgh’s Old Town and showcasing the contemporary side of the city.

The result is a hotel that has something new hiding around every corner, up every staircase – incredible public spaces, rooftop gardens with castle views, and cosy Chambers for weary travellers to rest. Much like Edinburgh itself, it’s a hotel of contrast, combining old and new, dark and light, modern and traditional.

“Virgin Hotels Edinburgh is our first hotel outside the US so it had to be special,” Teddy Mayer told Hotel Designs. “Edinburgh’s character and Virgin’s signature brand are strikingly reflected in both the interiors and exteriors.”

For all this fitting in, Virgin Hotels is still a Virgin brand and knows how to make sure it stands out among the competition. Splashes of Virgin red can be found across the hotels – from the townhouse-style doors to the Chambers, to the iconic Smeg mini-fridges found within. Virgin Hotels likes to do things differently so even something like identifying the dog-friendly rooms is done with a bit of flare – look out for the porcelain pups outside certain Chambers on your next visit. 

For a greater dosage of design inspiration and insight into Virgin’s 50-year history, pick up your copy of Virgin By Design today.

Planning to stay with Virgin Hotels soon? Find out how to earn Virgin Points with Virgin Red when you stay at selected Virgin Hotels properties.