Virgin Hotels and Autism Double-Checked are opening doors to inclusive travel

The entrance to Virgin Hotels Dallas, a red neon sign reads Virgin Hotels
Virgin Hotels
Angela Palmer
by Angela Palmer
2 April 2024

In a world where diversity should be celebrated and travel accessible for all, Virgin Hotels is leading the charge in ensuring that neurodiverse guests feel safe, comfortable, and welcomed.

Virgin Hotels is proud to partner with Autism Double-Checked, an organization that focuses on autism awareness and education within the travel industry.

Virgin Hotels
Virgin Hotels

According to Autism Double-Checked, “between 25 and 35 million people are parents to one or more children with autism and due to the current travel landscape, 87% of them currently do not travel or take family vacations”.

Traveling with autism or hidden disabilities can present unique challenges, from sensory sensitivities to communication differences. Recognizing these barriers, Virgin Hotels is committed to not only raising awareness but providing tangible solutions for neurodiverse travelers.

"There is a significant segment of the population missing out on the opportunity to create memories with loved ones due to barriers in accessible travel," said James Bermingham, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Hotels Collection. "It is so important to us to provide a safe and accessible space that allows all individuals the freedom to travel with ease and partnering with Autism Doubled-Checked was an essential step for Virgin Hotels to make a significant difference and impact for neurodiverse travelers. With the in-depth training and resources they've provided our team members, we can now confidently offer neurodiverse travelers the tools they need to create invaluable memories."

Currently, four Virgin Hotels properties hold Autism Double-Checked certification: Virgin Hotels Nashville, Virgin Hotels New York, Virgin Hotels Dallas, and Virgin Hotels Chicago. In 2024, Virgin Hotels New Orleans and Virgin Hotels Edinburgh are set to join them, marking a significant milestone in the brand's certification journey.

An image of the Eve suite in Virgin Hotels Edinburgh
Virgin Hotels

So, what sets Virgin Hotels apart in its approach to inclusive travel?

  • Hiring Practices: Through the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) program, Virgin Hotels prioritizes hiring individuals reflective of diverse backgrounds and abilities. Each hotel partners with local organizations to recruit neurodiverse talent, fostering a culture of inclusion from within.

  • Comprehensive Staff Training: Every team member undergoes specialized training in collaboration with Autism Double-Checked. From welcoming guests with empathy to addressing specific needs, Virgin Hotels ensures that every interaction is respectful and supportive.

  • Visitor's Guide: Ahead of their stay, guests receive an Autism Double-Checked visitor's guide, detailing sensory-friendly areas within the hotel.

  • Hidden Disabilities: In collaboration with Hidden Disabilities, Virgin Hotels provides sunflower lanyards for guests to signal non-visible disabilities so team members can better accommodate them.

  • Accessible Chambers: Virgin Hotels' chambers are thoughtfully designed to cater to the needs of neurodiverse travelers. From blackout shades to customizable lighting, to large walk-in showers, every detail is thoughtfully curated to ensure comfort for all guests.

Richard Branson with the team at Virgin Hotels Dallas
Kathy Tran

Building upon their inclusivity program, Virgin Hotels recently launched an initiative called Hotels with Heart: Reduced Rates for Practice Stays, which offers reduced rates for practice stays at all Autism Double-Checked certified properties. This initiative means neurodiverse guests can test out their stay and feel confident before their big trip.

Guests interested in booking a rehearsal stay can email

An image of the rooftop pool in Virgin Hotels Nashville
Virgin Hotels

Looking ahead, Virgin Hotels remains committed to expanding their inclusivity program, with plans to introduce additional accommodation add-ons in 2024. For more information visit Virgin Hotels diversity & inclusivity commitment.