WHY IT RATES: The Virgin Hotels brand is expanding into Miami.—Donald Wood, Breaking News Senior Writer.
Virgin Hotels, the lifestyle hotel brand by Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson, announces plans to open and operate a new hotel in Miami, Florida. Virgin Hotels Miami will be managed by Virgin Hotels, developed by Blue Jay Capital with BLUR Workshop as the architect, and is slated to open in 2023.
“I’m personally very passionate about this property, as it brings Virgin Hotels into a city that holds a great deal of significance for us. In addition to being my home, Miami is the headquarters of Virgin Hotels, so this is a milestone that has been a long time coming,” comments Virgin Hotels CEO Raul Leal. “Miami is one of our nation’s premier vacation and nightlife destinations and a major cultural hub. Our team cannot wait to make our mark here by bringing the Virgin Hotels experience to this lively city.”
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In the heart of Downtown Miami’s Financial District, the hotel will be located at 1040 S. Miami Avenue in the Brickell neighborhood – a hotspot for locals and visitors alike. Virgin Hotels Miami will be in the center of this urban oasis and steps away from Brickell City Centre, a $1.05 billion shopping and mixed-use project in development.
The 40-story new-build hotel will feature 250 chambers; a spa; over 15,000 square-feet of meeting and event space; and multiple dining and drinking outlets, including the brand’s signature culinary experience Commons Club, a restaurant, bar and modern social club; a beer garden live music venue; and Funny Library Coffee Shop, a communal work space that will house an assortment of whimsical and funny books and games. Funny Library Coffee Shop will pour coffee by Laughing Man®, the brand co-founded by actor Hugh Jackman. The hotel will also feature a three-story terraced rooftop complete with pool, lounge, and event space all designed to feel like a rooftop conservatory. Virgin Hotels Miami will take to heart the brand wide celebrated “No Nickel and Diming” policy, which includes street-priced minibars, free WIFI, and zero resort fees, urban fees or amenity fees. The hotel is slated to break ground in 2020.
“Blue Jay Capital could not be more excited to partner with Virgin Hotels on this new project in our hometown of Miami. We have all seen Virgin Hotels’ increased presence in recent years and are very proud they selected Blue Jay Capital to join their family,” stated Eric Soulavy, President at Blue Jay Capital. “We look forward to delivering an exciting new hotel option to the countless travelers that visit South Florida and the Brickell market.”
Notably, the development is planning to incorporate a car elevator system for valet parking as a nod to the future of transportation and to maximize the space available for amenity, entertainment and office uses. Tapping into Virgin Group’s commitment to sustainability, the project will seek green building certifications, aiming to be one of the healthiest and lowest carbon consuming hotels.
The development will incorporate a residential component operated by Blue Jay Capital with 15 floors of furnished residential spaces consisting of 150 micro units and co-living units. All residents will have access to Virgin Hotels Miami common spaces and amenities, and the design will be inspired by the signature Virgin Hotels look. With micro units under 400 square-feet and three to four-bedroom co-living units, this project marks Virgin Hotels’ foray into mixed use residential.
“Headquartered in Miami, Virgin Hotels joins a growing list of Virgin Group’s investment in Greater Miami including Virgin Trains and Virgin Voyages,” said William D. Talbert, III, CDME, President & CEO, GMCVB. “Our destination offers one of the most dynamic hotel markets in the world and we are proud Virgin Hotels has chosen Greater Miami as their entryway into the Florida market.”
The property joins Virgin Hotels’ rapidly growing roster, which includes Virgin Hotels Chicago, Virgin Hotels San Francisco, and Virgin Hotels Dallas, opening later this year. The brand has broken ground on four locations: New York, Nashville, New Orleans and Edinburgh, UK. Forthcoming hotels have also been announced in Palm Springs and Silicon Valley, including the newest acquisition, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas which will be converted to Virgin Hotels in later 2020.
For more information, reach out to your local travel agent.
SOURCE: Virgin Hotels press release.
Comments & Discussion
How Will the US Hotel Experience Change Post COVID-19?
As hotel occupancy ticks up ever so slightly, the lodging industry is putting new standards in place to enhance cleaning and ensure guest safety.
One organization working overtime to make sure that these new measures are clear and communicated effectively to the public is the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), which has created Safe Stay guidelines for the industry.
“Safe Stay was developed specifically to ensure enhanced safety for hotels guests and employees. While hotels have always employed demanding cleaning standards, this new initiative will ensure greater transparency and confidence throughout the entire hotel experience,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “The industry’s enhanced hotel cleaning practices, social interactions, and workplace protocols will continue to evolve to meet the new health and safety challenges and expectations presented by COVID-19.”
Travelers in states where shelter in place and stay at home orders have been lifted may be looking to travel and stay in a hotel soon. What will that look like in the “new normal?”
Hygiene will be the number one priority. The Safe Stay guidelines promote frequent handwashing for employees, hand sanitizer dispensers, signage, instructions for mask-wearing and more.
Major hotel brands have launched their own programs, too, partnering with brands such as Clorox and Lysol and the Mayo Clinic.
Hilton CleanStay was launched in partnership with the makers of Lysol as well as the Mayo Clinic. Marriott announced a Global Cleanliness Council, a panel of experts on everything from food and water safety, infection prevention and hygiene, and hotel operations.
Visitors will have a much more contact-less experience when they visit properties while maintaining social distancing guidelines and new standards of cleanliness.
Hilton will have a CleanStay room seal on guestroom doors and guests will no longer find shared amenities such as pens and paper in the room and room directories will be made digital.
Travelers are also likely to find keyless entry to rooms and disinfecting wipes for touching elevator buttons. Room service menus and ordering will likely be done on mobile apps.
Guests should also arrive expecting to self park their vehicles. Resorts such as Omni have limited valet services and instituted social distancing protocols where self-parking is unavailable.
There will also be limits on the number of people allowed to congregate in different areas with limited seating in lobbies, bars and restaurants in order to observe social distancing guidelines. The days of buffet dining may also be a thing of the past. AHLA guidelines say that room service should use contactless delivery and that buffets should be limited and served by an attendant in personal protective equipment. Pre-packaged and grab and go options are encouraged.
Guests may have to plan out their visits to the gym. Expect fitness centers to close multiple times per day for cleaning as well as socially distanced pool areas with lounge chairs six feet apart.
Behind the scenes there will be new cleaning technologies utilized.
One example is Marriott’s deployment of electrostatic sprayers and the use of the highest-grade disinfectant products. Electrostatic cleaning really gives a deep clean to surfaces, the spraying is a method where a device is used to apply an electric charge to a disinfectant, enabling the disinfectant to more effectively cover a surface than traditional cleaning methods.
One of the aspects of hotel stays that remains unknown is how many properties will institute temperature checks but travelers should expect the practice may become quite common.
The Venetian in Las Vegas said that it will use thermal scanners at entry points for a non-invasive temperature check.
Many properties will screen the health of their employees and include temperature checks.
Caesars Entertainment said that it will institute health screenings for all employees that include taking temperatures and COVID-19 testing.
While most hotel guidelines call for near-constant cleaning and disinfecting, travelers can also do their part.
Hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer should be frequent when traveling. Many properties plan to provide face masks and disinfectant wipes, but it doesn’t hurt to bring your own and wipe down surfaces, doorknobs and buttons.
Wearing a face mask is also recommended to protect both you and those around you.
Comments & Discussion
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