First Look: Virgin Hotels Edinburgh

Scottish modernity.

With a bold design, a dash of sexy sophistication, and a plethora of visual art, Virgin Hotels has taken up residence in Edinburgh’s Old Town. Officially opened in March by Virgin Group’s Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Hotels Edinburgh is the hotelier’s first foray into the United Kingdom.

The new hotel incorporates the India Buildings, three 19th-century structures on Victoria Street. These Victorian buildings were constructed in the 1860s, with a notable architectural feature: a domed rotunda encircled by a balcony with a wrought iron and brass rail. The hotel lobby is in the rotunda, with its brightly patterned tile flooring, curvy club chairs and couches, accent pillows in bold designs, and verdant plants.



The extensive modern art collection in several of the hotel’s public spaces includes fine art black-and-white photographs, an original piece of fuselage from a Virgin Atlantic 747 airplane, original Virgin Music record sleeves, and a custom commission by Edinburgh artist Wendy Helliwell titled Virgin Lips, a mixed media piece created with jeans and magazines. The in-house portrait gallery celebrates notable Scottish women.

The 222 guest rooms often feature decorative hallmarks such as a door painted Virgin’s signature red, a striking black-and-white photograph of a group of Highland dancers, light wood panelling, and a nod to old-school communications: a red rotary dial phone. The extended upholstered headboard in the Chamber king terrace room creates attached seating for work, watching TV, or lounging while enjoying a chilled bevvie from the red mini-Smeg. Behind sliding doors is a dressing room with storage, walk-in shower with rainfall showerhead, make-up vanity, and toilet room. There is also access to an outdoor space with incomparable views of the Old Town and Edinburgh Castle. Another alternative is upgrading to Sir Richard’s Flat, a suite designed for the owner, with in-room bar for entertaining clients and freestanding roll-top bathtub.


Snapworthy places abound, from the Quartz Hallway, with walls and ceilings embedded with a red quartz pieces, to the welcoming Commons Club restaurant and bar, with stone walls and pillars, plush velvet seating, and whimsical contemporary art pieces in the bar, such as a photograph titled Sex Tape or custom commissions Queen of Dreams by Alan Macdonald and You Can’t Always Get What You Want by Michael Forbes. The Funny Library Coffee Bar features an extensive book collection and unforgettable visual art like Glitter Balloon by Plastic Jesus, Voyages Over Edinburgh by David Fleck or a portrait of Scottish poet Robert Burns, while Eve, the hotel’s nightclub, offers a rotating list of DJs or your next favourite band performing in front of murals created by Studio Giftig.

Virgin Hotels Edinburgh is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts L.V.X. Collection