Virgin launching a hotel chain

UPDATE: it's open now! review here.

I'm not a big hotel person. Most travelers roll their eyes at people who go to another country and then eat at McDonald's, but that's kind of how I feel about people who travel and stay at a Hilton, Westin, or other big hotel chain.
Ideally I stay with someone local. My favorite thing about traveling is seeing people's day-to-day lives and taking part in it. If that's not an option I'll look for a small B&B or guest house so I have the chance to get to know the proprietors. If that's not an option, I'll look at AirBnB. Failing that, then I look to a local pension. 

If I end up having to stay at a big chain hotel, I just stay at a Kimpton if one is available. They're reasonably priced, each one is unique, they have free wifi if you sign up for their loyalty program, there's decent free coffee in the lobby in the morning, free wine in the lobby before dinner, emergency condoms in the amenity kit, and some of them have free loaner bicycles.

Today Virgin announced their first hotel - on East Lake and Wacker in Chicago. I love flying Virgin and I hope they bring some of their magic to the hotel scene. They're currently offering double bonus Virgin Elevate points for stays between Jan 15 and March 31, 2015.

I've always loved the grown-up, "continental" attitude towards their customers that Virgin takes, and I'm glad to see they've extended that to the hotel chain:

The rooms will also feature TVs that support streaming from your mobile devices and laptops, "street price" minibars, a fully-integrated mobile app for interacting with the hotel, and a set of privacy doors so the person in bed isn't exposed to room door unless they want to be.


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