Virgin Limited Edition poised for urban locations

Virgin Hotels Collection CEO pushing for gateway cities for Limited Edition projects

Virgin Hotels Collection boss James Birmingham is pushing his strategy to expand the Virgin Limited Edition collection into urban locations with Group Founder, Richard Branson.

Speaking exclusively with LATTE in Las Vegas last week at Virtuoso Travel Week, Birmingham said the merger of the Virgin accommodation brands – Virgin Hotels and Virgin Limited Edition – earlier this year had furthered the impetus behind the move.

“Virgin Limited Edition is an extraordinary collection of eight destinations that are just super special,” Birmingham said.

Moskito Island, The Village, part of Virgin Limited Edition in the British Virgin Islands

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“Virgin Hotels, which is the newer of the two companies are luxury lifestyle, primarily focused on urban locations in the US and Europe, and we’re growing the brand into the resort markets. And we’re looking at the opportunity to bring Virgin Limited Edition into urban markets,” Birmingham told LATTE.

“We’re exploring that right now. We’ve come together and it is a marriage made in heaven.”

“Virgin Hotels gives us a true global footprint and for Virgin Limited Edition it gives a really strong North American presence from a sales standpoint, from a consumer standpoint.”

Pressed about urban locations for Virgin Limited Edition, Birmingham said he’s “still negotiating with Richard”.

Son Bunyola Hotel opened within the Sun Bunyola estate in June 2023

“[Richard] very much sees Limited Edtion as resort destinations. But if you think about what really resonates with our customers first and foremost is our heartfelt service. It’s the sense of location in each of the Limited Edition properties. It’s the way we make our guests feel. It’s the peace and tranquility – it’s all of that, in my view, can translate to an urban destination.

“So I’m still convincing him. But London, Paris, New York… all the major urban gateway cities,” he said.

“Because Limited Edition is at a super-high pricepoint it won’t be every city, but it will be any city that can command that kind or pricepoint. Europe, North America, and of course, your part of the world.”

“Virgin brand, I don’t need to tell you how strong it is,” he continued.

“From a strategic growth point, we want to be where Virgin Atlantic flies to. We want to be where Virgin Voyages sails to. And Australia is very much on our radar,” he said.

Virgin Atlantic pulled the pin on flights to Australia, specifically Sydney via Hong Kong, nine years ago.

“But you never know,” Birmingham said. “They’re expanding. They’ve just expanded to Cancun, to Austin (Texas), to Tampa (Florida)… so they’re on a roll.”

Virgin Hotels Glasgow

“Plus Virgin Hotels Glasgow has just opened on the back of the recent opening in Edinburgh, and earlier in the year we opened in New York.

“We’re going to break ground in Miami, and then Denver next year. And in Sun Bunyola, Mallorca there’s a fourth villa estate that we’re going to renovate, and we’ve just announced the addition to Kasbah Tamadot of six new Riads.”

That growth also builds on the expansion of Sun Bunyola estate with the addition of the hotel element that opened two months ago to “rave reviews”, Birmingham concluded.

Lead image: James Birmingham, CEO Virgin Hotels (right) with Nikolai Ursin, Director of Brand Marketing & Partnerships at Virgin Hotels at Virtuoso Travel Week.

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