Virgin’s brand is so strong that a mental picture immediately forms upon mention of their name: some bright colors, some space-age mid-century modernist furniture, and an atmosphere that’s both seriously stylish and irreverently fun. The big surprise about Virgin Hotels Edinburgh, however, is its setting, in the 1864-vintage India Buildings, not far off the west end of the Royal Mile.
This is a building with some serious history behind it, and the redevelopment has allowed a great deal of it to show through, from the wood panels and ceiling coffers in the bar to the arches and vaults of the cellar restaurant. To the old buildings have been added some unmissable modern additions, whose shapes match the silhouettes of their neighbors but whose surfaces and materials are unapologetically 21st-century.
The 222 rooms make use of a two-chamber room concept, with a dressing area and closet separated from the bedroom/lounge by sliding doors. They’re as swanky as they are inventive, and show some tasteful restraint in their décor. More lively, naturally, are the four dining and drinking venues, including the coffee and wine bar Funny Library and the Commons Club restaurant and bar.