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by Matt Alderton | January 15, 2015
Sir Richard Branson's new hotel venture, Virgin Hotels, has officially opened its first hotel in the Windy City, it announced today.

The hotel, Virgin Hotels Chicago, is located in the city's downtown business district, The Loop. Situated inside the historic Old Dearborn Bank Building, a Chicago landmark, it offers 250 guest rooms, three modular meeting spaces, and a multipurpose venue known as The Commons Club. Described as "a private members club, without the fees," the club will be used for dining, drinking, working, and mingling, and will host a nightly social hour.

Between February and April, the hotel also will debut four additional dining venues, including a 23-hour diner and a rooftop bar and lounge.

"It's been a long held dream to start beautiful, comfortable, fun hotels for guests and give them what they want and need while being gentle on their wallets," Branson said in a statement. "I'm tremendously proud of the brilliant Virgin Hotels team, and I look forward to hosting our fans and spending more time in Chicago."

Signature amenities of Virgin Hotels Chicago and all subsequent Virgin Hotels include free Wi-Fi with no bandwidth restrictions; street-level minibar pricing; no hidden fees at checkout; an app that controls the room environment, entertainment, service, and check-in/out; and in-room amenities catering to female business travelers.

"Chicago is an exhilarating and historic city, and a place we're happy to call home for the first-ever Virgin Hotel," said Raul Leal, CEO of Virgin Hotels. "It's an exciting time for our team as we get to unveil our new approach to room design, service, and entertainment within the hotel industry. We hope our fans recognize the subtle yet authentic Chicago touches throughout the hotel, and come to think of us as their place away from home whether they're traveling or a local."

Although Chicago is Virgin's first outpost, other hotels are currently in development in New York and Nashville. By 2025, the brand expects to have 20 locations.