Global tycoon Sir Richard Branson has revealed the location of the first Virgin hotel set to open in the UK outside the United States.
He has announced that India Buildings in Edinburgh is to be transformed into 225-bedroom ‘high-end’ hotel with multiple dining and drinking outlets, expected to open in 2020.
The hotel is also intended to host a wide-range of events, including gigs by local musicians.
The announcement was hailed as ‘a huge coup for Edinburgh’ and is forecast to boost the local economy by £5m, with around 200 full-time jobs are expected to be created at the hotel.
Virgin opened its first hotel in Chicago in 2015, based in a historic downtown office building and several more are under construction in the US.
Sir Richard said: “Edinburgh is such an iconic city and we’re thrilled to be able to say it will be the home of the first Virgin Hotel in the UK and across Europe.
“My grandparents were from Edinburgh, so Scotland has always held a special place in my heart.
“The people of Edinburgh have been so great in welcoming us to their great city; we can’t wait to open our doors to people across the country and, indeed, the world.”
Virgin Hotels chief executive Raul Leal said Edinburgh had been a natural choice for their first hotel in Europe. “The location is fabulous and we love the fact we had to work round the building.
“It has charming little spaces, especially the beverage areas. There will be plenty of surprises and delights – little coves and places for privacy, where people can have meetings or dine.
“From a physical perspective there won’t be too many changes inside the building except for restoring what is there and then overlaying a modern, but warm and sophisticated design.”