Virgin Hotels, the lifestyle hotel brand by Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, has announced plans to open and operate a new hotel in Palm Springs. Expected to open in late 2018, the Palm Springs property will be managed by Virgin Hotels and developed by Wessman Development, according to a release.
Virgin Hotels CEO Raul Leal said, "Opening a property in California has been on our wish-list since day one, and as Palm Springs has grown beyond its reputation of a retreat for Californians, we knew it was the perfect location for a Virgin Hotel."
Officials said Virgin Hotels Palm Springs will feature 150 Chambers and Grand Chamber Suites; multiple dining and drinking outlets, including the brand's flagship space, The Commons Club; numerous meeting spaces; and a rooftop terrace and pool overlooking the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains as well as a new outdoor public event space from the Palm Springs Art Museum, offering guests complimentary VIP seats to concerts, movies and other cultural performances.
The hotel will be a new build designed by local architect Chris Pardo.
Located in the heart of downtown at Main Street & Palm Canyon Drive, the hotel will be surrounded by historic desert modern architecture and within walking distance to several art galleries, vintage shopping and restaurants.
"Virgin is not just a hotel, but a new and completely different experience - one that can be enjoyed not only by our visitors, but by everyone in the community," added Michael Braun of Wessman Development. "The addition of Virgin Hotels Palm Springs will positively impact downtown revitalization and will benefit all of Palm Springs' existing restaurants, hotels and shops for the next twenty years and beyond."
Virgin Hotels is also exploring properties in cities such as Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, Austin, Seattle, San Francisco, Washington DC, and London.
Now, it's official. The hotel plans to open and operate a new hotel in Palm Springs in late 2018. News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2's Alexandra Pierce talked to city officials and developers on Tuesday to learn more.
While officials with Virgin Hotels said the hotel is coming to Palm Springs, city officials are saying "wait a second". Before any plans can move forward, the city still needs to approve the plans -- and that could take awhile.
The luxury hotel is expected to have 150 rooms, a rooftop pool and multiple dining and drinking areas, according to the release.
Palm Springs Mayor Robert Moon said, "All we know is that Virgin Hotels wants to come here and we know they want to be in the downtown development project. In order for that to happen, the plans have to go before the Architectural Advisory Commission, the Planning Commission and ultimately be approved by city council."
If approved, the hotel would be managed by Virgin Hotels and developed by Wessman Development. Local architect Chris Pardo has already been tapped to be the designer.
Owners and employees of businesses in the area said they're happy to hear the news. "I think that would be awesome just for business in general, all the way around the stores and the restaurants," said Alexandria Alosi, a local waitress. "This place is a destination place and having a new hotel with a cool vibe would be good for Palm Springs," she added.
Owner of Destination PSP Jeffrey Bernstein echoed the same sentiment. "As a business owner in downtown, we're thrilled to have a new hotel, Virgin is a great brand," Bernstein said. While many are excited about the potential Virgin Hotel, some have concerns about the downtown project in general.
Mayor Moon said they're taking their time with this project and asking for any and all input from residents about the downtown project. He said the next time they plan to meet to discuss the project as a whole will be on February 3.