Branson Plans Hotel Overlooking Spaceport America

Richard Branson

The Independent has an interesting update on Richard Branson’s plans for his Virgin Hotels venture, which is set to launch in about two years:

San Diego and Washington DC are likely candidates, and Branson also announced that one of the the first sites will be in New Mexico, overlooking the spaceport which will send his Virgin Galactic tourist flights into space.

He also told conference attendees that each hotel will be different, saying that putting a Virgin stamp on the hotels wasn’t enough and that the goal was to be the “funnest” hotel for guests to go to.

According to Virgin’s property specs:

Virgin Hotels seeks attractive property opportunities in North America’s most dynamic cities

Capitalizing on the Virgin brand’s global appeal and cosmopolitan fan base, the initial cities on Virgin Hotels’ target list include major urban markets in North America (e.g. New York, San Francisco, Miami, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington DC). Our ambitions are global, but as a first move we are focusing on North America. We are keen to discover a range of interesting, authentic and high quality 150–400 room properties in appealing neighborhoods that will meet the expectations of our guests, a target group that seeks engaging and differentiated experiences.

Once ready for business, Virgin Hotels properties will feature contemporary style AND great functionality, an efficient yet personalized experience, ample communal space and a signature restaurant.

Virgin Hotels will define its communal spaces by building on experience the brand has gained in operating award-winning Clubhouses around the world — unique spaces where our guests can get work done, nourish and refresh themselves, meet other interesting people, or just take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Our target guest is more than comfortable with technology and craves customization and efficiency — so our properties will provide simple yet intuitive systems to help them get the most out of their stay (both in-room and throughout communal spaces).

Interesting. This would be a major development for New Mexico and jobs for the locals. It would certainly bring wealthy folks into a lightly populated part of the American Southwest. So, that’s good.

On the other hand, I imagine it would be easy for Virgin Galactic’s wealthy and busy clients to fly into Spaceport America, stay at the hotel, do their training, and fly out again once their flights are over — all without ever venturing into Truth or Consequences, Las Cruces or the rest of New Mexico. That wouldn’t be true for everyone staying at the hotel, but the positive impacts could be somewhat less than anticipated.