The Virgin brand hasn’t taken hold in the U.S. the way it has in other parts of the English-speaking world. It stands for being a bit cheeky, a bit cheeky, but often more style over substance. And in the case of the 268 room Virgin Hotels Dallas that means a straightforward full service property with… splashes of red, and one of Richard Branson’s books in the room.
It’s got individual bottles of toiletries in the bath, rather than low-end wall-mounted amenities. So that’s a plus! The coffee shop and restaurant did not open until until 7 a.m., though, and no coffee an easy walk from the property (a bit of a concrete jungle) so that wasn’t quite as good.
Perhaps it’s just that only two things every spoke to me in the Virgin brand (the architecture of the Heathrow Clubhouse and the Virgin America first class product) but while I’d happily stay at this hotel again, I wouldn’t do so on my own dime with pricing at $350 per night.
Choosing Virgin Hotels Dallas
I needed to spend a night in Dallas, near-ish to Love Field for JSX’s Media Day. I could have flown Southwest from Austin, but didn’t much want to catch a 5:45 a.m. flight to make the start of the day, so I flew JSX the night before.
The last time I needed to be near Dallas Love Field I stayed at Marriott’s aloft which is in the same building as an Element. For this trip I considered the Element, or the DoubleTree, but the event group was slated to stay at the Virgin Hotels Dallas. I’d never tried one, so I figured this was a good opportunity.
For convenience I stayed as part of the JSX group block at the hotel, and as is my practice when receiving something of value from a travel brand ensure an (at a minimum) offsetting charitable contribution. The hotel night was running $350++ which I thought was exorbitant for what amounted to an airport overnight, where I was arriving around 8 p.m. and departing before 8 a.m. Sadly, since I wasn’t paying the hotel directly, I also didn’t earn points for the stay.
Check-In And First Impressions
There was one person working check-in, and the guest ahead of me was taking quite a bit of time because they were part of a group but their name hadn’t been added to a reservation. They couldn’t quite understand why they had to wait for a room, but the hotel promised to check with the group’s coordinator. Put another way, they had no reservation and wanted to be given a room with direct billing to someone else and seemed annoyed at the hotel that they weren’t being given a room without payment.
This took a few minutes to sort. When it was my turn to be helped check-in was perfunctory. In some sense that’s how I like it, not taking longer than necessary, but at the same time it wasn’t very friendly? Perhaps the staffer was just annoyed at the previous guest. Hand over drivers license, tap a credit card, and I was given a room key.
Meanwhile the lobby area was quite busy and loud the second time I found myself downstairs, but that’s just because it’s tiny. There were a couple of groups of guests standing around, one waiting to go up to rooms and another waiting to leave the hotel.
The ground floor opens up a bit as you walk further, past the elevators into a lounge and bar area and through that to the hotel restaurant. But the check-in and areas nearby are just small.
I was assigned a room on the 15th floor, and took the elevator up. The elevator was purposely dark and red. And I got off on the floor to red as well.
The room was fine – a bathroom, a bedroom, and a vanity area. It had the things you’d need, along with a minibar and a television, right? And some splashes of red.
Here’s the minibar.
I didn’t like the layout. You walk into the room and you’re in the bathroom, because the sink and bathroom counter are to your right, the vanity to your left and separate small rooms for the toilet and the shower.
Beyond the bathroom was the bedroom which was fine, a bed and a couch which was red, but no desk.
Gym And Pool
Public spaces at the hotel, outside of the immediate check-in area, were really attractive. There was a good gym, though I didn’t take photos of the equipment because people were working out.
The pool was closed when I went by, but it was too cool and overcast for most to want to swim in any case.
Conclusion From A Short Stay
I didn’t eat in the restaurant, didn’t interact with a large number of the staff, and so my engagement with the hotel was limited – a single twelve hour overnight. So it’s possible my impression is wrong! But my takeaway is that this is a perfectly fine full service hotel, reasonably new and clean, that wants to be trendy but felt to me a bit like an older W hotel.
There was this W vibe from the mid-aughts where they’d change the rugs in front of the elevator 3 times a day (‘good morning’ ‘good afternoon’ and ‘good evening’) but that began to feel dated once hotels were doing the same thing with electronic screens instead of rugs. And then that became derivative.
In a way design felt like the W New York twenty years ago. It was modern but not timeless, and the vibe masked things like lack of a desk and poor design of the room I was given.