Sir Richard Branson has said he hopes to help regenerate part of Edinburgh’s Old Town as he visited the city for a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of his first UK hotel.
The new establishment – in the India Buildings at 1-6 Victoria Street – is expected to open in 2020.
The hotel will have 225 chambers and grand chamber suites, dining and drinking outlets and numerous meeting spaces.
Sir Richard attended a ceremony at the site on Tuesday evening to celebrate the hotel’s future.
He said: “I’m thrilled to welcome Virgin Hotels’ first UK property here in Edinburgh.
“We have so many great locations in progress in the United States, but there’s something extra special about opening our first Virgin Hotel here in the UK.
“What better place than right here in Edinburgh? My grandparents were from Edinburgh. My wife, Joan, is Scottish – and the city holds a very special place in my heart.
“Virgin Hotels takes its role as neighbours in this beautiful city very seriously and we want this hotel to fit in with the fabric of the city, and are working with the local community to make sure of this.
“We look forward to playing our part in regenerating the local area around Victoria Street including the iconic India Buildings and I can’t wait to be back for the grand opening.”
Virgin Hotels Edinburgh will be completed in partnership with owner Flemyn and developer Jansons Property, will be managed by Virgin Hotels and asset managed by Siggis Capital.
Raul Leal, chief executive of Virgin Hotels, said: “This project, from an award-winning hotel brand such as Virgin Hotels, will further highlight the city’s eclectic style while remaining true to its historic heritage, all while offering guests and locals alike an experience like no other.
“Beyond preserving the buildings for the future, the new hotel will breathe new life into this important local community.”