I know it’s been a bit quiet this week on the blog, but this was intentional. My personal life has been very even-keeled as of late and seeing as we’re still indoors, I’ve had more of a focus on blog posts related to mental health. This week, however, I decided to switch up the location and take my indoor activities elsewhere. Enter: The Virgin Hotel – Dallas.
During their Black Friday sale, I booked a one-night stay at the hotel for me and my mom as her dual Christmas and birthday gift. I remember when construction for the hotel broke ground in 2018 and I had plans to check it out in the spring of 2020 when the weather improved to check out the rooftop hotel I stared at for months from my old apartment. Well…we know what happened, so after doing some further research on their COVID-related guidelines and standards of cleanliness, I thought it would be cool to do a little staycation in a nice hotel room! Not to mention, my mom and I have been long-time fans of the Virgin brand.
Not going to lie, the check-in process for a Type A person like me was extremely stressful. The check-in and check-out time on the website was described as “flexible” in their FAQ and when I hadn’t received an email until the day before the trip with instructions on what to do the day of, I was freaking out. Thankfully, I was able to get in touch with a staff member, Gillian, who was able to answer all of my questions. 🙂 Though different times can be arranged, check-in is at 3:00 p.m. and check-out is at 12:00 p.m. Your check-in process can also be completely contactless through the app; you check-in through the app an hour prior to your arrival where you will “choose” (read: confirm) your room. (If you have a reservation, you will have a room–don’t spazz like me and worry that the rooms are first-come, first-served.) Then a mobile key is assigned to your room that can unlock your room’s door.
While I would have preferred and was expecting a completely contactless experience, I had a check-in error that required me to stop by the front desk when I arrived. However, the error was a totally unexpected surprise of a complimentary upgrade of our room for being a member of The Know program. It was such a pleasant surprise and got even better when we got to the room to find a card wishing my mother a happy birthday and a small bottle of Veuve Clicquot (living my “MONOPOLY” dreams). The room was also very nice and incredibly spacious with the most beautiful skyline view.
THE KNOW PROGRAM
When I was researching the hotel back in the fall, I saw this link for their program, “The Know“-a completely free ‘membership’ program with perks like room upgrades, rate discounts, access to exclusive events, and much more. The Know is also a way to personalize your stay because they ask you fun questions when creating your profile. I signed up because why not? It was through signing up that I was alerted of the Black Friday sale which had 35% off rooms booked through March. Follow the link to find out more information and sign up today!
We booked a double queen Chamber and our upgraded room gave us additional square footage. When you first walk in, you enter what I would call a dressing area. The restroom, shower, sinks, and vanity are all independent of each other to allow people to move about freely. The storage areas for hanging clothes, putting away shoes and bags, and accessing the safe are hidden behind curtains with timed, motion-sensored lights. The sink area has the only lights, besides the bedside lighting, that offers dimming capabilities which is always pleasant if you ever wake up in the night. My absolute favorite part of the dressing area was the vanity because I am a SUCKER for a proper vanity. I immediately got ideas for my future home, especially the huge LED-lit mirror.
It was incredibly difficult to photograph, but our shower was HUGE. It was definitely on brand being known for sticking to its youthful, wild and fun approach (a.k.a. it appeared to be designed for a group to shower together). But of course I loved that the finishes were their signature red:
When you move past the dressing area, which is thoughtfully separated by a sliding privacy door complete with a peep-hole, you see the beds and the beautiful view. The beds are also designed in such a smart way. They are joined by bench seating inbetween them so you can work (plugs are under the seat) or dine and comfortably view the TV.
The mini bar has a far from traditional design having everything available for you to use at your leisure instead of being stocked with minis. Also, how can we ignore the bright red SMEG mini fridge? To be on the safe side, we didn’t touch or move anything. As I write this, I still don’t know if any of it besides the coffee and tea were free, but I will be sure to ask before my next stay next month and update accordingly.
THE LUCY APP
As stated, much of the hotel experience is arranged through the app which is called Lucy. You can access your mobile key, alert hotel staff if you are available or on “Do Not Disturb,” and you can control the lights, thermostat and TV. You can also access your bill, message the staff, order room service, etc. which can be done through the TV as well. I’m not someone whose home is laden with smart devices, so I found myself not utilizing the app for room controls other than the thermostat and ordering room service as pretty much everything can be controlled by hand as well.
Though I attempted to the use the app as much as possible to be able to report back on it, I struggled with it as many things within the app were not housed where you would expect them. Oftentimes, I felt like I was “running around” in the app to access basic information. I love the idea of being contactless and as someone who works in customer service, I certainly love and appreciate the concept of everything being app-based v. phone calls and face-to-face. Still, I found that it was the personal contact with and friendliness of the staff that would make me feel like a ‘valued customer’ whenever I was getting frustrated with the app. I hope it’s the app and not that I’m finally getting old…26 isn’t old, right?
WHAT WE DID
Since my mom and I aren’t comfortable dining in restaurants and the weather was too harsh to check out the rooftop bar, we kept our activities confined within our four walls. I checked off a bucket list item of ordering room service (and wearing a hotel robe) for dinner. I ordered the fritto misto and my mom had the blue crab pasta, and for dessert, we had La Paloma. As far as room service prices and size of entree goes, the blue crab pasta was an excellent option. It was only a couple of dollars more than my plate of fried goodies which could have served as an appetizer. La Paloma was also pretty good and worked out great for me and my mom. If you eat a lot, however, not sure if I would recommend room service if it’s not something you typically budget for. After that, my mom helped me take pictures then we just sat around and watched TV until we fell asleep.
Overall, my mom and I had a great time at the Virgin Hotel – Dallas! As mentioned previously, I will be back next month for another one-night stay with my boyfriend and I can’t wait to take advantage of more the hotel has to offer. Due to the time we checked in and my priority of getting content for the blog and my channel, we missed Spirit Hour–another perk of being part of The Know where a set menu of cocktails are on the house from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m in the Commons Club restaurant. I also still want to see the rooftop bar even if it means just going up there to see it and go back to my room. Further, I need to inquire about what is free at the mini bar for guests.
Seeing as travel is not on my radar (and we are approaching the one-year anniversary of the last time I was on a plane 😦 ), it felt good to get out of the house and feel like I traveled somewhere. Not to mention, it was a good excuse to splurge a little since I would have spent the same amount or more had I been on a three-day trip. After my next stay, I will update this post accordingly with additional information. Virgin Hotels are located in Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas and Nashville. Has anyone else been looking for staycations in their area? After the cabin stay I did last year, it appears exploring nice places in my area will be the go-to for a while. Let me know in the comments!