With an eye on expansion in South Florida and beyond, Virgin Hotels has opened an office in Miami.
About 10 employees are working in the Coconut Grove office, which set up shop last month. Sister company Virgin Mobile Latin America was already operating in the same building on South Bayshore Drive; now the companies share space. A Virgin Hotels office in New York has about five employees.
Virgin Hotels CEO Raul Leal said the company, which launched two and a half years ago, plans to open its first property in Chicago next year. New York will follow in 2016.
Leal said the search is still on for the right real estate in Miami.
“It’s definitely one of the top markets for us in terms of the brand,” he said.
Virgin Hotels, which is part of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group empire, would like to have at least two hotels in Miami-Dade, specifically in Miami Beach and the Brickell area. The company would be interested in putting a hotel in Fort Lauderdale as well, Leal said.
He said having an office in Miami makes sense gives the company access not only to South Florida but also to the Caribbean, Latin America and Europe.
“It helps us diversify the company a little more,” Leal said.