PROJECTS » Virgin hotel edinburgh


Having launched several successful hotels across America, Virgin chose Edinburgh as their entry point into expanding their services across Europe and beyond. 

More than just another chain to add to their growing portfolio, every Virgin Hotel is uniquely designed to authentically fit with its host city, whilst staying true to the Virgin Brand identity.

“Virgin is a super global brand but as Virgin Hotels we want to be very local, so we bring in the local designers or talent from a hospitality standpoint, and give it that sense and spirit, as the accent and culture of a place is super important. We want to win the hearts and minds of every community” – James Bermingham, Virgin Hotels CEO

We were delighted to be approached by Ica studio to add our professional planting expertise and creativity to this exciting project.

We knew we would have a vital role in the guest experience and performance of the hotel with Interface finding that people are willing to spend 25% more on food and drink in biophilic hospitality environments, and The Human Spaces 2.0 report revealing 36% of hotel guests will spend time in a hotel lobby with biophilic design elements compared to 25% of guests in a conventional lobby devoid of nature.


Situated in the historic India Buildings in Edinburgh’s Old Town, a stone’s throw from Edinburgh Castle, the hotel features 222 Chambers and Grand Chamber Suites and multiple dining and drinking outlets, all with their own unique space and distinct design.

Our work began at the hotel’s entrance, where we used inviting live Buxus spirals housed in elegant ceramic sepia planters, set against the bright red entrance door giving the first subtle nod to their brand identity.

A serene seating area was created in the downstairs atrium which we finished with attractive, natural, stone-effect planters. These were arranged in groups at varying heights making use of the high ceiling and filled with an eclectic mix of leafy species which look just as spectacular when viewed from the mezzanines above.

In the Commons Club bar on the ground floor, a tall, slim 90cm pot was used to elevate the planting above the seating and into the eyeline of guests. This immersive style of planting was continued in The Funny Library coffee shop where we installed an intriguing variety of hanging foliage from the ceiling.

A more minimalist approach was taken in the corridors and bedrooms of the hotel, each supplied with a large, single planter beautifully contrasting with the hotel’s soft neutral palette creating a comfortable, residential feel.

We will continue to provide a maintenance service to keep all planting looking as vibrant and healthy as the day they were installed. Dedicated members of our maintenance team will be selected to personally care for every display, to ensure they become familiar with the environment of the building and the history of each display. 



With an abundance of lush greenery to be found in all areas of the hotel, guests should instantly feel comfortable, welcome and at ease.

By using local talent throughout the entire process, Virgin have been able to create a hotel which marries the heritage of the building and city with the requirements of a 21st century, boutique hotel.

With the Edinburgh Festival just around the corner and international visitors able to return after a sustained period of restrictions, Virgin Hotel is primed for a successful summer launch.

At Benholm Group we’ve got almost 30 years of experience helping businesses use the power of plants to stand out. Contact us today to find out how we can help enhance your space.


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