The day kicked off with Sir Richard Branson introducing Colton Ryan, the lead from the new Broadway hit musical New York, New York. Colton and crew took over the hotel’s front entrance (on the corner of Broadway) to perform the iconic theme song “New York, New York.” That was followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony with Sir Richard Branson, Colton Ryan, Virgin Hotels’ CEO James Bermingham, GM Candice Cancino, hotel owners John Lam, Hung Luk, and other members of the Lam Group, complete with a confetti drop. Spectators helped Richard countdown from ten to cut a Virgin Hotels-branded red ribbon with huge gold scissors and officially open the hotel.
That evening, the party continued with an event over multiple floors of the hotel. The programme commenced with a Chinese Lion Dance in Everdene, the entertainment-anchored culinary space that occupies the hotel’s entire third floor. Post-dance, a lively welcome came from Sir Richard and John Lam. Guests included fashion designers LaQuan Smith, Carly Cushnie, Natalie De’Banco, DJ Shaun Ross, plus actor Ana Villafañe, Bravo stars Dorinda Medley, Lindsay Hubbard, Carl Radke, Andrea Denver, and Chris Leoni. There were tarot card readers, live painters, stilt walkers, jugglers, and performers in larger-than-life sized martini glasses, a Tyra Banks’ Smize Cream ice cream cart. Drinks curated by Tequila Don Julio were such memorables as a Spicy Blanco Margarita. Up on the 38th floor there was dancing to a backdrop of Manhattan from the Empire State Building round to the Statue of Liberty.
Oh yes, there was also an exclusive preview of the newest Virgin Voyages show, followed by a series of epic DJ sets from the likes of DJ Lovie, DJ Stretch Armstrong, Natasha Diggs, Eli Escobar, and DJ Moma. Virgin never does anything by halves – though it is fascinating that if you halve the word ‘Virgin’ you get ‘Ver’ and ‘gin’ (IS there a Vir Gin, with a red label, of course?).