Richard Branson has come up with the hotel bed of the future. And it involves cubbies.
His Virgin Hotels brand recently patented its multi-functional "Lounge Bed," which the company has offered in its Chicago hotel since January. Virgin plans to include the bed in half a dozen future locations in the next several years as it adds hotels in New York, Dallas, and Nashville.
What's so special about this futuristic bed? For one thing, it's designed for the harried business traveler who can't keep from multitasking even after hitting the sheets. (Or, you know, folks who want to work without ever having to leave the bed.) Here are three concepts Virgin's designers built into the Lounge Bed.
1. Putting ergonomics first.
Because most hotel beds have vertical headboards, getting work done while sitting upright requires guests to pile up multiple pillows. The Lounge Bed's soft, padded headboard was ergonomically designed with a 120 degree pitch, allowing guests to recline and work easily with a laptop or tablet propped up on their knees. "If you can sit in an office with an ergonomic chair and your back feels great, why can't you do that with a bed?" says Virgin Hotels CEO Raul Leal, adding that the design of the Lounge Bed also prevent's guests' heads from hitting the wall when reclined.
2. A place for working and socializing.
The Lounge Bed includes two "cubby holes" at the either end of the headboard and a third at the front corner, allowing three people to sit on the bed comfortably, according to Leal. The front corner is also designed to be extra supportive so that the mattress doesn't sink when a third person uses it as a seat. "Everybody has a cubby hole where they can sit and talk and still work with devices," Leal says.
3. Bringing technology to bed.
Multiple electrical sockets near the bed let guests conveniently charge their devices. Plus, Virgin Hotels offers a mobile app specifically for guests who want to change the thermostat or order room service without moving. "You really never have to leave the bed if you don't want to," Leal says.
After receiving requests from Virgin Hotel guests and employees who want to purchase the bed for their homes, the company recently decided to offer the bed for sale to consumers starting in December. Leal says the hope is that the Lounge Bed will be part of the Virgin Hotel brand identity in the near future.
"I want one too," he says.