Hard Rock Hotel Transitions to Virgin Hotel

Hard Rock Hotel is being rebranded to Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. But the transition is much more than a cosmetic makeover and few sections of the property are unaffected by it, according to the owner, Richard Bosworth (at left with Virgin Chairman Richard Branson).

The rebranding of the former Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas to Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, is more than a mere cosmetic makeover. More substantive changes are the works as the new owner prepares to open January 15. It’s already started to accept reservations.

It is a drastic renovation that rivals any that have taken place heretofore in Las Vegas. Few sections of the property have been untouched, such as the addition of a five acre pool and entertainment complex, the “backyard.”

Richard “Boz” Bosworth, president and chief executive officer of JC Hospitality, owner of Virgin Las Vegas, told the Las Vegas Sun, “I think what makes us different from some of the other transformations and renovations is that it looks so much different. Bars have been moved, sightlines are different, our eco-systems and the way you can move around the property have changed.”

He added, “Out on our pool deck, where the Rehab pool party was, there’s no pool. It’s our event lawn and it has fire pits, birdcage seating, shrubbery and block walls, and it’s an area where you can have entertainment such as a concert in a Hollywood Bowl-type of experience, or you can put up a tent and have a wedding and get married there.”

It will enhance a pool that was always used for parties and concerts, but will be larger and will link to nearby restaurants via the Promenade. The restaurants along this pathway will include Olives, Casa Calavera, Kassi Beach Club and the Money Baby sports bar.

Bosworth believes the resort pool was never used to its full potential, and so, “it’s been completely reimagined with daybeds and cabanas to really become an entertainment and dining environment.” He added, “It’s a place to go as a hotel guest or to dine while surrounded by palm trees and beautiful landscaping, and your server can bring you your food from any number of restaurants. We think it’s truly going to be an experience much different than what you see in any current resort.”

This law space, when can be used for all sorts of events, will connect to the Manor, an indoor event space.

The resorts postponed its original November 2020, and has had the advantage of watching how other properties have reacted to the Covid pandemic, and has been able to pick and choose from among them. It is, said Bosworth, “the benefit of sitting on the sidelines watching best practices and seeing what works and what does not work.” He added, “We’re very conscious of where we are from a COVID perspective and like everyone else, we’re hoping science catches up quickly and our industry normalizes as soon as possible,” he told the Sun.

This will involve some apparent contradictions, such as creating intimate-seeming events that are also Covid-safe.

Reservations are being taken at the resort’s more than 1,500 rooms, which each include a dressing room and lounge, ergonomic beds, high-def televisions, reading nooks and even rooms devoted to our canine friends.

The hotel will have three towers, Opal, Canyon and the Ruby Tower, which will be nothing but suites.

The impending opening of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, may have prompted a local developer, Michael Ochoa, to buy 12.1 acres almost adjacent to the resort for $12.5 million from Chinese investors.

But that’s just one of a number of real estate transaction east of the Strip that were beginning to peak before the arrival of Covid-19 let the air out of tourism, at least for several months.

Ochoa’s company, Ochoa Development Corp., told CDC Gaming Reports, that the group wanted to assemble a “really cool project,” that would be built within the two to three years but wouldn’t elaborate.

If so, Ochoa has gotten the parcel at bargain basement prices, since it was on the market for $47 million in 2017. One disadvantage of the property is that it has limited frontage on Paradise Road.