More than a year ago, the Hard Rock Hotel closed with a big party for a weekend in early February 2020, ending 25 years in Las Vegas. In its place after a $ 200 million renovation, Virgin Hotels will open at 6 p.m. tonight after several delays due to the pandemic. The renovated hotel has a lighter look, following the signs of the surrounding Mojave Desert with cacti and desert hues throughout, an open garage door with built-in rideshare, and light, airy colors that echo the Las Vegas vibe off the Strip. .
Richard “Boz” Bosworth, president and CEO of JC Hospitality and owner of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, says he hired 1,600 employees and 1,300 employees returned from the Hard Rock Hotel. Another 400 to 500 will come on board in the next six weeks when the new Elia day club and resort pool opens. The resort buried Rehab, the legendary adult pool party and lazy river to create a five-acre pool complex with a boardwalk with restaurants with outdoor cafes that feed the resort’s pool environment.
“You can hear the energy. You can hear the hum. That noise, those are team members. Those are the local vegans back to work, and it’s probably been one of the most exciting aspects of this trip for me today, ”says Bosworth as he prepares to open the resort.
Unlike other large casino openings, Virgin Hotels remains low-key with live entertainment including DJs, street performances, and more in lieu of a VIP night, which will come later. Even at 50 percent of state-mandated capacity, Virgin expects crowds wanting to explore the new resort and its 12 food and beverage outlets.
A 60,000-square-foot casino by Mohegan Sun, the first Native American tribe to operate a Las Vegas casino, features 650 slot machines and more than 150 table games.
At the resort entrance, the Hard Rock’s famous Center Bar is gone, replaced by what Bosworth calls an “off-center” bar, the Bar at Commons Club, and more private Shag Room to the right of the entrance. “The Commons Club bar and Shag Room are really the heart and pulse of the environment when you can enter from a beverage perspective and an entertainment perspective,” he says.
Those familiar with the design of the Hard Rock Hotel will not find a different footprint within the casino. Head on, Nobu from Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa returns after a renovation that opens up the space with a new bar. Hakkasan Group’s Casa Calavera takes over the former Pink Taco space with Mexican food, a collection of tequila and mezcal, and the really selfie-minded Dia de los Muertos decor. A patio spills out over the pool area.
Mr. Lucky’s now houses Kitchen at Commons Club, a 24/7 restaurant with American food and British accents. Next door, the Ferraro family’s Pizza Forte returns.
Walking into the Harmon Avenue parking lot, diners find Kris Yenbamroong’s Night + Market, a Thai restaurant with California vibes. “We didn’t bring Kris because she was coming from a Los Angeles location, because we don’t think that always translates to Las Vegas. Las Vegas has a tendency to be, to tell you what it translates here and just because it is based in Los Angeles doesn’t mean it translates to Las Vegas. Kris’ food and service points are absolutely incredible, and I say without hesitation, it will be the best Thai restaurant experience in Clark County, ”says Bosworth, who says he frequented Yenbamroong’s Venice Beach location.
What Bosworth calls the “first family of steakhouses” also returns with Michael and David Morton’s One Steakhouse, taking over their former MB Steak space. Now, the ground floor bar area has space for 100 people open to the casino floor. The new whimsical mood lighting in the restaurant is a must see as it changes color as the night progresses. Upstairs the atrium remains with cantilevered windows that open for an almost open-air experience.
Not everything opens right away. Todd English’s Olives, taking over the former 35 Steaks + Martini’s space, arrives in May, while Kassi Beach House with Italian food and a poolside patio, Afters Ice Cream and Money, Baby !, a sports bar with a view to the pool, plans to open in April.
• Everything you need to know about opening restaurants and bars at Virgin Hotels [ELV]