Hard Rock Las Vegas to Close During Renovation for Majority of 2020

  • Hard Rock being transformed into Virgin Hotels Las Vegas
  • Property will close early February 2020, re-opening expected late in year
  • Employees who stay until shut down will be given bonus, re-hired if they want to return
Hard Rock Las Vegas will shut down from early February 2020 as it is renovated to Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. [Image: Shutterstock]

Phased renovation changed to total closure

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, an iconic landmark in both Las Vegas and pop culture, will shut its doors for the bulk of next year.

The hotel announced this past weekend that it will close for at least eight months in 2020 as it is renovated to become Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. The plan is to cease operation just after the Super Bowl in the first week of February and re-open near the end of the year, likely November.

The plan is to cease operation just after the Super Bowl in the first week of February.

The original plan was to complete the renovations in phases for four months, keeping the property open. The Hard Rock would close after that for another four months. Ownership decided, though, that it just would not work.

“We determined that a phased closing of four months, followed by a total closure of four months was not efficient from a construction process nor could we provide a hospitality service experience our guests deserve,” said Richard “Boz” Bosworth, partner and chief executive officer of Virgin Las Vegas.

Employees will be helped as much as possible

Hard Rock/Virgin is excited and confident that it will come out the other end better than ever, but that does not necessarily help the employees. When the property closes, they will be out of work. The company is trying to soften the blow, launching the “Stick Around and Come Back” program.

Many employees are likely starting to look for other work right now, but with “Stick Around and Come Back,” the hotel will pay them a bonus for staying until the closing date. This bonus could be as much as ten weeks of pay. Employees who want to go back to the new Virgin Hotels Las Vegas when it re-opens will have their jobs waiting for them. No interview will be needed.

Commenting on the future of employees, Bosworth said:

Those employees will all be recalled. The ownership group is paying for them to return, and we want them to return.”

Virgin bought Hard Rock last year

Virgin Group announced its acquisition of Hard Rock Las Vegas in late March 2018 in a flashy, party-like press conference.

The company’s founder, Richard Branson, said at the time that the decision to buy an off-Strip property was intentional. Not being on the Las Vegas Strip meant not carrying a price premium. That price savings meant that Virgin could plow more money into the renovation. Branson also preferred a smaller, “boutique” hotel and casino.

The renovations of the property include all 1,500 hotel rooms, the five-acre pool deck, and The Joint rock club. Total costs are expected to be more than $200 million.

One thing that will likely disappoint Hard Rock fans is that the massive, Fender Stratocaster guitar sign will be removed. It is not clear if the property will retain its music theme, though Branson hinted that it might.

“It’s great to walk around and see memorabilia of Johnny Rotten, the Rolling Stones, Bowie and other Virgin bands plastered on the walls,” he wrote on the Virgin website when the purchase was announced.

“We’ll be bringing it back to its old glory again under the Virgin brand,” he added.

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