Hard Rock Las Vegas to Close Its Doors on Monday Morning

  • Property to be renovated into Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, will open in the fall
  • Last Great Party Weekend will feature free live music Thursday through Sunday
  • New premises will have a modern desert theme and a 60,000-square-foot casino 
  • “Stick Around and Come Back” program will see displaced employees get their jobs back
Guitar feature on roof of Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas
Hard Rock Las Vegas will close at 3:00am Monday to be renovated for most of the year, relaunching as Virgin Hotels Las Vegas in the fall. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Reopening as Virgin Hotels Las Vegas in the fall

The casino landscape of Las Vegas will soon change as the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas enters its final weekend of existence. The 25-year-old property will close at 3:00am Monday to begin its metamorphosis into Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. The new hotel and casino are set to open for business in the fall.

The Hard Rock opened its doors on March 9, 1995, with the goal of attracting a younger audience to the location just off the Strip. It focused more on entertainment than on gambling and had a much smaller casino than its competitors.

Hard Rock was a place for that field of entertainment.”

The Hard Rock helped Las Vegas compete against the rise of tribal casinos, as well as Atlantic City, because of its entertainment focus.

“There were some concert venues here, but it was very rare to have rock acts in showrooms,” UNLV associate professor of history Michael Green told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Hard Rock was a place for that field of entertainment.”

Party all weekend

The Hard Rock is throwing one last bash before the closure, with the Last Great Party Weekend taking place Thursday through Sunday.

Free live music starts at 8:00pm at the Center Bar, the Peacock Lounge, and outside Fu Asian Kitchen. The Growlers will also be performing at Vinyl Friday through Sunday at 9:00pm. Tickets cost $45.

The hotel will give away memorabilia throughout the weekend. A number of food and drink items will have their prices rolled back to 1995 levels.

On Saturday at 8:00pm, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas’s chief executive officer, Richard “Boz” Bosworth, will offer up a final toast to the Hard Rock. “All that good energy (at Hard Rock) needs to be carried forward,” he told the Review-Journal, adding,

I think we’re going to be as meaningful and as relevant as Hard Rock was in the late ’90s.”

The weekend will conclude with a Super Bowl watching party Sunday night.

Additionally, starting February 1, the Hard Rock will be selling its furniture to the public. For $800, people can buy a massive two-bedroom package that includes a king or queen bed frame and headboard (no mattress), two nightstands, sofa, ottoman, end table, two lamps, dresser, desk, and chair, and two 42″ or larger televisions. For $400, people can choose one room or the other.

Difficult decision to close for so long

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson bought the Hard Rock in March 2018 from Brookfield Asset Management. Joining Virgin in the acquisition, among others, was Juniper Capital Partners, of which Richard Bosworth was a partner.

The music theme will be no more and is to be replaced by a “modern desert” theme. It will have a 60,000-square-foot casino and 110,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

Originally, Virgin Group planned to complete renovations in phases, closing certain portions of the property for four months at a time while keeping the overall premises open most of the year. Last summer, the company decided to just shut things down completely.

“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 Bosworth.

To try to help employees who will be out of work once the Hard Rock closes, Virgin implemented the “Stick Around and Come Back” program. Staff who stay all the way through the closing date will receive bonuses of up to ten weeks’ pay. Additionally, those who want to work for Virgin Hotels Las Vegas when it opens will get their jobs back without an interview.