When Peter Morton opened his die-hard Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on Paradise Road, a mile east of the Las Vegas Strip, in 1995, it was called a Vegas Resort for a New Generation. And this generation made some of the wildest (and perhaps haziest) memories in town, lined up in a row that stretched from the casino to the infamous rehab pool party, where $ 10,000 cabanas could go and let it rain – dollar bills, champagne – just meant it was Sunday. It was a permanent spring break where you could venture up to your rock idol at the Center Bar and enjoy the general lawlessness that Sin City had in its early infancy.
The hotel channels its surroundings, the Mojave Desert, in its design.
What you’re about to experience now in the same space that recently opened as Virgin Hotels Las Vegas after it closed in February 2020 is markedly different – a resort, you might say, for a new generation. Gone is Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx motorcycle and Britney Spears’ baby one more time schoolgirl outfit. In their place: from the desert-inspired decor, from a free, Moroccan-influenced reception room and the Shag Room Lounge in the tent inspired by Studio 54-meets-the-Kasbah to towering saguaro cacti in planters along the periphery of the casino. “I would like to think that we took it further from the original [Desert Modern] Design intent to recognize and respect the planet, ”said Richard ‘Boz’ Bosworth, owner of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. “You come to the sights and sounds of the desert. It’s the gems you see, the earth tones, the feel of Gaia. We’re even playing with the idea of bringing in a Joshua Tree. “
That said, in a city full of themed resorts meant to get you to Venice, Lake Como, Egypt and New York City, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas wants to get you exactly where you are – in the middle of the Mojave Desert.
When I checked into Virgin in early April, the hotel was in the middle of a gentle opening. It had not yet opened its five hectare backyard with a 17,000 square meter event meadow (directly above the old rehab pool party spot) and a multi-level, Mykonos-inspired Elía Day Club. Nor had it opened 24 Oxford (which replaces the live vinyl music venue) or The Theater (the 4,500-seat venue plus the VIP lounge which replaces The Joint). Restaurant and bar areas like Kassi Beach House, Baby! by Clive Collective, Todd English’s Olives, and indoor / outdoor sports betting and entertainment area Money will be open all summer.