We’re less than a month from the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas opening and I think you’re not as excited as you should be. Sure, it was pushed back – November through January through March 25 – but that shouldn’t dampen your excitement. Pandemic stuff. If it had made sense to open the doors to that shiny new grand entrance this fall, it would have happened. This place really wants to see you badly.
Your anticipation for Virgo should turn almost mad for a variety of reasons, some of which you already know about. A lot of information about the hotel, the casino and the restaurants have been published, and the restaurant offer in particular should offer you a tingling sensation: the Mexican Cantina Casa Calavera of the Hakkasan Group, the Thai street food phenomenon Night + Market in LA, the Kassi Beach the coast with an Italian-themed club, the return of Todd Englishs Olives and an evolution of the original Vegas Nobu and the renovation and expansion of their superb Hard Rock Hotel restaurant by the Morton Brothers to become One Steakhouse.
You probably already know that the iconic concert hall formerly known as the Joint is going to be renamed (currently theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas) and will continue to be a major music and entertainment venue thanks to a partnership with AEG in Las Vegas . What hasn’t been fully revealed – just for entertainment writers like me – is the full entertainment picture at Virgin and the innovative, organic way the eclectic venues work together to create a very different Vegas resort experience.
Richard Bosworth, President and CEO of JC Hospitality, owner of Virgin Las Vegas, gave a lot of leads in November just before the opening date was again delayed. The theater room will bring the great energy and set the tone, much like the joint colored the mood at Hard Rock, but many other entertainment experiences will be spread throughout Virgin.
The old vinyl room becomes 24 Oxford, named after the address of Virgin Mogul Richard Branson’s first record store in London. and maybe there is an alt rock band or a comedy show, ”says Bosworth. “It will be a versatile space. When I think of music venues and bars in large resorts, they don’t have that much that is suitable for this type of casual setting. “There are plans to highlight local musicians and performers there as well.
The Commons Club replaces the old Center Bar, although it’s not quite in the same location, as all of the casino’s floor space has been changed to improve the flow. It will offer more entertainment than the Center Bar ever, along with a variety of settings from the Shag Room Ultralounge to a 24-hour restaurant and bar spacer.
“We’re going to have recognizable artists playing at the bar in the Commons Club or the Shag Room every day and night, and the goal is not to advertise or charge for it,” says Bosworth. “We’re going to get it mixed up, but the whole thought process is a bit of a throwback to old Vegas when you walked into a lounge and never knew who was going to stand up and perform – that kind of surprise environment. We aim to provide high quality, exciting entertainment throughout the property as the normal course of business. “
Bosworth has already stated that there are no plans for a large Vegas mega-club in Virgin, but the old Body English room is being redeveloped. The Vanity Club became Money Baby !, a combined sports bar and entertainment venue.
“We don’t have to be big to be successful, and we don’t need 100,000 or 50,000 square feet to have this great experience,” he says. “We want to do this in smaller spaces where we can pay more attention to the customer and provide a more intimate experience with entertainment and great service.”
If you prefer a sprawling space, you can find it outside in the five-acre pool and entertainment complex known as the backyard. Virgin’s versatile event lawn will have fire pits, birdcage seating, shrubbery, and log walls separating the space from a path that winds around the pools and various restaurant terraces, as well as an indoor event space called the Manor.
Bosworth suggests that the outdoor area provide a Hollywood Bowl-style concert experience and also be available for private functions and weddings. The Hard Rock was known for its iconic rehab pool parties, but this backyard wasn’t originally designed for various events. Now it’s between a designated, relaxing resort pool experience and the event lawn. And in April, a separate, two-story day club will arrive that Bosworth expects to rival the biggest pool parties on the Strip.
“The exception I think that will take it to another level is adding some music festival elements, something you might see on Burning Man or EDC or Coachella,” he said. “We felt that for today’s generation of festival goers outdoors it is very important not just to be a pool party, but rather to make it a festival element.”
Are you excited now?