It was 415 days since the Hard Rock Hotel closed.
On Thursday evening, the doors reopened with several flourishes, including a new owner and casino operator and a fresh look.
“May we live in a world and may Las Vegas live in a world where we never have to close our resort doors again,” said Richard “Boz” Bosworth, President and CEO of JC Hospitality, owner of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. afterwards he removed a gold chain that secured the front door.
“How proud we are to open tonight, not with fireworks, not with lasers shooting into the sky, but as Las Vegas begins to reopen and recover,” he said. “We welcome the community back to 4455 Paradise and 1,600 hotel professionals who have been unemployed for a year.”
Audiences got their first glimpse of the property after the 40-minute opening ceremony in the hotel’s East Porte Cochere, which included performances by a quartet of bagpipers, a contingent of the Vegas Golden Knights Drumbot Drumline, and a red double-decker bus that was en route to the resort’s corridor and was part of Virgin’s pre-opening advertising campaign.
A former Hard Rock employee jumped from person to person on the casino floor, chatting and chatting with friends old and new.
“When I got in here, the first thing I said was, ‘I’ll be back,'” Denise Bassard announced to a slot machine with her feet up high.
And she plans to hold out.
The Las Vegas resident was a casino doorman in Hard Rock before it closed last February, she said. Bassard said the previous hotel was wonderful. The first time she walks around the Virgin Hotel and sees many of her former employees, she is excited and itchy to return as an employee.
“That’s why I walk around like a candy store,” said Bassard.
Your familiarity with people would come in handy.
“In fact, I got lost. I had to ask a security guard who I know where the bathroom is, ”she said with a laugh.
The anticipation of the big day prevented some of Virgin’s workers from getting a good night’s sleep.
A card dealer answered a guest’s questions with a smile that even a mask couldn’t hide.
“I’m really excited,” said Theresa Caple about 15 minutes before the casino officially opened. “I was so excited to come here today that I couldn’t even sleep.”
She has a day job in the medical field and has dealt cards in other casinos. Caple was there on Thursday as a temporary worker at the Casino Job Center, hoping she will be hired full-time.
The Virgin Hotel was too exciting an opportunity to pass up, she said. She is a huge fan of the Virgin brand and its founder Richard Branson.
“I wanted to be here. I wanted to be here, ”said Caple.
It has been a while since she last worked at a casino so she brushed up on her skills at the Crescent School of Gaming and Bartending.
“I had to,” she said. “I took blood from people, I didn’t give out any cards.”
Nearby, Marci Soulia, a 49-year-old cocktail waitress, carried a tray of miniature water bottles across the casino floor minutes before it opened to the public.
She was also happy to be there.
“I hardly slept last night,” she said.
Mike Roark and Jessica Pacheco wondered if the nearby line of about 100 people was for people who wanted to sign up for Mohegan’s Momentum Rewards program.
Las Vegas locals spend the weekend at the property. Pacheco, 44, said the engaged couple visited Hard Rock on occasion but thought they should watch the opening. They were impressed with what they saw.
“Opening night. Why not?” quipped Roark, 67. “See what they bring because they’ll be doing their best tonight.”
“And I think even after COVID and after being locked up for so long, we’re all just ready to run out of the house,” added Pacheco.
“Without the masks you’d think this is a normal casino opening,” Roark said with a chuckle.
People of all ages packed the casino floor and the event lawn on the opening night.
Plexiglass partitions divided the seats at slot machines and the seats at the gaming tables.
It appeared that every casino employee wore a mask on Thursday; Almost all of the guests also wore one. Most of those who weren’t at a restaurant table or had something to drink in hand.
A maskless woman waiting in line near the Night + Market restaurant overheard her say, “If the masked police come over, they’ll get me.” Every other guest in line seemed to have one.
Costumed and painted performers strode across the floor of the casino on massive stilts, positioned themselves as living statues on a heart sculpture in the lobby and danced near the restaurants.
A pair of women in reflective, figure-hugging costumes strolled past a dunkin ‘near the Casa Calavera restaurant. A man in a blue suit jacket remarked to another man he was walking with: “Hey, I’m glad I didn’t wear my mirror jacket.”
The hotel rooms were already sold out for the opening night. Executives from Virgin, JC Hospitality LLC and the Mohegan Sun Indian Tribe exchanged gifts for the resort as part of the new partnership.
Ray Pineault, Chief Operating Officer of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, operator of the casino, presented Bosworth with a traditional Mohegan blanket, symbolizing that the entire tribe is forming a new friendship.
Spirit of water
The casino staff have embraced what the Mohegan Sun Tribe calls “the Spirit of Aquai,” a centuries-old guiding philosophy that promotes a warm and welcoming atmosphere, passionate and dedicated staff based on mutual respect, providing outstanding service and productive long term Build relationships.
Clark County Commissioner Jim Gibson presented Bosworth with a “key to the Strip” and proclaimed “Virgin Hotels Las Vegas Day” on Thursday.
Virgin opened its doors with 12 restaurants and The Manor, a collection of convention halls and an outdoor lawn for entertainment, business and trade shows. The 5 hectare pool area is still under construction, but should be opened by the summer.
The cool breeze swirled around the opening ceremony, and jets flying into McCarran International Airport disrupted some of the speeches. That was not lost on Danny Hughes, President of Hilton Americas.
“I love to see the planes fly by because it means people are traveling again,” he said during his presentation.
While Virgin’s founder Branson wasn’t part of the celebration, it was James Bermingham, CEO of Virgin Hotels, and he said Branson “would be proud to paint Las Vegas Virgin red.”
There are many British and Desert Southwest vibrations associated with property. The 1,500 hotel rooms and suites are known as “chambers”. Sports betting will be operated by Betfred, a UK company, once it has been licensed by the state.
Pastel shades of pink and purple with surprising green tones of cacti and bushes surround the property.
“Much of the inspiration came very early on from the journey you would see if you came to Las Vegas through the desert,” said Gary Scott, chief operating officer of JC Hospitality. “You will see a lot of green … but it’s light, fresh and airy. And really, it embodies the spirit you might have found in Palm Springs years ago. “
Most of Virgin’s 1,600 employees are ex-Hard Rock employees, and at the casino half of the 600 slot machines on the casino floor are holdovers from the Hard Rock days while the other half are new additions to the property.
The off-strip resort will be part of the Curio Collection by Hilton and combine a passion for food and drink with music and culture. Three hotel towers, the 60,000 square meter casino, a five hectare desert pool oasis with a multifunctional event lawn; a live music and entertainment theater with a capacity of 4,500 and 24 Oxford, a showroom for 650 guests.
The restaurant mix includes 12 eateries, including Todd Englishs Olives, Kris Yenbamroong’s Night + Market, Nobu, Michael and David Mortons One Steakhouse, Kassi Beach House from restaurateur Nick Mathers, Casa Calavera from global hotel company Hakkasan Group and sports entertainment. Daytime and night life called Money, baby! by Justin Massei and Mikis Troyan from Clive Collective.
Other dining options include Afters Ice Cream, Pizza Forte by the Ferraro family and the typical restaurants and bars of Virgin Hotels, including The Kitchen at Commons Club, The Bar at Commons Club, The Shag Room and Funny Library Coffee Shop.
The group of owners includes JC Hospitality, LLC, in partnership with Juniper Capital Partners, Virgin Group, LiUNA, Fengate Asset Management, Dream and Orlando Development.
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas will have the benefit of having three loyalty clubs feeding customers into the hotel, Hilton’s Hilton Honors, Virgin’s The Know, and Mohegan Sun’s Momentum.
Thursday’s opening will include live music on The Lawn, a meeting point that doubles as a meeting and convention area but is not expected to include the VIP party normally associated with the opening of resorts. Real estate officials said a VIP opening would likely take place once more people get vaccinated and coronavirus cases drop.