Opening day approaching for Virgin Hotels Las Vegas

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A rendering of the casino floor at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. The property is set to open Jan. 15.
A rendering of the casino floor at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. The property is set to open Jan. 15.

Anticipation is building for the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, set to open Jan. 15 following the renovation and rebranding of the former Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Richard "Boz" Bosworth, president and CEO of JC Hospitality, owner of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, stressed the resilience of the hospitality, gaming and entertainment industry in announcing the opening date.

"Lightning will strike twice at 4455 Paradise," referring to the address of the former Hard Rock, which opened to great fanfare in 1995. The property closed in February, before the pandemic's outset, for the rebranding work.

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas will be part of the Curio Collection by Hilton. In addition to a 60,000-square-foot casino operated by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, the off-Strip property will feature more than 1,500 rooms (known as chambers) and suites, a five-acre pool area, 117,000 square feet of indoor meeting and events space and 12 dining venues.

The Joint, a live music and entertainment venue with a capacity of more than 4,500, will be rebranded, according to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The facility will be operated by AEG Presents.

Room Design
Studio Collective, a Los Angeles-based design firm, is designing the property's rooms and suites. Aesthetics will celebrate the property's modern desert ambience, a spokesman said. Rooms will be bright and feature a neutral color palate with whimsical touches.

"We drew inspiration from the surrounding desert landscape, which is reflected in our designs for the chambers," said Adam Goldstein, design director and partner at Studio Collective.

Three distinctive towers -- Opal, Canyon and the all-suite Ruby Tower -- will offer a variety of guest experiences. Opal Tower will be near the meetings and convention spaces, and Canyon will offer views of the Vegas cityscape as well as the property's pool. Guests in the Ruby Tower will have a dedicated valet and exclusive check-in area.

Guests can have a touch-free experience with mobile app Lucy. Using their smartphones, they can enter a room; control lighting, thermostats and TVs; order room service; and check out.

Restaurant lineup
The Hakkasan Group will open the second location of its newest social dining brand, Casa Calavera, a Mexican cantina concept, at the resort.

Since opening its first spot in San Jose del Cabo in 2018, Casa Calavera has built a reputation as one of Mexico's most Instagrammable restaurants. In addition to Mexican tiles, pebbles and stacked stone, the restaurant will feature original art installations inspired by traditional calavera art (representations of human skulls), Lady Catrina (Mexico's Lady of Death, who protects the bones of the dead and presides over death festivals) and symbolic references to Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). An outdoor patio with sand will have sweeping views of the pool.

A rendering of Casa Calavera, a Mexican cantina concept, at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
A rendering of Casa Calavera, a Mexican cantina concept, at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Photo Credit: Hakkasan Group

Guests can expect authentic Mexican cuisine and classic alcoholic beverages created with a contemporary twist, including margaritas, mojitos and craft cocktails.

"Casa Calavera will offer a relaxed, open-air day experience with pool access, while also providing a trendy preparty evening stop for drinks and dinner," Bosworth said.

A number of other restaurant partners have been announced, including James Beard Award-winning chef Todd English's Olives, which closed at Bellagio in 2017; a Thai eatery by Kris Yenbamroong; Nobu by chef Nobu Matsuhisa; and Kassi Beach Club, a European-style restaurant and ultra-lounge combining coastal Italian flavors with the spirit of the Mediterranean.

David and Michael Morton will also reveal a new look for MB Steak, an old-school steakhouse.

Money, Baby! will have what is described as a "funky midcentury style," with indoor and outdoor spaces. It will combine sports-viewing experiences with sports betting, interactive games, innovative food and cocktails.

Afters Ice Cream, a Southern California favorite, will open its first location outside of California. Pizza Forte, one of Las Vegas' longest-running family-owned and -operated Italian restaurants, will have pizza by the slice, whole pizzas, meatballs and Italian street food.

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas will also house the Kitchen at Commons Club, a contemporary American eatery with British Brasserie sensibility, a nod to Virgin's British roots.

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