If you notice that Hard Rock doesn’t look like it used to, it’s not just you. The iconic, 80-foot-tall neon Hard Rock guitar that once stood on the corner of Paradise and Harmon is no longer a landmark, (it’s been retired to the Neon Museum, if you miss it that much), a casualty of when the Hard Rock Café closed late in 2017. Perhaps that was an omen of things to come.
For visitors seeking to achieve a certain level of “cool,” the Hard Rock is—or was—the place. We’re using past tense because gazillionaire Richard Branson snapped up the property to add to his portfolio. Even though Hard Rock gave itself a facelift just in 2016, under Branson she’ll be born again as a Virgin Hotel by the end of 2019.
The Hard Rock has always built itself on nostalgia, so if you really want a last look, now’s the time to do it. However, you’ll be walking into a construction zone, so check the website, and the social media scuttlebutt, before booking.
As of press time, it’s all very up in the air of what will stay, and what will go, as the entire property is being overhauled in phases. But we do know as part of the virgin-izing, the 1,500 rooms and suites will now be called “chambers.” Thanks, Branson.
Until then, Hard Rock will continue to operate as Hard Rock. Original Casino Tower rooms boast ultramodern furnishings, a steely color palette, and French doors that fully open onto a railing, but no balcony (just don’t channel your inner Keith Richards and throw anything out the window). Paradise Tower rooms run slightly larger and are warmer in color, but have the same amenities, including fully stocked mini-bars, 40-inch TVs, and extra-large showers. The HRH Tower, which was only redone a couple of years ago, features all suites, but departs from the color scheme and goes with clean white all around, from the linen and furnishings to the TV hutch that separates the sleeping and living rooms. Open-minded guests might be interested in the fetish-themed Provocateur Penthouse, enhanced with furniture custom made for more risqué activities.
Sadly, notorious weekend pool party Rehab called it quits at the end of the summer 2018. It’s not as if there aren’t other crazy pool parties every weekend at many other properties, but some of us might miss the debauchery. The Joint will likely remain as a concert venue, with big acts such as Nine Inch Nails, Goo Goo Dolls and Lauryn Hill already booked through the end of the year. Proof that Hard Rock can still close it out like a rock star.