Virgin Hotel Joins Hilton

hard rock sign

Once the Hard Rock resort finishes its remodel and opens under the Virgin Hotel name it will also become part of the Hilton Hotels reservation system and be part of the Hilton Honers loyalty program.

Unlike most Hilton Hotels this property will operate under its own brand name as its part of the Curio Collection by Hilton a collection of 30 properties in 7 countries that keep their individual identities.

After completion of the transformation the new Virgin Las Vegas will have 1,500 rooms and 110,000 square feet of meeting and event space. The Hard Rock is quite a distance from the Strip and it will be interesting to see how Virgin Hotels gets people to visit the resort. The Hard Rock used to draw rock fans and baby boomers as well as a younger crowd for its wildly popular day club called Rehab the Virgin is known in the United States but not the Virgin Hotels brand; although the Hilton Hotels reservation system will bring in visitors from the start which will help it.



Astral Resort Heading To South Strip

Astral Resort Las Vegas

Last year Asher Gabay bought a vacant motel across from the Mandalay Bay for $7.4 million with plans to built a new resort hotel on land now occupied by a Motel 8. We often hear about potential new resort properties that never go ahead but this one looks like it might happen in an area of the Strip across from resorts such as the Mandalay Bay and the Luxor which is mostly vacant motels or buildings. The planned resort will be called Astral and have a casino with 620 rooms over 34 floors as well as a four level underground parking garage, a sky lobby on the 32nd floor and of course a nightclub as well as a rooftop pool with a day club.

The current Motel 8 is expected to keep operating up until the planned start of construction in Spring of 2020. The project is expected to cost between $325 million and $350 million and with the Raiders Stadium now under construction located close by as well as possible extension of the monorail, the South Strip could be much busier by the planned 2022 opening date of this property.


Hard Rock To Close For Remodel

hard rock sign

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is about to go through an eight month remodel as its converted to the Virgin Hotel & Casino Las Vegas with the remodel due to start in September of next year. Employees have also been notified that the entire resort will close about February to May of 2020 to finish the renovations although that time frame could vary depending on construction.

As you might expect with a new name and remodel all 1,500 of the rooms will be remodeled as well as an expansion of the casino and events spaces. The popular music venue The Joint is going to get upgraded as well as the five acre pool area. As part of the remodel, new restaurants will be coming but no names have been announced yet.

It will be interesting to see how a Virgin branded property will work in the very competitive Las Vegas market, the Hard Rock resort had its rock theme to draw people with the giant guitar out front and rock memorabilia cases in the casino on display and rock playing in the pubic areas. The Virgin Hotel & Casino will draw visitors from the website and chain of hotels its building but i’m not sure how it will draw traffic away from the Las Vegas Strip; The resort could use tie ins with its Virgin Atlantic airline but it will be interesting to see what else they do to draw the Las Vegas visitor or local to the new resort.

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Year End Room Savings


Tomorrow is a good time to check out all the Black Friday room deals from Caesars or MGM and all the other Las Vegas resorts but as always check the fine print including the resort fees so you know what your final price is. Many visitors figure year end in Las Vegas might be expensive because of the huge room rates for New Years as well as high room rates for Christmas and in fact outside those times the room rates can be very good.

ChristmasDecember in Las Vegas can be a very inexpensive if you can be flexible with your dates and can avoid the dates when the National Finals Rodeo is in town. The NFR brings big crowds to Las Vegas so avoid it to save money it runs December 6th to the 15th so the first few days of the month or after the 15th and before Christmas would be good days to pick. If you have to be in town during the National Rodeo Finals and don’t plan to attend then the furthest you can get away from the event the more money you will save.

Many people do spend Christmas in Las Vegas i have done it before and it can be fun but room rates for Christmas are higher so if you want to save money the days right after Christmas can be much lower as its pretty slow in town so its a good time to save money; As you get close to New Years the price goes up but the days right after Christmas as well as the days after New Years in January can also be a good time to snag a cheap room.

One note about visiting Las Vegas at this time of the year is the weather is generally pretty good but it is also possible it could rain or have a heat wave but one thing to note whatever the weather is Las Vegas is in the desert and at this time of the year night time temperatures can be much lower than the temperature during the day.

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Palms Renovation Nears $700 Million

The ongoing remodel of the Palms by Station Casinos was originally budgeted at $485 million but that price tag has soared to $690 million. The reason for the price increase is the rising cost of materials as well as a tight labor market but the construction is on track to end by the third quarter of next year.

Even with the extra cost for Palms remodel i think its likely money well spent for Station Casinos for a property that’s not too far from the Strip and, especially if the rumors of a new hotel or arena at the nearby Rio come to fruition.

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New Club Opens At Rio

Rio, Las Vegas

A club named DB172 has opened at the Rio in the former space of Cafe Martorano in a 7,000 square foot with a music, dining and drinking venue. The unusual club names meaning is the loudest sound ever recorded which was the eruption of the volcano Krakatoa in 1883 that had a sound level of 172 decibels thus the name 172DB.

DB172 is going to showcase lesser known local bands with ticket prices starting at a bargain $10 plus the usual fees and taxes.

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Tropicana Adds Parking Fee

Tropicana Entrance

The Tropicana held out for a long time but it has announced that it has began charging non resort guests for parking when events are taking place in the area mainly at the MGM Grand Garden Arena across the street and the T Mobile Arena. The Tropicana is surrounded by MGM properties that charge for parking so i’m sure a lot of people would park at the Tropicana to avoid parking fees during events.

Robert Irvines Public HouseThe new parking charge during events will be $15 but it does include a $10 off coupon for food and drink at Robert Irvine’s Public House inside the Tropicana. The parking charge for the moment doesn’t apply to non guests outside the events but that could change in the future as we often see with these fees.


Circus Circus 50th Birthday Today

Circus Circus, Las Vegas

Circus Circus today celebrates its 50th birthday the North Strip big topped themed resort was opened on this day in 1968 by Jay Sarno who conceived Caesars Palace and became president of the new Circus Circus. The original cost of Circus Circus in 1968 was $15 million which doesn’t sound like much in today’s dollars but that was a lot of money in 1968.

Circus Circus is the third oldest property on the Strip after both the Tropicana and Caesars Palace and maybe even fourth if you count the SLS which dates back to December 1952 and was most of that time called the Sahara. I have to admit i’m not the biggest fan of Circus Circus although it has its fans and its on Strip RV Park is a big draw.

The property makes money for MGM and even though for many years there have been rumors about Circus Circus closing I don’t see if happening anytime soon especially as the property makes money. After the Resorts World project and The Drew on the North Strip open maybe MGM Resorts will reexamine Circus Circus and its future but for the moment it seams safe.

Happy Birthday and congrats to Circus Circus on its 50th birthday

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SLS $100 Million Renovation

The north strip SLS has begun a $100 million renovation which will see all 1,615 rooms upgraded as replacement of slot machines and a redesign of the current pool area over the next years. Currently the SLS is pretty much on its own on that section of the north strip but with The Drew and Resorts World Las Vegas planned openings over the next could of years its seems the SLS is getting the property ready for the new competition; The new resorts will increase traffic to the north strip and the SLS is looking to get some of that business.

Fremont Major Expansion

Fremont Hotel & Casino

The Fremont in Downtown Las Vegas is often a hotel i stay in when i visit Las Vegas and now comes the announcement from Boyd Gaming of a possible expansion to the property. Boyd Gaming has submitted permits to build a 32 story hotel tower with 509 rooms at the back of the property on Ogden Avenue.

The plans submitted also include a remodel of the existing 447 rooms which are in a 15 story tower that was build in 1956 which at the time was the tallest in Las Vegas. The casino size will also increase by 22,000 square feet and will include a new race and sports book and an expansion of the parking garage.

No date has been announced yet about when construction would begin but when it does start its expected to take about 30 months and cost $32 million. As i said previously i often stay at this hotel and its always a shame to see things change but its the nature of Las Vegas things often change.

The California another Boyd property downtown has been getting a make over of its 2nd floor casino space and Downtown in general has been getting more competitive in general in recent years as properties have upgraded. Boyd’s Gaming has three resorts in Downtown Las Vegas the California, Fremont and Main Street Station  and its not really a surprise that after paying down debt they would look at making there existing properties more competitive in the marketplace.