After being sold to Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group in February 2018, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas has announced that it will temporarily close this coming February.

To be re-branded Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, the hotel and casino is expected to reopen its doors by January 2021, however, it could be completed as early as fall next year.

Acquisition by Virgin:

Announced in spring 2018, the 24-year-old hotel property was purchased by Virgin Hotels, founded by the 69-year-old British billionaire business magnate in 2010, along with a group of partners, including Los Angles-based investment firm, Juniper Capital Partners.

According to KTNV and the Las Vegas Review-Journal…

…the most recent plan from hotel officials was for resort renovations to be phased in over four months, beginning on February 2 (Super Bowl LIV Sunday) followed by a four-month closing and a relaunch after the 2020 presidential campaign.

Bosworth statement:

In a Friday statement, Richard “Boz” Bosworth, ownership partner and Chief Executive Officer for Hard Rock/Virgin Hotels, explained the revised construction schedule…

“We determined that a phased closing of four months, followed by a total closure of four months was not efficient from a construction process nor could we provide a hospitality service experience our guests deserve. Therefore an approximate eight-month closure would be most efficient and ensure a timely opening prior to January 2021. We might be ready in October, but construction is an imperfect process. Until early February 2020 it is business as usual at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. Virgin Hotels Las Vegas promises to be one of the most exciting, vibrant, and anticipated properties to open in Las Vegas in years.”

Employee retention effort:

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, an effort to get the 24-year-old hotel’s approximately 1,650 employees to remain with the company has been dubbed the “Stick Around And Come Back” program.

Employees who are still with the company upon closing will reportedly receive a lump-sum retention bonus, up to 10 weeks of payment. Workers wishing to be employed by the business that will then be Virgin Hotels Las Vegas will not need to re-interview for their presently held positions.

“Those employees will all be recalled. The ownership group is paying for them to return, and we want them to return,” said Bosworth (pictured, right).

Renovation plans:

The founder and managing member of Las Vegas-based investment company, Bosworth Hospitality Partners LLC, reportedly said that the total cost of overhauling the resort will be upwards of $200 million, some $50 million more than previously announced. And added that they are expecting to announce Virgin Hotels’ partners in gaming, nightlife-day-life and food-and-beverage, in November.

A July announcement from resort ownership group, J.C. Hospitality, communicated that it will partner with AEG Presents as its operations partner for the 4,000 seat showroom located inside the Hard Rock, The Joint, which according to the Review-Journal will also be given a make-over as part of the hotel’s overhaul.

Programming at the showroom that opened in 1995 will continue through the year’s end.

Also to remain unchanged are previously booked large scale conventions, including the Adult Entertainment Expo/Adult Video News awards along with Harman JBL during CES, which will reportedly remain under contract during the changeover.

An earlier report from the Review-Journal communicated that the overhaul will include relocating the Center Bar to allow for additional casino space, with a formal title to be given to the new bar. Additionally, the 4,550 square foot, Vinyl, the multi-function space home of Raiding the Rock Vault through December, will be reimagined as a nightclub complete with a 3,000 sq ft expansion where live DJs will take the place of live stage shows.

Increasing project scope:

According to an April Review-Journal report, originally, the renovation project was slated to begin in the late summer/early fall of 2019, and by next spring the eight-month project completed. However, hotel officials at the time emphasized the scale of the renovation promoted the date change.

Bosworth reportedly stated at the time…

“The property’s project deadlines were fluid and the scope of the project continued to expand. Based on the additional improvements that we have identified, the deadline to begin work has shifted to early 2020. Significant construction activities remain 10 months away and the property will remain open for business without any disruptions to our guests and team members through Super Bowl of 2020.”

Hilton partnership:

In January the hotel announced its partnership in the worldwide Curio Collection by Hilton customer-service program and will participate in Hilton’s guest loyalty program, Hilton Honors.

Of the hotels within Hilton’s Collection Brands, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas will be the only property located in Sin City and the largest in the world with over 1,500 guest rooms and more than 110,000 square feet of meeting and events space, according to Hilton.