Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas Sold to Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels

We’ve shared the rumors for months, but insiders are now confirming the Hard Rock casino in Las Vegas has been purchased by bajillionaire Richard Branson and Virgin Hotels, along with Bosworth Hospitality Partners and Juniper Capital Partners.

We first wrote about Hard Rock changing hands back in March 2017. The first obvious sign a sale was in the works was a picket by Teamsters Union Local 986 meant to encourage the retention of their workforce if the sale moved forward.

Apparently, it has.

Hard Rock casino Las Vegas

Boom, sold, as the kids say.

Details of the sale haven’t yet been made public, but a well-placed source confirms staffers at the resort have been informed of deal.

The Hard Rock is currently owned by Brookfield Asset Management. The resort is operated by Brookfield and Warner Gaming.

Word is the off-Strip casino hasn’t been doing gangbuster business in recent months, so the buyers got a great deal on the place. Venues like MB Steak have been struggling mightily.

The prospect of Hard Rock becoming a Virgin hotel could breathe new life into the resort, and those familiar with the sale say the new branding will be accompanied by a renovation.

Virgin Hotels got its start in 2010 and is based in Miami. The one in Florida. Please try and keep up.

At one time, the stated business plan of Virgin Hotels was to “acquire distressed properties in North America cheaply,” and that’s the scenario which has unfolded at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Virgin Hotels

Fun fact: Las Vegas has long been associated with the word “virgin.” Note: We are a photo caption, not a historian.

Richard Branson has said the Virgin Hotels brand is “geared toward the female business traveler,” which would be an intriguing direction for Hard Rock.

Here’s a peek at what may be in store for the next iteration of Hard Rock in Las Vegas. Highlights: Mini-bars at sensible prices, a mobile app that controls the temperature and TV in your room, room service anywhere in the hotel and more.

There’s more to come, and we trust an official announcement will be made shortly.

Update (1/19/18): In a fascinating twist, the U.S. National Labor Relations Board has filed a complaint against the owner of Hard Rock, Brookfield Asset Management, for alleged labor violations. The charges were filed in Sep. 2017 by the Culinary Union.

Update (1/19/18): Our report about the sale of Hard Rock Las Vegas was bolstered by an item in the Las Vegas Review-Journal sparked by our story.

Update (1/24/18): We shared our Hard Rock scoop on Channel 8. Witness why we say we have a face for podcasting.

Update (3/6/18): An insider has shared that a letter from Hard Rock executives to vendors states the ownership change to Bosworth Hospitality, Juniper and Virgin will take effect March 31, 2018.

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18 thoughts on “Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas Sold to Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels

  1. FYMYAWF

    Interesting. I’ve only stepped foot in HR once, long ago; as a strip stayer I just never had much reason to go over there. Strip-style resorts off the strip (see Palms) have to be pretty special or have a pretty great hook to get people to make the effort. Maybe the Virgin brand will be that, at least at first. We’ll see if it sticks.

    Reply
  2. Big Steve

    Excellent development. I was worried it might get bought by either the Florida Seminoles who have a reputation for tight comps.

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  3. Photoncounter

    The Joint @HR is an awesome music venue. Not impressed with any of the dining options, they could do better by upping the quality of those.

    When flying Virgin Atlantic across the pond and utilizing their Upper Class Lounge in Heathrow you realize how crappy US airlines are and what service should be. While Branson has his faults, he understands First Class Service.

    Haven’t stayed at any Virgin Hotels but if this turns into one you can be assured the quality will vastly improve.

    Let the whiny Union picket, I’ll be happy to cross the line just to spite them.

    Reply
    1. Jon Martin

      Earning Virgin Miles on stays and as gambling comps would certainly be a very tempting offer to the high number of UK tourists in Vegas (me included) for whom typical comp offers of a free night or two a couple of months after the last visit are not that useful. There are obvious possibilities with Virgin Atlantic packages. If you matched that with competitive off-strip gaming rules and paytables (less likely, sadly), a decent room refresh and enough Virgin quirkiness and service to make it interesting, you’d have an attractive proposition.

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      1. nicnotnicky

        Yep, I always fly to Vegas with Virgin so additional miles always welcome! It’ll be interesting to see how this connects (if it does) with Virgin Holidays – at the moment their base is at the Tropicana, so the resort fees there are waved and I understand they have a base there for reps etc. Interesting to see if they’re going to move that to an off-strip location.

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  4. Misslaydj

    After reading the link from LA Biz I am intriged. It’s an amazing hotel and casino but as others mentioned most want strip action. It’s not like its CRAZY far but its not walking distance. I LOVEE rehab here but not sure about the food options. Would give it a whirl.

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  5. Manybar Goatfish

    It’d probably be wise to not call culinary workers “whiny” until all your food and drinks have been delivered to you. That’s just common sense.

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  6. William Wingo

    We stayed at HR once, long ago. IIRC, not a playable BJ or VP in the place. The restaurant was passable but crowded. Decor consisted of lots of black and silver; hundreds of electric guitars on the walls; and big photos of rock groups in the elevator lobbies. There was a Steve Wynn-type mini-snack-bar in the room–don’t pick anything up or it’ll be on the bill. The area was a little seedy: right across the street from Club Paradise, and a little further to Terribles (now Silver Sevens) and the Hofbrauhaus; not much else in the immediate area. The old Key Largo had just closed.
    It’s possible that Virgin could rework it into a self-contained “non-strip” or “locals” place like the Orleans or South Point, but I’m too cynical to bet on that.

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  7. Adam

    I typically only stay at the HRH if there’s a show I want to see. But it was always festive and a pretty fun time any time I was there.

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  8. Chrisn42

    So far the only open hotel is in Chicago and just celebrated it’s third anniversary. Others are being built but not open yet. I’ve stayed at the Chicago one a handful of times and have never had a bad experience. It’s one of my favorite places to stay. They have a free cocktail hour every evening, plus there isn’t a check in time. You can show up whenever on the day of arrival, you put your estimated arrival time when you book. The only downside is as of now there isn’t a rewards program. Just a preference program called “The Know” where you out what you like and they’ll customize the mini fridge and usually bring a welcome gift. The mini bar is street prices though, nothing crazy at all.

    I’m not sure how all of this will translate to Vegas though. If it’s anything like the Chicago one, it’s going to be a property to watch.

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  9. Falcon Falcone

    I missed the HRH of old, before the expansions, original “Rehab” and new “joint”. Everything has gone down hill since. Richard Branson is very good at identifying what makes things desirable. I have high hopes, and I’m hoping that includes gaming.

    Reply

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