Richard Branson and Virgin Hotels announced yesterday that they will be taking over the Hard Rock hotel in Vegas. They’ll operate it as the Hard Rock through 2018 and start work on renovations in 2019 to transform the property into a Virgin Hotel while the facility remains open. In an interview with Condé Nast Traveler, Branson shares his vision for the updated hotel and other locations and ideas considered (imagine a “V” at the beginning Strip with a hotel actually inside the V – “so people could think, “This is Vegas or Virgin” as they arrived).
Richard Branson: Look, I’ve wanted to do a hotel in Vegas for many, many, years and we’ve had many different designs for hotels, from scratch right through to having a giant Virgin “V” at the beginning of the Strip. My favorite hotel for many years has been the Hard Rock. It’s been allowed to get a bit tired over the years, but it’s got fantastic staff and that’s the absolute key. It needs a lot of money spent on it, and we’ve been experimenting on people in Chicago, and we’re about to experiment on people in San Francisco, and we have lovely boutique places around the world—so we think we’re ready now to put some magic back into this property.
Will there be some tie-up between Virgin Atlantic and the hotel? Special transportation or a greeting area?
RB: I think we’re going to extend the runway to the front of the hotel, and drop people off straight into the hotel [Laughs]. Or have a tunnel right underneath so that a 747 can drop them off.
Full interview here.