Bob Sehlinger, the author of The Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas, checks out the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Join him on a tour!
The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino lives up to its name and rocks around the clock. The hotel is fun, comfortable, and informal. Powerful music elevates the energy level with a constant percussive din. The 18-floor Paradise Tower, the larger of HRH’s two towers, has 490 tribal tattoo, rock ’n’ roll-decadent rooms with all the high-tech bells and whistles. Bathrooms are spacious but offer showers only. This tower is convenient to the conference area. Request a poolside room for a voyeur’s view overlooking the tropical gardens.
The all-suite HRH Tower, with a higher level of service, appeals to an older, more affluent demographic. The tower’s subdued lobby provides guests with a private registration area. A KISS photo-montage tapestry, a gigantic hologram of Jimi Hendrix, and Michael Jackson’s $50,000 sequined white glove grace the lobby’s black walls.
Guest rooms have a clean, contemporary look in muted beige, white, and black with parquet floors at the entry. A glass wall divides the bedroom and bath, with an optional curtain. Every room features a wet bar and photos and lithographs of iconic rock stars. A detached wall with back-to-back wide-screen TVs divides the sitting area and bedroom. Guests will want to rock out to the in-room Sound Matters Sound Bar jukebox, with 2,000 songs available at a touch. Choose a genre, artist, or decade and download songs to your own iPod.
Along the casino perimeter and in the shopping arcade are restaurants Nobu, Pink Taco, MB Steak, Fú Asian Kitchen, Oyster Bar, Culinary Dropout, Goose Island Pub, Mr. Lucky’s diner, Pizza Forte, and Fuel Café. Boutiques include Affliction, Hart & Huntington Tattoo Co., and John Varvatos.
A recent 40,000-square-foot casino extension where The Joint (Las Vegas’s first rock venue) used to be features an international pit offering pai gow, baccarat, mini- and midi-baccarat, slots, and a high-limit room. Both casinos exhibit museum-quality rock memorabilia. The upsized Joint showroom seats 4,000 and features top rock artists. While the sound system is state-of-the-art, the floor-seating configuration is not inclined, so sight lines are poor from the middle and rear of the showroom.
The 25,000-square-foot Reliquary Water Sanctuary & Spa creates a luxurious experience in spartan surroundings. Although there are detached areas for men and women, the high-decibel bathhouse and lounge are coed. Treatment rooms include an area for couples massage with a tub and four-person party rooms with treatment beds and TVs for bachelor and bachelorette groups. There’s also a small fitness center with an adjoining hair salon. Another well-equipped fitness center with a steam room and Jacuzzi is located downstairs.
The extensive Beach Club pool complex is notorious for its televised anything-goes Rehab parties. Five pools are divided into two sections, with the walled Rehab zone imposing a cover charge on afternoons when a TV crew is filming. An elevated infinity pool adjoins the Skybar and Restaurant and overlooks the shallow dish pool. The complex features island-themed evening concerts. Avoid the Rehab side on summertime Sundays if you’re seeking solitude and the sounds of silence.
The 14,000-square-foot Vanity Nightclub is adorned with antique mirrors, crystals, pearl light fixtures, diamond patterns, and shiny copper walls pierced with metallic gold threads. Above the dance floor is the centerpiece $1 million cyclone chandelier, composed of 20,000 LED lights that can produce a Technicolor image, text, or movies. Unlike other clubs, Vanity boasts open seating. A fire pit dominates the casual outdoor patio overlooking the Beach Club.
Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas Banner: Joao Carlos Medau from Campinas, Brazil [CC BY 2.0] Vegetarian dish at Nobu: Nikchick [CC BY-SA 2.0] Pool of the Hard Rock Hotel Casino: Ted Murphy [CC BY 2.0] Hard Rock Hotel and Casino by night: Ronnie Macdonald from Chelmsford, United Kingdom [CC BY 2.0]