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Bye, Hard Rock Hotel. Hello, Virgin. Las Vegas hotel to close during changeover

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The Hard Rock Hotel east of the Las Vegas Strip will close it doors later this year as renovations switch into high gear. The resort’s 80-foot-tall guitar has already been removed.
(Hard Rock Hotel & Casino)

If you want to stay at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, you’d better grab a room before fall. The storied site will close for about four months before it re-emerges as a Virgin Hotel in 2020.

Dates are still fuzzy on exactly when all of this will take place at the resort two miles east of the Strip at Harmon Avenue and Paradise Road.

“You’ve got one opportunity to really enter the market,” said Richard Bosworth, chief executive of JC Hospitality, which owns the property. “And we want to make sure that we’re doing that correctly and that we’re not piecemealing aspects of the property: a restaurant here, a hotel room there.”

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Rascal Flatts perform to a full house at the Joint in 2015. The popular music venue will remain open after a renovation.
(Erik Kabik)

Bosworth said keeping the hotel open during the transition would have been too disruptive for guests.

Virgin Hotels currently operates hotels in San Francisco and Chicago, with more planned. Renovated rooms will look like other Virgin hotels, with a design that’s “modern, contemporary, light and airy, authentic [and] welcoming,” Raul Leal, chief executive of Virgin Hotels, said.

The hotel’s popular music venue, the Joint, will remain, but also will be upgraded and maybe renamed. Rehab, the Hard Rock’s five-acre party pool area, closed last October and will be redeveloped prior to the 2020 reopening.

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The fate of the Center Bar at Hard Rock Hotel is in limbo as Virgin Hotels decides which eateries it will feature.
(Patrick Gray)

No decisions have yet been made about which restaurants and bars the new Virgin Hotel will partner with. “When we open it, we want people to go, ‘Oh, wow’ [with] one big grand opening,” Leal said.

The new Virgin site will compete with the city’s trendier hotels — the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Delano and recently opened NoMad.

“All those do properties do a great job … but have their own identities,” Leal said.

The Hard Rock opened in 1995 and has 1,504 rooms. The 80-foot-tall guitar that greeted arriving guests for more than two decades was dismantled in September 2017.

Even though the Hard Rock will shutter later this year, Bosworth is hoping to keep “Magic Mike Live,” a male revue, running during the closure. He confirmed that co-producer Channing Tatum and others are scouting a new home and that the show would be a good fit for the Virgin portfolio.

Vegas won’t be without the Hard Rock name, however. The Hard Rock Cafe Las Vegas, unrelated to the hotel, stands at a separate location at 3771 S. Las Vegas Blvd.

travel@latimes.com

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@latimestravel


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