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Richard Branson buys the Hard Rock Casino Hotel in Las Vegas





LAS VEGAS (AP) – The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas will be overhauled by billionaire Richard Branson over the next few months following its purchase on Friday.


The property with approximately 1,500 rooms and suites on the Las Vegas Strip and finally Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. It will continue to operate under the Hard Rock brand until the end of 2019, when the renovations will be completed.


"Virgin is all about fun, entertainment and does not take us too seriously," Branson said. "Virgin Atlantic has had a lot of fun flying people from the UK to Las Vegas for many years, Virgin America did the same, and not only did we come to Las Vegas, we would not have found the property it was Virgin, and I think that's what we've achieved. "


The 23-year-old property will be open during renovations that will take place in several stages. The company said it would invest "hundreds of millions of dollars" to transform the property, but it was not immediately clear that the hotel casino would retain its current entertainment options, including a popular day club.






The property retains its casino floor, which is managed by a partner. Some of the big rock memorabilia owned by Hard Rock Casino Hotel may be stored.


"The guitar could not survive," Branson said, referring to a massive guitar in front of the hotel. "But we have a gigantic 'v' that has a kind of guitar shape and can do it."


Virgin Hotels acquired the property through a group of partners, including Los Angeles-based investment firm Juniper Capital Partners. The terms of the purchase of Brookfield Asset Management were not disclosed.


Branson, who had previously ridden off in a casino hotel and roped on a jet ski on the fountain in front of the Bellagio Casino Resort, promised an "equally entertaining" event for the official launch of the hotel.


The leader of the Culinary Union, which represents more than 50,000 casino hotel workers in Las Vegas, said Brookfield and Virgin Hotels have decided on a process that leaves management neutral as agreed employees, whether they are "without management interference, harassment , Surveillance, bullying or litigation ".


"This is a new era of positive collaboration between employers and employees at Hard Rock Las Vegas," said Geoconda Argüello-Kline of the union secretary-treasurer said in a statement.


The only Virgin Hotel open to date is in Chicago. Others are planned in New York, Dallas, New Orleans, Nashville, Washington DC, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Palm Springs, California, and Edinburgh, Scotland.


Branson has led a number of companies under the Virgin brand, including records, airlines, mobile operators and a commercial space company.


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Follow Regina García Cano on Twitter at https://twitter.com/reginagarciakNO


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