When Sir Richard Branson first conceived transforming the former Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas into a Virgin-branded world-class resort, there’s no doubt he wasted no time preparing for its grand opening. Always a showman, he likes to make grand entrances, but has been forced to change his plans a few times because of COVID-19. Now that Vegas is back and action and the new Virgin Hotels Las Vegas is making its big debut, Branson and the rest of the crew are going to hold a massive party this weekend to celebrate the launch of the property. The resort has announced its “Unstoppable Weekend” party, which will feature appearances by Christina Aguilera, DJ Mis Master Mike and even Branson himself.
Virgin Makes a Splash in Vegas
The Virgin property officially opened on March 25 after a number of COVID-19 delays. However, that debut was relatively low-key, given the continued health restrictions in place at the time. Branson is going to make up for lost time and has been working with JC Hospitality, the ownership group behind the venue, to prepare for a large bash. Richard “Boz” Bosworth, JC Hospitality’s president and CEO, has announced that the party is going to start tomorrow as Aguilera takes the stage at The Theater at Virgin Hotels. From the start of that performance, there will be four days of non-stop celebration that includes other celebrity appearances, the launch of new amenities and more.
Boz explains, “We wanted vibrancy. We wanted a party, and we wanted it to be safe. And we felt it would have been irresponsible to have that level of a party when you had to have anywhere from 3- to 6-foot social distancing, or 75 percent capacity, or no dancing, or some of the very natural restrictions that were needed (to keep) our community healthy and safe.”
Branson will be there, according to Boz, at least on Thursday and Friday. He always knows how to make an appearance, but how he plans on dropping in on the party is still a secret. This will reportedly be the first time Branson has left his private island since the pandemic began, and will give him an opportunity to mingle with party attendees while checking out all the amenities that are now open. Most of the resort is now ready, while other amenities will be launching during the party. The last hold out is likely to be the sportsbook, operated by Betfred, which won’t be ready until later this year or next year.
Virgin Off to a Good Start
The resort has garnered a lot of attention from Vegas visitors since it opened, something that is to be expected from a new property. However, Virgin has been performing even better than expected and its hotel was sold out for Memorial Day weekend. It has continued to outpace the level of occupancy reported at the property when it was the Hard Rock, surpassing the levels seen in both 2018 and 2019.
Boz adds that the hotel is enjoying “100% market penetration” and states that he has “never seen such a dramatic and positive booking pace as we’re experiencing” at any of the properties with which he has been involved. The timing of the party is perfect, coming right after Vegas restrictions have been completely lifted and casino goers and Vegas-curious visitors are looking for an excuse to celebrate.