LAS VEGAS (CelebrityAccess) Billionaire Richard Branson bought the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Friday and the property is expected to have an overhaul that will last several months.
The property on the Strip has about 1,500- rooms and will be converted into Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, according to the Associated Press. It will continue to keep its current brand name until the projected rechristening in 2019. The facility is expected to remain open during renovations.
“Virgin is all about fun, entertainment, not taking ourselves too seriously,” Branson said. “Virgin Atlantic has had a lot of fun flying tons of people to Las Vegas from Britain for many years. Virgin America has done the same, and we wouldn’t have just come to Las Vegas unless we could’ve found the property that was very Virgin, and I think that’s what we’ve achieved.”
The 23-year-old property will retain its casino floor, which will be managed by a partner, according to the AP. Some of the Hard Rock memorabilia will be moved to storage.
“The (giant marquee) guitar may not survive,” Branson said, “But we have a giant ‘V,” which is sort of guitar-shaped, which may take over.”
There is only one current Virgin Hotel, which is in Chicago, but the brand is expected to hit 10 markets outside Vegas including New York, Dallas, Nashville, San Francisco and Edinburgh, Scotland.