Despite being to Vegas over 80 times through out the years, I never once stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel. With their recent expansion, it was finally time to end my Hard Rock virginity. I arrived around 2PM and there was no one waiting at the HRH Tower check-in desk. I hand the clerk my license and credit card and he starts typing away. After about 30 seconds, he tells me that he doesn't see a reservation for me. I told him that I made the reservation through their website online but it just dawned on me that I never saw an confirmation email. He says that not to worry, that there were rooms available but at what cost. I told him I was quoted $120 and he winced! He says that since I am a "Rockstar Club" member he will call them and see if they can help me. After about 5 minutes on the phone with them, he tells me that he has good news and they were going to comp the room based on past play! Very nice... I was ready to pay $120 and I ended up with a room for free! Kudos to the Hard Rock. A very nice way to start my first stay ever at the Hard Rock. Here is a lesson that I will apparently never learn, ALWAYS confirm your reservations!!!
After getting through the reservation fiasco, I was in my room in a matter of minutes and what a room it was. The standard room in the HRH Tower is a mini-suite with the sitting area seperated from the bedroom room by the entertainment center with a large flat-screen TV on each side of it. As you enter, there is a wet bar along the hallway which leads the sitting area. The couch was a large sectional that was quite comfortable and made for a great place to hangout. The TVs are at least 42" and unlike the night before at the Monte Carlo, they actually have HD programming! The room doesn't have all the wiz-bang technology found at places like Aria or Cosmopolitan but does have a DVD player and cool music system that is controlled by a touch screen embedded in the wall near the desk, which is a nice little feature. You can attach your I-Pod or pick from a pre-selected list of music. The bed was large, comfortable and gave a great night sleep and the bedroom also has the same size TV. The bathroom is huge with dual vanity, big, deep tub and a separate shower stall. It is nicely done, covered with stone through-out. The one feature that definitely stands out is the wall separating the bath from the bedroom, it's nothing more than a sheet of glass! There is a curtain that you can close but it's from the outside so you better really like the other people in the room if you plan to shower!
Outside of the room, I really like the new and improved Hard Rock Hotel. Before the expansion, I pretty much despised the thought of even going to the place. It was always absolutely packed, often with 20-something assholes, which bothered me even in my 20s! The casino was just too small for the crowds they would pack in there. With the addition of the HRH Tower, the casino has at least doubled in size. The same type of crowd still hangs out there but at least you now have room to get away from them. I also like the atmosphere in the casino now that its more spread out. As you would expect, the music is better than most other places; mostly 80s and 90 rock and metal; the drink service was good at all times and there is just a cool, classic feel to the dark decor of the casino. The downside is that they recently pulled out most of their better video poker machines which makes putting through big time play much harder to do.
Also with the expansion, they have added a handful of new restaurants but my only meal was at the coffee shop, Mr. Lucky's 24/7. This is becoming one of my favorite coffee shops in Vegas. You aren't going to find many bargains but the room is nice, the service is good and the food has always been great. This time was no exception. I had just a burger but it was delivered in less than 10 minutes and was great. Its not quite as good as the Burger Bar at Mandalay Place but definitely excellent for a coffee shop. I have been dying to try "Johnny Smalls," an entire restaurant dedicated to appetizers and small plates but it's not the type of thing to do alone. That is on the list for the next trip.
By far, the most famous part of the Hard Rock has to be the pool area. Everyone knows about the "Rehab" party on Sundays so much so that there is even a reality show about it. I was quite eager to finally check it out after all these years and it didn't disappoint. The area is enormous with at least 4 different pools including the now ubiquitous topless pool interconnected by nicely wooded trails. There are also several hot tubs scattered about, even a few cabanas with private ones. It probably has one of the biggest outdoor gambling spaces in town with 2 different swim up blackjack areas and a good sized casino space. There were quite a few cool features like many shallow sunbathing areas and the glass pool on the second floor Sky Bar with holes in it looking down to the bar below. The entire area is just very well done. It might just be the prettiest pool in Vegas. One thing that was striking, however, was that the place seemed way too large for a hotel of Hard Rock's size. It was noon-time on a Tuesday in July and 75% of the place was completely closed, leaving just one pool open and even that one was hardly crowded. Even if the Rehab party really does pack em' in, it all seems like serious overkill for the other 6 days a week. With that said, the Hard Rock pool definitely is top 3 in Vegas, on par with Mandalay Bay and MGM.
It was a great night at Hard Rock overall from getting the unexpected comp room to having some decent play in the casino. I ended up not even leaving during the entire stay! I'm looking forward to staying there again soon with the wife for a few nights to really get a chance to enjoy the place. One night alone just didn't do it justice.
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