Hotel Review – Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas

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Paradise Beach with the Casino Tower in the background.
Paradise Beach with the Casino Tower in the background.

Hard Rock Hotel Staycation

Overview

My family and I stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino a few weeks ago on a “staycation”. In case you haven’t heard, it gets quite hot here in Las Vegas during the summer and the Hard Rock happens to have one of the best pools in town!

One of the great things about being local, is that hotels here tend to have very low rates during the week. We stayed on a Tuesday night and booked at the last minute using Hotel Tonight. On Hotel Tonight, the Hard Rock was $36 which was $20 less than other online travel agents. With taxes, our total came to $41. (That is right. A 4 star hotel for $41! Kind of.)

Not a bad price for such a nice property.
Not a bad price for such a nice property.

I was able to use a credit to take care of the room and tax, but there was also a mandatory $20 resort fee that was paid directly to the hotel. While I hate resort fees, there are so few hotels in Las Vegas without them, that is seems pointless to rant.

Location

The Hard Rock is in the red square towards the right with the Strip being on the left.
The Hard Rock is in the red square towards the right with the Strip being on the left.

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is located on Paradise & Harmon which is about two blocks east of the famous Las Vegas Strip. This area is very near to UNLV & has a few attractions including KISS Mini Golf and the Hoffbrauhaus Las Vegas. You can walk 20 minutes (1.1 miles) straight down Harmon to the strip, or it is just a quick drive away.

Some people will like that they are removed from the craziness of the Strip while others will not. If I was coming to Las Vegas as a first timer then I would absolutely want to stay on the Strip. I have found that most repeat visitors are comfortable staying in other areas.

If you are visiting Las Vegas with a car (or renting one), the Hard Rock’s location is definitely more convenient than the Strip. You can easily get around the city and the I-215 is only a block away. Both Lake Mead & Red Rock Canyon can both be accessed via this freeway and each are around 30 minutes away. (In opposite directions.)

Facilities

Reliquary Spa. Photo taken from their website.
Reliquary Spa. Photo taken from their website.

Just like many four star hotels, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has many of the typical facilities that you would expect. The hotel has a well furnished gym, a business center & conference facilities.  Additionally, there are several shops to choose from including a gift shop, jewelry store and of course a tattoo parlor!

The Hard Rock’s spa is located in the new HRH All-Suite Tower. It is open everday and features very relaxing dark earth tones. I personally haven’t had the opportunity to try their spa, but I know several people who recommend it.

Pools

hardrockpools
A map of the Hard Rock’s pools.

The pool area at the Hard Rock is one of the main draws of the hotel and thus deserves its own section. It is broken up into several areas, each targeted towards different people.

Nirvana Pool

The Nirvana Pool. (Family pool.)
The Nirvana Pool. (Family pool.)
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The Nirvana Pool. (Family pool.)

The Nirvana Pool area is open to all ages. It features a sandy beach area along with a normal pool area. Surrounding the pool are lounge chairs which you can pull right up to the edge of the water. A number of cabanas line the outer edge of the area.

There is also a small wading pool with swim up blackjack, but I didn’t see it open on either of my two recent visits. The Nirvana Pool area also has a snack bar providing food and drink service.

Shawn Reece spent some time swimming and enjoyed himself. The pool does lack any water play features such as a waterslide, but being in a sandy pool is a lot of fun. There were quite a few families when we were there and this is definitely one of the better family pool options in town.

Breathe Pool & Lounge

Breathe Pool. (Currently closed.)
Breathe Pool. (Currently closed.)
The Breathe Pool Lounge and rooftop pool. (Currently closed.)
The Breathe Pool Lounge and rooftop pool with the HRH Tower in the background. (Currently closed.)

The Breathe Pool area appears to now be closed. It isn’t mentioned on the Hard Rock site, so I am not sure what they are doing with it. The Breathe Pool itself is a small circular pool surrounded by daybeds and cabanas. Upstairs there is a glass bottom pool in the Breathe Lounge.

Unfortunately on both of my recent visits these areas were closed, but I was able to take some photos during an early morning visit. I am not sure what the future will bring for this area, but when it was/is open, it was 21 and over only. (Perhaps it is only open during the weekend parties?!?)

Paradise Beach

Paradise Beach South.
Paradise Beach North.
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Paradise Beach South.

Paradise Beach is the main pool area and it is restricted to adults over the age of 21.  Paradise Beach consists of two large pools which are connected by a narrow pool which looks a lot like a lazy river.  There is a waterslide which feeds into one of the pools, but I haven’t seen it open.

Near Paradise Beach North, you will find a stage along with a number of cabanas.  The entire Paradise Beach area becomes Rehab on the weekend and suddenly has a cover charge which varies. During the Rehab parties, a number of different DJs keep the party atmosphere going. This is a pool party Vegas style.

Room

The HRH Tower check-in area.
The HRH Tower check-in area.
Memorabilia on display in the HRH Tower lobby.
Memorabilia on display in the HRH Tower lobby.

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has three towers. The oldest is the Casino Tower which has recently been renovated. Two new towers were built a few years ago. The Paradise Tower is the first of the new towers and it features upgraded rooms. The HRH Tower features “all suites” and is home to the premium accomodations.

Having booked through a discount travel agent, we weren’t expecting much. Since we were only going to be in the room to sleep, we didn’t feel it was worth paying more for an upgraded room. The reservation was under my wife’s name and she asked about staying in one of the new towers.

Hard Rock Hotel Staycation - June 2014 (10)
Looking out from the entrance. (I am standing at the edge of the entry hallway.) This is the entire room.

 

Our room was very cozy. Looking back towards the entrance.
Our room was very cozy. Looking back towards the entrance.

Without an additional charge, the agent gave us a room in the HRH Tower. Like I mentioned earlier, this tower is advertised as “all-suite”. I was really excited at this news, but was quickly disappointed when we arrived at the room. Each floor has two rooms which are located next to the stairway and are half the size of the suites and smaller then the rooms in the other towers.

I am not sure why the agent didn’t tell my wife what she was getting, but it wasn’t a big deal. Our room in the HRH tower was beautiful. The dark colored furnishings felt both luxurious and comfortable. The beds were amazing as well.

The room's minibar.
The room’s minibar.
Bathroom Vanity.
Bathroom Vanity.

While the bathroom did seem a bit cramped, it did feature a fantastic shower with a rain shower head. My thoughts on the room are a bit mixed, since I would have liked a little more space. This room honestly felt like a closet and I do feel my wife should have been given the choice considering she was originally being put in a normal room in the Casino Tower.

I also want to mention that the HRH Tower has an exclusive lobby and check-in area. This section features a ton of interesting memorabilia and a number of comfortable sitting areas.  I think the Hard Rock excels in this area.  Most casinos don’t have any sitting areas outside of the lounges and restaurants. Not only does the HRH Tower have a blocked off seating area, there is another one in the casino.

Casino

The Casino. (I apologize for the poor quality of the photo.)
The Casino. (I apologize for the poor quality of the photo.)

I don’t gamble and thus can’t tell you how loose the slots are or how the table games are.  This casino does have everything that a gambler could want. They have a full selection of machines including video slots and video poker along with a full array of table games.

The best part of this casino in my opinion is the music. There will always be a great song playing in the background as you gamble.  While you may not win every time, I am sure it will be an enjoyable experience.

Gotta love drums in the middle of a casino!
Gotta love drums in the middle of a casino!

The other distinguishing factor for the Hard Rock casino is its memorabilia collection. Displayed throughout the entire property you can find a number of incredible pieces of memorabilia. This memorabilia ranges from clothes worn by rockers to the instruments they played.  It is like a museum in and of itself.

Entertainment

Guns 'N Roses memorabilia in the casino.
Guns ‘N Roses memorabilia in the casino.

Living up to it’s name, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has a number of entertainment venues.  There are several bars located around the property. Additionally they have a traditional nightclub called Body English and two concert venues.

Vinyl is the first venue and it is meant to be more intimate. Among the upcoming acts are Andrew Dice Clay & The Blackjacks. The Joint is the larger concert venue and has played host to a number of acts over the years including Santana who performed their long term for a few years.  I really like the Joint and have personally seen a few concerts there including Pitbull last year.

Restaurants

The Pink Taco has entrances from both the pool area & the casino.
The Pink Taco has entrances from both the pool area & the casino.

The final part of my review has to do with the food. I have eaten at several of the Hard Rock’s restaurants over the years and have always found the food good. No matter what type of food you are looking for, the Hard Rock has it. My favorite restaurant is the Pink Taco. (The food is as good as the name!) They also have a steakhouse & an Asian restaurant along with a number of fast service snack areas.

Hard Rock’s coffee shop is known as Mr. Lucky’s. No matter what time of the day or night, you can get a decent meal at a decent price. Mr. Lucky’s also has a famous “off the menu” gambler’s special. Mention it to your server and you will get a meal consisting of a steak, three grilled shrimp, choice of potato, brocolli & a salad for $7.77! You can’t beat that!

Conclusion

The Hard Rock Hotel is often overshadowed by some of the larger Strip resorts, but it stands on its own in every way.  As a four star hotel, it has a full range of amenities including one of the best pool areas in the entire city.

While our room was not ideal, it was still incredibly comfortable. To be honest, you really can’t go wrong with any of the towers considering all of the rooms are either new, or recently renovated. I will be honest and say the clerk at check-in wasn’t the friendliest, but that was the only small issue we had. Everyone else from the pool staff to the people working in the restaurants and casino were fantastic.

Many people wouldn’t think to consider the Hard Rock for a family vacation. While it may not be ideal in every way, it certainly fits the bill with a great location to see non-Strip sites and a fantastic pool that the children will be talking about for a long time.

Either way, whether you are a someone looking for a party or a family looking for a little sun, I think the Hard Rock is an option that should be looked at. For $61 all-in during the week, it is an incredible value.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Stayed the Hard Rock in Vegas last July and it was the worst experience ever. I swore never to stay there again. The room was filthy, a towel had blood on it, the sheets hadn’t been changed, the drinking glasses were dirty. Hotel staff was pretty rude about everything.

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