Virgin Hotel in Las Vegas: Where chic meets laid-back in the desert
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Editor’s note: Welcome to our new TPG hotel reviews! We’re trying out some novel formats as we rate hotels around the globe, aiming to help readers decide where to stay and where to skip. We’ll still do some of our signature in-depth versions, as well as longer-form pieces for hotels we think readers will be the most curious about. For now, though, we’re going to keep things snappy and give you all the information you need if you plan to visit the same hotels that we decide to check out.
On a related note, before booking any travel, be sure to keep up to date with our country-by-country guide to pandemic-era travel restrictions and requirements.
Ever since I walked into a Virgin Megastore in the late ’90s, I’ve been a big fan of the Virgin brand started by Richard Branson.
I’ve flown Virgin Atlantic several times during my trips to London, loved Virgin America when it was still operating and encountered the Virgin brand everywhere on soft drinks when I traveled to the Philippines in the late 2000s.
It’s a brand that evokes fun and packs in a lot of personality. So when the opportunity to check out the Virgin Hotel in Las Vegas came up, I wanted to find out for myself if that style and vibe carried over to Virgin’s hotel business.
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In addition to the big Resorts World summer 2021opening, the Virgin Hotel is another hotel that debuted this year to fanfare in Sin City. It took over what was formerly the Hard Rock Hotel, which closed in 2020.
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The property sits right outside the strip, near the airport and nestled next to business parks and luxury apartments. It doesn’t have a hotel shuttle from the airport, so you will have to either take a taxi, Uber/Lyft or rent a car.
It does have plenty of free covered parking and is just a short drive away from several other notable Las Vegas sites including the Atomic Bomb Testing Museum, the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign and the Pinball Hall of Fame.
I booked my two night stay via the hotel’s portal. The Virgin hotel is part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, so you can use and earn Hilton Honors points for your stay here.
A typical two night stay here on points would be 23,000 points a night during off-peak days for a King “chamber” or hotel room. If you decide to pay by cash, there’s usually a Hilton Honors rate available under $100 during off-peak periods.
It is also one of the major Las Vegas hotels that does not charge a resort fee.
Since I have gold status with Hilton Honors thanks to getting The Platinum Card® from American Express earlier this year, I was eligible for an upgrade if available along with the usual Gold status amenities (enrollment required).
When I checked in, the friendly hotel staffer acknowledged my Gold status and handed me two 12-ounce bottles of water and information on my $12-a-day food and beverage credit.
Like everything in Las Vegas these days, there were long lines with few staffers at the check-in desk. But once I got to the counter, the check-in process was seamless and quick.
I had originally booked a king “chamber,” but since I arrived early, there were no king rooms available yet. An upgraded “preferred” corner queen room with two queen-sized beds and a pool view was available, so I decided to take that.
With more than 1,500 rooms spread out across three towers, the newly reimagined Virgin hotel fits right into Las Vegas’ grand-sized hotels.
Its 60,000-square-foot casino is operated by Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, which is an affiliate of the Mohegan Tribe, making it the first Native American tribe operating a casino in Las Vegas.
The casino features 44 table games and 650 slot machines, according to the hotel. There were few gamblers playing the card tables or slot machines at the time of my stay, so that made it easy to navigate through the area without bumping into many people.
Outside, the hotel’s pools and lawn area are an oasis where you can just relax or work remotely in tech-friendly cabanas.
Due to the hotel’s location near the airport, you can also get in some plane spotting during the day and in the evening.
The main drawback I encountered during my stay here is the Virgin Hotel’s location. If you want to be near the action on the strip or even get to downtown Las Vegas, it’s a good distance away via car.
If you were looking to walk around to other casinos and hotels, like you would if you were on the Las Vegas Strip, that’s something you won’t be able to do here.
The vibe at the Virgin Hotel is what you expect from a Virgin brand: Cool. Chic. Fun.
The brand’s signature red could be seen throughout the hotel’s signage and hallways.
When I visited in October, the hotel and casino felt very empty – which was not a bad thing, considering it made it easier to maintain social distancing.
Overall, the property offered some much-needed solitude and quiet compared to the 24/7 nature of the Strip.
Since I have Gold status with Hilton Honors, I was given a preferred room on the corner of the 14th floor of the Opal tower, which gave me a nice sweeping view of the pools below and the central lawn.
When I opened the door to my room, I was immediately struck by the clean lines of the room’s layout and furniture choices.
If you were traveling with a group of friends, a queen chamber room has plenty of spaces for multiple people to just chill and relax.
Its open closets reminded me of the more modern takes I’ve seen at Marriott’s Moxy brand.
The vanity desk had a complete three-panel mirror with outlets that supported USB and USB-C devices (which I haven’t seen at enough hotels yet).
The mirror also had lights, which could effectively give you ring lighting for video calls.
My favorite part of the room was the door you could close off from the entryway and bathroom.
It came with a peephole, too.
In the bathroom, there were double sinks with a hairdryer stashed below the open cabinets.
The toilet and shower were in a separate room.
The standalone shower was tall enough to accommodate someone that’s six feet tall and had a rain showerhead.
The shower stall had a wooden stool – that’s something I haven’t seen before, but it was a welcome addition. The stall also contained bars attached to the wall that you could use to catch your grip.
The lotion, shampoo and conditioner were individual sized and from Red Flower.
The bedroom contained two queen-sized beds with a comfy headboard that extended across the entire space. There was middle partition that featured a seat and a white table. It was a perfect place to watch TV, play games or take some video calls.
Below the table and on the side of the beds and other furniture were outlets for USB and USB-C devices.
I really appreciated the attention to detail for tech equipment needs, especially these days when you have to pack several cords and adapters for all of your equipment.
The room had a pressure-sensitive minibar.
Above the cabinet where the minibar was located was an assortment of snacks, water and candy to purchase.
Virgin is a U.K.-based brand so of course the chips were labeled “crisps.”
Like many restaurants and hotels, there were no paper menus to be found if you wanted to view a selection for room service. Instead, the menu and how to order could be accessed via QR code on the TV and you could order directly from there.
You could also use the TV to control the temperature and lights in the room.
Food and drink
While COVID-19 cases have been on the decline in most places in the U.S., we are still in a pandemic and the impacts of that were very apparent during my stay.
Fewer restaurants were open and reduced staffing led to waiting in longer lines.
Using my $12-a-day food and beverage credit, I decided to order room service for dinner during my stay.
I ordered a chicken sandwich with fries which cost more than the $12 credit. It came in less than 30 minutes and gratuity was included in the cost.
It was better than most sandwiches, but not worthy of the cost, which was close to $30.
For breakfast, I checked out the Funny Library cafe, which offered an assortment of hot and cold coffees and tea and baked goods.
I waited over 30 minutes to place an order as there was only one staffer working behind the counter at the time.
The breakfast sandwich I ordered was mediocre but the chai tea was good.
For lunch, there were more options around the hotel, with 12 restaurants to choose from.
Amenities and service
The hotel had a large gym along with a full-service juice bar right outside of it.
The gym is open 24/7 so there’s no excuse for not getting in your steps or workout for the day.
The spa is nearby and offers a full menu of massages, facials and waxing services.
Overall, the service at this hotel was top-notch and the staff was friendly and answered my questions quickly and efficiently.
When I went to the front desk to get another key after I forgot mine, they asked for my room number and ID. It was comforting to know they have this security procedure in place.
Out and about
You can tell this hotel has been overhauled and renovated recently, especially outside at the pool area.
It still has that new and refreshed look.
The same goes for inside the hotel.
The design and artwork you encounter in the hallways and elevators pays homage to the hotel’s location in the desert Southwest.
Many hotels don’t include information on their websites on what accessible features are available, making it hard to plan in advance.
However, Virgin Hotel Las Vegas has a dedicated page with configurations and measurements – a useful resource when planning a trip.
Throughout the hotel’s event spaces, there were wheelchair elevator lifts.
And outside at the pool area, I was able to see a pool lift available.
Checking out was just as easy as my seamless check-in.
While there are many features of this hotel I did not get to check out, such as its theater and dozens of top-notch restaurants, that just gives me more reason to come back again.
Featured photo by Leezel Tanglao/The Points Guy.
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