Bad – on Harmon Avenue a fair way off the central Strip and opposite the Rumor. Technically it’s only a couple of blocks off the Strip, but Vegas blocks are long ones, and it’ll be a good half hour to walk in or about US$8 in a taxi. The hotel lays on a free shuttle, but you’ll probably find yourself taking taxis for ease.
Surprisingly – very surprisingly – good. The swanky all-suite HRH Tower opened Christmas 2009 – book one of these and you’ll get your own entrance and check-in that’s far removed from the chaos of the casino. The Paradise Tower is the second rung down, and the Casino Tower has the cheapest rooms. But having stayed in one of them, I was amazed to find it was very nice – a huge size and stylishly designed. Its pictures of rock stars on the walls and black suede headboard touching the ceiling were far more trendy than anything I expected.
This is where the Hard Rock falls down. It’s a decent size and the casino looks more swish than others. There’s even plenty to look at, with music memorabilia strewn around the place, but it’s permanently populated by groups of drunk young men, sleazy older men and women who seem to find plastic surgery as essential as underwear optional. Call me a snob – I probably am – but I find the clientele pretty unpleasant.
Eating and drinking
A pretty good selection. At the top end there’s Nobu, Rare 120 and Ago, then there are a few mid-range options. Mexican joint Pink Taco seems to be popular with celebs staying there, and Mr Lucky’s 24/7 is a Vegas institution thanks to its extensive menu and 24 hour opening times. One to avoid is Johnny Smalls, a tapas joint that opened this summer. It’s had mixed reviews and my house-mate, who went recently, declared it mediocre and expensive at $100 for two people.
The new Reliquary Spa, which opened Christmas 2009 in the HRH Tower is stunning, with a Roman bath-style swimming pool, steam room and sauna. Unusually for Vegas, access to the decent gym is included in the $15 resort fee. The concert facilities are excellent. Nightclub Vanity opened on New Year’s Eve 2009 and although it’s quite small, it looks spectacular and is one of the best clubs in town.
Letting the side down is the pool. Maybe it’s because it’s the location for Rehab – the Sunday pool party that’s infamously debauched (calling it an “orgy” wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration) but I find it cramped and dirty. There’s poolside gaming though, if you like that sort of thing.
The other problem. The staff are so busy concentrating on being too cool for school that they forget to give good service. This is pretty much the one place in Vegas where I dread having to talk to them.
Who stays there
Mainly young people looking for a “good time” (yes, I mean that euphemistically). There are people over 40, but they’re mainly single men, and they stick out like a sore thumb.
There is a daily resort fee of $15 and they roll out special deals all the time. I recently booked a room through a promotion for $50, and they threw in a $50 resort credit to use on the spa or a restaurant. So I only really paid the resort fee.
Pros & Cons
- Party central
- Self contained
- Good facilities
- Excellent rooms
- Poor location
- Party central
- Unsalubrious pool scene