New York-based architecture and design firm Rockwell Group has unveiled its interior scheme for the new Virgin Hotel in Las Vegas, a re-conceptualised and revitalised property in the former Hard Rock Hotel.

The practice was appointed to design the ‘Virgin Spaces’ that surround the main casino, including a new porte cochère and entry experience – The Junction – as well as a check-in area, the Commons Club and Restaurant, and the Shag Room. It also envisioned two bars in the main casino and transformed the lobbies.

Despite the hotel’s close proximity to the iconic Las Vegas Strip, Rockwell Group chose to accentuate its separation from the urban hub by creating a luxury destination that taps into the wider context of the desert landscape with pure forms and sculptural moments. As such, the property’s public spaces reference desert modernism and, where possible, blur the lines between indoors and out, with glazing and an outdoor terrace.

Rockwell Group also envisioned taking guests on an adventure along a desert highway, spotted with natural wonders and follies – a clear homage to the city and its surrounding desert landscape. The neutral material palette includes flagstone flooring and rammed earth walls with pops of Virgin’s signature red, agate stones and greenery; the result is inclusive lounge and dining spaces that invite guests to linger and explore.

Virgin Hotel Las Vegas

A new entrance welcomes guests with rammed earth walls, a cactus garden planted in a dune-like setting and a geometric breeze block wall. The centrepiece of the porte cochère is an angular canopy clad in reflective gold metal, while red tiles frame the entry portal to echo the Virgin brand and contrast with the earth walls.

The Junction – the main lobby, gathering and lounge space – announces Virgin Las Vegas’s departure from the Vegas norm and helps guests orientate themselves. A plywood, coffered, hung ceiling undulates throughout the space, creating an impressive sculptural setting with light wells that glow when the sun sets.

Alongside the Junction, Rockwell Group has also designed a more private space – the Harmony Lobby, which houses a VIP check-in and a bar. A long communal library table in front of a fluted wooden screen features a record player and earphones, inviting guests to kick back and relax, surrounded by a central mirror-clad ceiling cove that unites all the spaces and encompasses acrylic chandeliers that seem to float above.

Virgin Hotel Las Vegas

Extending from the lobby, the Commons Club features a bar surrounded by a dining area that spills out onto a terrace. The circular bar sits under a sculptural dome that terminates in a 20-foot skylight with a diffused pattern, while the bar die comprises crushed, coloured glass inspired by rammed earth. The back bar houses a sculptural tower with angular, mirrored panels that encircle a glowing crystal centre inspired by cracked earth. Curved metal screens embellished with agates also flank the back bar for a sense of intimacy.

Next to the Commons Club, its namesake restaurant is home to banquette seating framed in light-coloured wood that sits under a recessed cork ceiling and pendant lights. Dining tables are crafted from a wood chip terrazzo and the seating niches at the perimeter of the restaurant feature art and breeze block detailing.

The Shag Room, a casual yet sumptuous bar and lounge, is accessed through a speakeasy photo booth entrance and features plush seating and banquettes in shades of purple and red, with shag carpet surrounding a conversation pit. Persian carpets hang from the ceiling, and the bar is hidden behind dramatic drapery.

Virgin Hotel Las Vegas

Elsewhere, Rockwell Group has made interventions to the floor and ceiling landscapes in the casino, with a red carpet design that mimics curving tracks in the sand dunes and ensures design continuity throughout.

The 1,504 guestrooms at Virgin Hotel Vegas meanwhile are spread over three distinctive towers – Opal, Canyon and the all-suite Ruby Tower – and were designed by Los-Angeles based Studio Collective.

Rockwell Group has been working with Virgin to develop its signature playful spirit since 2015, when the firm designed Richard Branson’s first ever hotel in Chicago. The brand has plans for two more properties in 2021.

Virgin Hotel Las Vegas

Photography: © Nikolas Koenig