Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
“When Rock n Roll turns into something all too reminiscent of a band gone wrong. A One-Hit Wonder if you will.”
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas | 4455 Paradise Road | Las Vegas, NV 89169 | (702) 693.5000
Once upon a time, The Hard Rock Hotels were THEE place to stay. We’ve come a long way since the 90s. It shows.
Let me preface this review with this: I know the Hard Rock isn’t where the “fancy” come to do Vegas but it does have a certain sense of – dare I say – nostalgia from the height of Rock n Roll. That said, the Hotel and Casino has undergone several ownership changes and this past year underwent yet another. It seems the Hotel has been in danger of going under and someone had to step in to try and revive it. While this isn’t a 5-star Hotel and Casino, it is still reputable – AND – my expectations are still high. So, this is where I stayed while I volunteered for Club Curry, researched Chefs, Restaurants, Benefactors, and the like. I did hope to have had an opportunity to try one of the NEW rooms, but that wasn’t the case. Upon arrival, I decided NOT to tell the Hotel I was reviewing them. (A tragic miscalculation.) It was only upon having to ask to be moved to room #2, that I let them in on what was happening. Allow me to interject here and say I ended up in 3 – YES, THREE – different rooms; each with their own challenges. Oh Hard Rock, I fear this post should begin with a “Dear John” type, “Dear Hard Rock” intro:
So: Dear Hard Rock,
As a Hotel of any price or caliber, clean should be at the top of the list. The basics. And yet, you failed epically. Yes. Epically.
This review will be done differently than any other. Primarily because it’s the “problems” I encountered as a writer AND a guest. These things just shouldn’t happen. To anyone.
Room #1 – Paradise Tower 31624: The first impression. Not a good one. Where to begin: on the surface it seemed clean but the surface wasn’t going to suffice. As I went to check the bathroom (a room that speaks volumes in terms of what to expect) there was no working water in the toilet. No working water. YIKES! There were also no towels OR shower cap, mouthwash, etc. As I hesitantly entered the bedroom, I looked and noticed there was a HALF stocked mini bar and no suitcase caddy. Yes. I’m actually serious. While this wasn’t the worst thing that could happen, I was still baffled by no working toilet water. Seems like a bit of a problem. Toss in the fact that there were two towels rather than a fully stocked bathroom and my first impression was going South rather quickly. This was when I figured I’d give Hard Rock a Hail Mary. I phoned the Concierge and I spoke to Kelsey and let her know what was happening: that I was there to review the Hotel, and I really wanted to give a positive write-up. She was very polite and gracious and asked me to come downstairs to see what she could do. Yay for Kelsey! She did the best she could (I think). She did manage to move me to a Corner Suite but at the time there was no “Suite” with a view OR my preference of a room in the HRH Tower available. Hmm. The plot thickens.
Room #2 – Paradise Tower 31500: Oh boy. Fraught with problems. I grabbed my keys from room 31624 and a Bellman, JT – a life saver it turns out – came to take me to the new room. A room that was missing half of the mini bar (again), robes, had two lights above the bed malfunction and not in “working order”, a magnifying mirror in the bathroom that was broken, the “pull” for the curtains that fell off, AND le piece de la resistance, the comforter smelled AND – I was bit by something. Yes, take a moment to take in that mouthful. Turns out 2nd impressions aren’t always an improvement. Rather than continue, here’s where I will pause to explain the “bite”. A bite that happened IN the room and in about 15 hours resulted in about a quarter-sized welt. We’ll get back to that in a moment. JT saw the room and wasn’t impressed. He took one look at the room (31500) and said, “I’m going to go downstairs and talk to Liz and get them to move you to a room with a view. You should at least have a room with a view. Don’t they know you’re reviewing?” He pulled some strings to get me to a better room with a view of the strip so that on New Year’s Eve, I would be able to see the fireworks show from my window. (At least one person was looking out for me AND wanted the Hard Rock to have a fighting chance at a good review. JT deserves a raise!)
This is when I decided to make it clear “I’m here to REVIEW the Hotel!” and I call to remind them – All I can say is come on! And yet this is only the beginning. Even if I wasn’t reviewing the Hotel, this was unacceptable on every single level for any guest willing to spend their money to stay in this once thriving Casino and Hotel now on the verge of going under and not even have something as basic as working water or clean towels. The Hard Rock is in trouble. BIG TROUBLE. The Hotel is not going to make it if this is the standard to which they abide. I feel a pang in my chest for the Investor that fronted this near-bankrupt Casino. Their saving grace is the staff. Honestly, that’s it.
Well let me begin by saying I had to wait a night and I was left with no choice but to stay in this room. I woke up pretty unhappy but figured I’d order Room Service. A veggie omelet with hash browns and a side of bacon, OJ, and coffee. The eggs were not all the way cooked, the hash browns looked like burnt potatoes and tasted like a combination of frozen and stale potatoes, and the tomato they served as a garnish was burnt. Not on purpose. So, after a truly inedible breakfast, I take a look at the bite. (See? I told you I’d get back to that.) It wasn’t getting better. In fact, my upper trunk was beginning to swell and have welts and what looked like a serious allergic reaction. I called the Front Desk to bring some cortisone and a band-aid and security came to treat me and take a statement for the Hotel Records. Talk about being mortified. (I’ve since been to the doctor and after a biopsy and cultures, we’re still not entirely sure what was going on but it is to be sure, the hotel room was NOT clean. DISGUSTING!)
Room #3 – 31128: Thanks to Bellman, JT and on-site Manager, Liz, I was moved to a larger corner suite with a view of the Strip. the Bellman that came to help me move to Room #3 was a gem: Ernel. I wasn’t quite packed when he arrived and he helped me pack, checked every corner of the room to be certain nothing was left behind, and was honestly so patient, he made it such a smooth transition. He and JT were worthy of a call to the Bellman Manager because, while there were a tremendous amount of unforgivable “cons”, these two gentleman were superstars (i.e., the only “Pro”). The room was the first of the 3 to have everything stocked and cleaned (almost). There were enough towels, robes, mouth wash – basically everything the other two rooms were missing. That said, while the surface looked great, once I went through the room what I found was thick dust, hair left in the bathroom area on the floor, things that should be tended to without question. Unfortunately, the “best was saved for last” mentality didn’t apply.
Here’s the thing – For a Hotel that has undergone far too many overhauls and is in real need of a top-to-bottom revamp, this was NOT the experience I had hoped for. While many suggested they put me up in the new Towers, every room should be held to the same standard. The fact that there were amenities missing, broken lights, dirty bedding, rooms that weren’t ready to house a guest – well, that just isn’t acceptable. I hold every hotel to a high standard. Even a Motel 6 should at least be clean and Hard Rock, well, it used to be one of the best places to stay. Sadly it seems that “outlook” is a thing of the past.
The final impression: Don’t stay here. Go somewhere else until they work out the kinks.
Hotel: 2 out of 10 on cleanliness alone
Staff: 8 out of 10
Fare: 3 out of 10