Hotel Review: Virgin Hotel Las Vegas, Hilton Curio Collection
We were excited to see the Virgin Hotel take over the old iconic Hard Rock Hotel and couldn’t wait to check it out. As part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, Hilton elites get access to breakfast credit and upgrades, making this a great option for Hilton travelers to Las Vegas. However, is the Virgin Las Vegas worth it? Here’s what we learned.
The Las Vegas strip is about 4 miles long, filled with hotels, restaurants, malls, shops and casinos. Each city block of Las Vegas is incredibly large, so hotels that are off the strip can seem very far away. Virgin Las Vegas is two full blocks off the strip, about 1 mile to be exact. The area surrounding the hotel is not particularly interesting, primarily made up of apartment complexes and empty lots.
The hotel is approximately 4 minutes from the airport, making it an excellent airport hotel. The hotel does not offer an airport shuttle or a shuttle to the strip.
As we will discuss later in Facilities, there is really not much “happening” at the Virgin in the winter, and therefore, not having access to the strip makes the location quite dull and disappointing unless you are there to gamble.
Lobby & Check in experience: 2.5/5
Max and I booked a Ruby Chamber King via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to take advantage of the $50 credit when booking via the UR portal. The room itself was $80 per night, offering us a great value, plus the addition of the $12 per person F&B credit thanks to our Hilton Gold membership.
The Ruby Tower is supposed to be the “All Suites” tower of the Virgin hotel and offers a private check-in area on the other side of the property from the main lobby. Beyond this check-in area, there aren’t any apparent advantages to paying more for the tower. Unlike other tower suite style offerings at other properties like Aria Tower Suites or Wynn Tower Suites, Virgin does not offer a private lounge with water or amenities or additional facilities.
We arrived to the main lobby and asked a security guard where to go for the Ruby Tower check-in. The Valet did not offer bell services and we were directed across the casino to check in. We opted to check in using the Ruby Tower check-in counter because the line was extremely long at the main front desk at 5pm on a Wednesday.
What we did not realize until we asked much later, was that you could actually arrive at a separate Ruby Tower entrance with a separate valet and bell desk. This is very important to remember if you plan to stay in the Ruby Tower, make sure you get dropped off at the Ruby Tower!
The check-in desk was only manned by one front desk agent for the duration of our stay, despite the lines. Our check-in process was quite slow, taking 35 minutes from arriving to the private lobby, waiting and then getting our key. We weren’t provided any information about the property, rooms or amenities. We were offered water as Hilton Gold members and told we have $12 credit each to spend at the juice bar or the Kitchen at Commons.
Until this point, the check in experience was a solid 3 stars. It wasn’t great, it wasn’t terrible, it just was ok. If you arrive directly to the Ruby Tower lobby, you will likely have a significantly improved experience – closer to a 4 star arrival.
What happened next is not something we would typically share in our review because we do our best to share the experience that most guests will have on property, rather than just our one-off experience. However, based on guests in line with us as well as TripAdvisor reviews, we felt this was a bit too common of an occurrence for it to be a “one off” and therefore feel it important to include.
When we checked in the first time, we were told we were upgraded to a strip view room. When we arrived to the room, we had been placed in an ADA room. ADA rooms are never really an upgrade, due to their lower furniture, roll in showers with shower curtains and slightly different configurations that are important for ADA requirements. One of the most impactful features of the Virgin rooms are the beautiful bathrooms, which are not quite the same in an ADA format. Similarly, we discovered that all standard rooms in the Ruby Tower are connecting rooms and there are large gaps on the bottom of the doors. We could see the person next door’s shadows and TV lights, as well as hear them clear as day. We went downstairs to request the “downgraded” room we booked and were told that they didn’t have any of the room we booked, which is why we received the ADA room and we were correct, it wasn’t an upgrade.
They found a corner room for us and also happened to not be connecting and not an ADA room. When we arrived to that room it was occupied and unclean with artworks held together by scotch tape. We promptly went back downstairs and got a new room, which thankfully was lovely. The entire ordeal took about an hour and a half from arriving to the hotel to finally entering our clean, quiet room.
Overall, the check-in experience was pretty brutal. It seems to be a much larger issue that really needs a resolution if the hotel is going to be up to Hilton standards. We do hope that they are able to hire more staff and train the staff in order to be able to compete with its peers on, and off, the strip.
There are three towers in the Virgin Hotel Las Vegas: Canyon, Opal and Ruby tower. All three towers face into the property, with Canyon being the “oldest”, and Opal and Ruby looking similar from the outside. The rooms are similar in decor and layout across the three towers.
Opal and Canyon are classified as the same when booking, but Ruby Tower is classified separately. The difference between the towers is mostly down to size of the rooms. Ruby Tower does feature a “petite” room type, but for the most part, the rooms are around 700 square feet, which is 240 square feet larger than the standard rooms.
The Ruby Tower features connecting rooms for everything except the suites. So we would personally not recommend the Ruby Tower rooms for that reason. We did enjoy the size of the rooms in the Ruby Tower and if we were to book that tower again, we would book the corner rooms for the quieter environment and better.
The rooms feature the signature lounge beds with comfortable headboards and a secondary “lounge” area at the foot of the bed. The bath amenities were nice in larger bottles than you’d normally see in a standard room. However, they did not offer Q-tips or similar amenities. They did not have robes or slippers in the room, but we verified that you can request them.
The rooms do have full minibars with alcohol, snacks and soft drinks. Note that they are weighted, so it is quite difficult to use the fridge for anything other than the minibar. We did manage to shove some of our items into the fridge – if you do the same, be sure to check your bill before check out to ensure you don’t get charged for accidental movement. Surprisingly, we did not have an issue despite accidentally knocking over a number of beverages.
There are no coffee machines, microwaves or personal fridges and you cannot request them. This is fairly standard in Las Vegas, though, it would be nice to see a coffee machine in the Ruby Tower as an added amenity for the added price.
The rooms in general are beautifully designed and feature modern touches like ample USB ports on every surface, great color choices and nice artwork. The non-ADA bathrooms are stunning, with large rain showers, big tubs and ample vanity space and lighting.
One thing to note about the rooms is that it appears they may have forgotten about the lighting in the room until after their renovation. The rooms are so beautifully styled, until you look a bit closer. There are exposed wires for the lamps attached to the walls and ceilings and even plugged in using staples surge protectors. It feels a bit “unfinished” and we do wish they’d thought about the lighting a bit earlier. The fixtures themselves are beautiful, but the external wall mounts are lacking refinement.
The service overall at the hotel was 3 stars and that ultimately comes down to the management.
The individual staff members we met in housekeeping and the restaurants were excellent and incredibly kind and did everything in their power to help you. We had no issues with housekeeping coming to our room daily and our attendant was excellent.
The F&B staff was wonderful, efficient and professional. We had dinner at Kassi Beach House and the service was 5 stars. Our busser and waitress were excited to be there, had wonderful recommendations and truly made the experience for us. Kassi is now one of our favorite restaurants on the strip for that reason alone.
The front office staff and management seems to be where the breakdown happens. I do not believe they have enough staff to manage the hotel operations. Having only one front desk agent, while there are two concierge agents doing nothing, seemed bizarre and wasteful. Not once did we see anyone interact with the concierge and yet, meanwhile, the front desk agent was overwhelmed and overworked, dealing with two other room issues apart from ours. The housekeeping issues we experienced on check in seem to just be due to a lack of housekeepers and poor front office management.
Dining is really where the property shines. They offer 11 outlets for dining & snacks as well as 4 bars. Virgin is lucky in that they inherited Nobu from Hard Rock, which is the original Nobu in Las Vegas. There are also a number of options, from Mexican cuisine, to American bites and our favorite, Kassi Beach House.
Breakfast is served in the Kitchen at Commons and Hilton elites can use their breakfast credit at this venue. The credit will not cover most items, but it will help reduce the cost. Most items will cost you $15+, but the food is good and comes out very quickly.
Elites can also use their breakfast credit at the Juice Bar and the $12 will cover a muffin and a coffee. Juice will cost you $14 after tax and service.
Kassi Beach House was a real treat for dinner and has become one of our favorite dining experiences. Set up much like a beach club in Mykonos, Kassi features Mediterranean cuisine and an excellent cocktail menu. For lunch, they even feature a $45 unlimited Rosé option (a glass is $15, so three glasses will even you out). We found the prices to be in line with Las Vegas standards and loved every dish we ordered.
Kassi offers outdoor seating, which we prefer, facing the pool area. I’d say the best seating for evening is going to be right at the edge of the patio and the indoor seating. The lighting on the pool is quite harsh and the “vibe” is nicer the closer you are to the interior.
One important thing to note is that Olives, Kassi and Casa Calavera all have excellent outdoor seating options. This is something we really appreciate in their renovation because it’s nice to be able to enjoy the outdoors, watch the planes fly above and dine in a more COVID-safe environment.
Overall, we found dining to the be highlight of the hotel. We will purposely go out of way to go back to Kassi, thanks to their excellent food and service.
As a hotel, Virgin does have many excellent amenities for guests, including USB ports absolutely everywhere around property.
The fitness center is large, new and features a juice bar. There are weights, cardio equipment and plenty of space for a workout.
The pool area features a pool and a beach club right in the center of the property.
There are multiple theaters with tons of shows being advertised across the property.
Unfortunately, the pool area and “free yoga” you see advertised is not available in the winter. Unless you gamble, there’s really nothing to do during the day. Since there is no shuttle to the strip, you are essentially stuck with no entertainment other than bars and restaurants all day. We’d like to return in summer to experience the hotel at its best, but it is worth noting this is not a great hotel for a winter traveler unless you are there to gamble.
They do, however, not charge a resort fee or a fee for parking. That makes this an excellent airport hotel if you have a stopover or are just looking for an inexpensive property to relax at or explore from. Given their off strip location, it’s a fantastic home base for exploring the greater Nevada area, grand canyon and beyond. Given how absurd the resort fees have become on the strip, no resort fee at Virgin Las Vegas was a fantastic feature.
Many hotels on the strip do keep at least one pool open during the winter months, so if you’re there for the pool, this might not be the property for you.
We love the style at Virgin Las Vegas. It feels very European mid-century, with elegant furnishings, colorful pops and nice artwork. We felt the design was thorough and consistent across the property and they did a great job overall with the renovation. While we felt it a bit odd that they cut some corners (like the lighting issues), we generally liked the overall look and found the rooms to be comfortable.
Overall, we were somewhat disappointed by our stay. From the rough start to the lack of amenities during the day, we found ourselves wandering the property without anywhere to go and anything to actually entertain us. If you are here to gamble and eat, then this is definitely a good option for you. However, if you’re looking for shopping & entertainment during the day, I would recommend some of the other properties in Las Vegas at the same price point.
Would we return? For the right price in the summer, yea, I would give it another shot. Or if I were flying through Las Vegas and wanted a comfortable option during my layover without the resort fee? Absolutely. However, with Resorts World cropping up and dozens of competitors on the strip, Virgin Las Vegas has some work to do to get competitive in the valley home to luxury at a low cast.
COVID-19 Safety Rating: 3/5
As a Hilton property, we were disappointed to see that Virgin did not comply with the Hilton CleanStay policies. While our room didn’t have any paper goods, we did not feel the high-touch areas were as clean as other Hilton properties. We did not see many “enforcers” of masks and at times, the mask dispensers were empty. When compared to our trip to the Bellagio just two days ago, the Virgin was much quieter and yet much less compliant.
Despite the misses there, we did appreciate their outdoor dining options as that is quite rare in Las Vegas. Most of the staff we encountered did wear masks consistently.
Overall, it’s difficult to feel entirely “covid-safe” in Las Vegas with crowds of people from all over the world, but we feel that they could have improved with simple items like additional hand sanitizer dispensers near elevators, mask dispensers and cleaner high touch room items.