In a city that’s all about being bigger and more extreme, Virgin Hotel Las Vegas feels like a cool breath of fresh air. One of the newest hotels to open as of late 2021, it manages to pack a lot into the buildings holding its 1,500+ rooms, but it does that without feeling overwhelming. The intimate spaces scattered throughout have thoughtful design touches to make you smile.
Plus Virgin has a big, huge, massive competitive advantage in this city: No resort fees!
I’m hoping I don’t have to come back and edit this later like we had to do for other hotels that opened with a “no resort fee” promise and then caught the bait-and-switch virus later and reneged. For now anyway, the marketing people have won out over the accountants. The price you see on booking sites is the actual nightly rate before taxes that includes everything a hotel includes in normal cities, with no surprises. You can even park your car for free if you drive here, another Vegas rarity. Fast Wi-Fi is included in the rates.
The hotel is managed by Hilton as a Curio Collection property, so you can also earn or cash in points.
While this is a new resort property, the Virgin Las Vegas is not the first hotel on this site. This used to be the location of the Hard Rock Hotel for 15 years, off the strip on Paradise Road, but it got a revamp from top to bottom for the rebranding. (The lobby and bar soundtrack got a less radical update: from ’70s classic rock to rock from the ’80s and ’90s.) After a half-million-dollar purchase price and then a year of work while it was closed, everything now looks sparkling new.
The Virgin Hotel Las Vegas location may put off some, but I found it to be more convenient than some of the strip hotels that are still a mile away from anything you can walk to. The location here has some clear advantages: it’s near the university and normally priced restaurant options, plus it’s one of the closest major hotels to the international airport. I even walked a block and hopped a local bus to downtown and when it was time to fly out, caught a Lyft ride a few steps from the entrance in a designated pick-up zone. The monorail is a few blocks away, as is the Vegas Strip.
You could easily stay put at this hotel for days though and have everything you need at your fingertips. The restaurant selection is excellent, with a few quick and casual options too, plus there’s a convenience store and an ice cream shop.
Virgin Hotel Las Vegas Restaurants and Bars
I ate at several dining spots during my stay and had an especially memorable meal at Olives by Todd English, a Mediterranean restaurant. Starting with a delicious Life is Fresh martini and the complimentary bread and olives set-up, I moved on to a signature Greek salad and some mouth-watering ravioli with sausage ragu sauce that was close to perfect. The side of charred eggplant was also excellent. The service was attentive and friendly while a crooner belted out some Sinatra classics.
I passed on eating at Calavera since I spend much of my time in Mexico, but it’s housed in a whimsical, fun space with giant skull (calavera) and Day of the Dead motifs and murals throughout. It has both indoor and outdoor seating, as does the Italian-themed Kassi Beach Club.
That’s just the start though when it comes to places to eat. There’s a main restaurant open 24/7, the Kitchen Commons Club. I had my first Impossible Burger there, which might have fooled me that it was really meat in a blind taste test. I also had a late-night bite at Pizza Forte, which was surprisingly good. Rounding out the options are One Steak House, Night + Market Thai food, The Funny Library coffee shop, Afters Ice Cream, and, looking a bit out-of-place, a Dunkin Donuts outlet.
The Nobu at the Virgin is the hotel’s main celebrity chef draw–a requirement these days it seems.
Naturally, a hotel with the Virgin name needs to have some stylish drinking spots and there are a few to choose from here. The big showpiece one, The Bar at Commons Club, is right off the lobby near the front door. There’s a lot to take in as you sip your cocktail.
They didn’t go subtle on the boudoir-looking lounge next to it: The Shag Room. It’s a low-light, sound-absorbing space that’s the polar opposite of brash and bright Las Vegas.
There are also bars at each of the restaurants, one by each of the pool complexes, and two on the casino floor. Plus there’s a big sports bar complex between the casino and the pool.
Also, the minibar prices in the rooms are high like minibars usually are, but not so high that they’re going to make you gasp in astonishment as you would at some competing hotels in this city.
Virgin Hotel Rooms
Though there are rooms with two beds, this is a hotel designed for couples (not virgins), who seemed to be most of the guests during my visit. So the standard layout is a king bed with kind of a cushioned clamshell design and pop-out reading lights within easy reach. It’s easy to control the mood through various switches by the bed and the alarm clock is a Bluetooth music player. This being a newly remodeled hotel, there are ample outlets for charging your gadgets.
There’s also more space to lounge around than with most hotel rooms, a sectional sofa having a portable table to pull over to eat or work. There’s also a sit-down lighted vanity across from the ample closet and a dresser shaped like a drink cart has a minibar and coffee maker. You can expect attractive lighting and artwork, good toiletries in the bathroom, smart TVs, and electronic safes.
Suites add more room and furniture, but aren’t really the blowout party spaces the Virgin Hotels name might suggest. Even the suites here don’t have any outdoor space with a plunge pool or whirlpool. Rooms in one tower have what look like French doors going to a balcony, but they don’t actually open to a balcony.
Virgin Hotel Las Vegas Pool
To get technical, this property is officially called Virgin Hotels Las Vegas (plural) and it really requires a “pools” instead of “pool” too. There are two swimming complexes with two entrances and completely different vibes. Both were problematic during my stay, with some issues hopefully temporary and the others inherent in the design.
For the temporary part, the security people–of which there were plenty–were telling guests they couldn’t go in the 3.5-foot-deep water because there were no lifeguards who showed up for work. They don’t employ their own lifeguards for this giant resort-style hotel and apparently the temp agency they’ve outsourced that to didn’t have enough of them to send any that day. There were enough lifeguards at the “Elia Beach Club” option that outsiders pay for, however, so they sent us there so we could get wet. First though, there was a serious security patdown, an ID requirement, and no bags allowed. They even confiscated my ink pen I was taking notes with for this review.
The club pool looks fun and fabulous for the party crowd, but it’s not really conducive to a casual hour or two by the pool. It’s filled with rental cabanas and daybeds that carry an extra charge. Both pools have immature palm trees that will look better after a couple of years and sand-filled pools that probably won’t. The purpose of all the sandy sections was likely to lend a beach vibe to the place, but the water looks brown instead of blue and the sand soon covers all the places where people are walking barefoot.
New hotels always have some issues that sound better in the design than they work in reality, so we’ll see how these pan out over time.
The Virgin Las Vegas Casino
The casino at the Virgin Hotel isn’t as massive or as difficult to navigate as some of the huge ones on the strip and it all looks new and shiny. Naturally you have to go through it to get from check-in to your room, but here that’s only a short affair: one tower is only about 50 meters from the reception desk.
Odds and minimums are equivalent to what you’ll find on the strip, however, so assume lousy Blackjack rules (pays a stingy 6:5 on 21 instead of 3:2, no surrender option), a double zero on roulette, and poor odds on video poker. You’ll have to get really lucky to beat the house. Get friendly with a cocktail waitress and tip well to keep her coming at least. During my visit, the small sportsbook had not gotten its license yet, so it wasn’t open for betting.
Also temporarily closed was the 4,000-person concert venue, which will surely draw some big names once indoor concerts are easy to pull off again.
Despite a few glitches here and there, the Virgin Las Vegas Hotel was operating relatively smoothly despite safety protocols, staffing issues, and unpredictable demand during Covid times. The glitches here and there were far outnumbered by the number of things going right and the interior design of this property is both unique and functional. The hotel layout won’t get you lost easily and all the staffers I dealt with were experienced and helpful, from valet to wait staff. There could just stand to be more of them, especially at reception.
Since there are so few quality hotels in Las Vegas with no resort fee, especially in a convenient location, Virgin Hotel Las Vegas is a great choice for those who hate being surprised with extra charges for nothing at the end of the booking process. This is a solid operation that’s aesthetically pleasing, with an array of good restaurants, and has a real sense of style. Be prepared for some staffing bottlenecks at reception and the main pool, but at rates that often come in under $100 weekdays, it’s a great value. This is also a pet-friendly hotel and there are plenty of rooms with additional accessibility features.
Review and photos by editor Tim Leffel, who was hosted at the property for purposes of review. As always, all opinions are his own.