A 450-foot guitar towers in Seminole country, headquarters of the Tribe and its now-global empire. On October 24th, Hard Rock opened this hotel structure with the sort of eye-catching, brand-cementing architecture you’d see in Vegas or Dubai.
The new Seminole Hard Rock Casino & Hotel, a 35-floor guitar-shaped hotel boasting 468 suites, rises above Hollywood.
James Allen, CEO of Seminole Gaming and chairman of Hard Rock International, has been dreaming about a guitar-shaped hotel for over a decade.
“At the time, everyone thought we were a little bit crazy,” he said at a recent press conference. “That’s not the first time we’ve been accused of that.”
The Seminole Tribe invested $1.5 billion in the architectural marvel, pushing engineering limits. “We’re building something that’s an attraction,” Allen told the Miami Herald. “It’s not just gaming — not slots in a box.”
The Hard Rock debuted the expansion on October 24th with light beams shining 20,000 feet into the Hollywood sky. Visitors access the new hotel through a massive dome-shaped atrium called the Oculus.
Adjacent to the 468-room, guitar-shaped hotel sits the Oasis Tower, a 168-room hotel featuring swim-up rooms on its first floor. The attraction in the Sunshine State also boasts a 13.5-acre waterscape, complete with a lake and kayaks, full-service cabanas with flat screen TVs, and a man-made beach.
The hotels raise the Hard Rock Hollywood’s hotel capacity to 1,271 rooms. In addition to the new hotels, the multi-tiered, 6,556-seat theater Hard Rock Live will take entertainment to new heights in Florida, hosting Broadway shows, headline concerts and boxing matches.
Other elements include a retail expansion with 20 new shops, 19 new restaurant destinations that rival world-class options in Las Vegas or New York, a new nightclub venue, and a lagoon dubbed Bora Bora. DAER Nightclub and an adjacent 4,000-square-foot rooftop club offers sweeping views of the lagoon and pool area.
The Seminole Nation’s acquisition of Hard Rock International took place way back in 2007. The purchase, a landmark in Indian gaming and business, was the first time a Native American Tribe acquired a major existing international company.
The Hard Rock empire has grown dramatically on Allen’s watch: from 125 cafes to 185, from nine hotels to 27 and from four casinos to 12.
“I really wanted to do it 100 percent on my own,” he has said.
Hard Rock was a brand, built on t-shirts and memorabilia, that was in need of a fresh vision.
“I felt the company had the opportunity to enhance its management, its philosophies and expand in the hotel and gaming sectors. I think that any company is only as good as its management team. Very respectfully, I felt we could do it better.”
If realization of the first-of-its-kind guitar-shaped hotel — on Tribal lands in Hollywood once home to a trailer park and some smoke shops — is any indication, “better” is an understatement.
“It really is special,” Mitchell Cypress, Vice Chairman of the Seminole Tribal Council, told the Associated Press. “The Seminoles now are known throughout the world.”