All of you who have been patiently waiting for a whole year for Hard Rock Hotel and Casino to finally open in Atlantic City now have a date to circle on your calendar. In just a few short weeks, it will be time to get out the drum rolls. The grand opening of Hard Rock AC will take place on Thursday, June 28.
June 28 opening “set in stone”
Unlike the property that former owner Glenn Straub renamed TEN that never materialized, attendees at the April 18 press conference announcing the Hard Rock Atlantic City opening, were reassured it will happen on schedule. In Jim Allen’s words, the June 28 opening for Hard Rock AC is “set in stone.” Allen is the CEO of Hard Rock International.
Meanwhile, with the goal of making that promise a reality, as the red letter day looms closer and closer, construction crews on site are busily attending to every last detail. On any given day, close to 700 employees can be found hard at work doing their part to make sure Hard Rock Atlantic City will be fully ready to open on June 28.
About Hard Rock International
Ever since Hard Rock’s purchase of the former Trump Taj Mahal became official, the excitement about all the positive things the new facility would do for Atlantic City has been through the roof.
The optimistic mood is understandable. If any company has the wherewithal to keep the current momentum going and bring new life and energy to Atlantic City for years to come, it is Hard Rock. The Seminole Tribe of Florida, owner of the international Hard Rock conglomerate, already has Hard Rock facilities up and running in 75 countries. According to Allen, the company boasts approximately $6 billion in annual revenue, employs more than 30,000 people, and schedules more than 35,000 musical acts.
In addition, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the NFL in 2020, Hard Rock Stadium (home of the Miami Dolphins) will host the 2020 Super Bowl.
Its $500 million investment in Hard Rock AC
So it is no surprise that the company has invested $500 million, not just to renovate the former Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, but completely transform the 4 million square foot property inside and out, from top to bottom.
Hard Rock AC will be so different from the hotel and casino that preceded it, millennials who are new to gambling will have nothing to go on but other people’s word that the other hotel-casino even existed. Images of what Trump with typical immodesty called the “eighth wonder of the world” will be virtually nonexistent except in the distant memories of those who were actually around for the rise and fall of the $1.2 billion behemoth.
What to expect at Hard Rock Atlantic City
Since the Trump Taj Mahal’s October 2016 closure, with the exception of Bally’s Wild Wild West Casino, the only clear indication which Atlantic City casino you are at is the name in big neon lights, not any unique, instantly recognizable theme. However, all that is going to change dramatically with Hard Rock Atlantic City.
All of the old minarets and other Asian touches are gone. And in their place, an 80-foot guitar hangs from the façade of the building. Music memorabilia will be present throughout the inside of the property as well, and guests will even have the option to have a guitar in their room for the duration of their stay.
Accommodations at the resort will include 2,000 guest rooms and suites, every one of which has been completely renovated, as has the casino floor and entertainment venues.
No one will go hungry or thirsty either, with more than 20 restaurants and bars on the premises. The Hard Rock Café will be among them, of course, but it will be relocated in a larger space seating 400, with a better stage and easy access from both the casino and the beach. Otherwise, with a few exceptions, like the Chinese fine dining establishment, Dynasty, which is also being redone, virtually all of the restaurants will be brand new.
Hard Rock games
The 120,000-square-foot casino floor will offer 2,100 slot machines and 120 table games.
There will not be a separate poker room and there are currently no plans in the works to open one. However, if player demand is sufficient, I would not rule it out as a possibility at some point down the road.
Wild Card Rewards program
All of the currently operating Atlantic City casinos have a player’s rewards program, and so will Hard Rock AC. The program is called Wild Card Rewards.
Since Hard Rock Atlantic City is launching its own rewards program, everyone interested in receiving applicable special offers and discounts, as well as comps and other perks, needs to sign up for a new card. This applies even if you already have a Hard Rock player’s card from another Hard Rock casino.
If you don’t want to wait until the new casino opens to obtain your card, you can apply for one now by doing either of the following:
- Visit the Hard Rock Preview Center at the Tangers Outlet, located at 101 N. Michigan Avenue and sign up in person.
- Apply online on the Hard Rock Atlantic City website. You will receive a confirmation of your enrollment via email.
If you apply now, your new card will arrive in the mail in time for the grand opening. However, as soon as possible, a visit to the rewards center at the casino is highly recommended. That’s where you will get definitive answers to any questions you may have about how the program works, including credit for your Atlantic City play when visiting other Hard Rock properties and vice versa.
Enter to win a 2018 Tesla
By the way, Hard Rock AC is holding a sweepstakes where it will be giving away a 2018 Tesla, among other prizes, and all Wild Card holders receive 1 free entry just for joining. You can earn additional entries based on play. The drawing will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1. Winners must be present to be eligible.
Hard Rock AC entertainment
We’ve saved what might be the best news of all for last, and that’s the fantastic entertainment that awaits you at Hard Rock Atlantic City.
Those of you who frequented the Trump Taj Mahal will remember its two entertainment venues: the Etess Arena and the Xanadu. Both rooms have undergone a major renovation and enhancement, including a brand new state-of-the-art acoustics system. The Etess Arena has been renamed Hard Rock at the Etess Arena and can seat 7,000. The other venue, which was seldom used at the Taj, will seat 2,000 patrons and will hold concerts much more frequently.
Additional concerts will take place in the expanded Hard Rock Café and, weather permitting, on the beach.
Not just rock N’ roll but every music genre and comedy, too
Allen promised live entertainment from more than 100 acts on nearly 300 nights at Hard Rock AC in its first year, including more than 60 acts already booked for the summer. The illustrious summer lineup includes such diverse acts as:
- Third Eye Blind
- Florida Georgia Line
- Rascal Flatts
- Frankie Valli
- Stone Temple Pilots
- Blake Shelton
- Counting Crows
- Toby Keith
- Kid Rock
In other words, the entertainers include not just musicians in the rock genre, but all music genres, including pop, country music, and more. Some of your favorite comedians like Steve Byrne (opening night), Amy Schumer, and Howie Mandel are coming to Hard Rock AC, too. Mandel will even have his own Comedy Club on site. You can find the full summer entertainment lineup here. Advance tickets for the shows of your choice can be ordered online through Ticketmaster.
Entertainment every day of the week
The norm at Atlantic City casino hotels has been virtually no live entertainment except on weekends. Hard Rock is taking an entirely different approach. Visitors will be able to enjoy what management is describing as a “true entertainment destination” where live acts will be performing not just on weekends but every day.
“We are about entertainment and not just about [a] casino,” Allen said.
Hard Rock AC is a “game changer”
Now that all the hype about what Hard Rock AC is going to do for this town has gone beyond promises to a firm opening date, the sentiment all around town is we can’t wait. We’re hearing it not just from the people running the show, but from everyone in town — from the mayor and other city leaders to the equally dedicated construction workers without whose hard work this ambitious project wouldn’t be coming to fruition.
Joe Jingoli, lead developer and property partner, believes that “the Hard Rock AC is going to be amazing.”
Meanwhile, a 28-year-old plasterer named Devon Harris beams with pride at the thought that “one day I will be able to walk by and say I helped built this.”
Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam says the presence of the internationally recognized Hard Rock brand will be a “game changer” for this town that will be “phenomenal.”