|By Arnold M. Knightly, Las Vegas
Review-JournalMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jul. 25, 2009--Forget the recession. Forget concerns that too many Las Vegas hotel rooms may soon be competing for too few customers.
The Hard Rock Hotel can't wait to open its new 490-room Paradise Tower.
Most of the rooms in the Paradise Tower will be open for business this weekend, a week ahead of the new tower's official opening.
And property executives say the off-Strip resort's 1,300-room inventory is sold out next weekend and is nearing capacity for the next several weekends.
Throughout this month, Yale Rowe, the property's general manager of operations, said the property has been running at 95 percent occupancy, making the new rooms necessary.
He credits the high occupancy levels to the resort's opening in April of a new concert venue, The Joint, and the addition of 60,000 square feet of convention and meeting space.
Additionally, he said, the summer is a busy time for the property because of its beach club, Rehab.
"It gives us the opportunity to have much bigger mass in on the weekend," Rowe said. "When the convention and meeting business comes through, it keeps you alive Sunday through Thursday."
Rowe said the Paradise Tower was designed to attract a bigger business crowd to the Hard Rock. The resort's Harmon Tower, with 375 suites, will open in December and is aimed at casino customers.
This weekend's soft opening of the Paradise Tower won't include 11 rooms that will not be ready until next month and 10 pool suites and the 3,500-square-foot penthouse suite, which are not completed yet.
The Paradise Tower is part of a $760 million expansion and remodeling project.
The tower is opening in one of the worst markets Las Vegas has ever experienced. Hotels are already cutting room rates drastically to attract customers who have cut back on their travel and spending in Las Vegas.
Contact reporter Arnold M. Knightly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3893.
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