Florida's Seminole Hard Rock begins construction of massive guitar tower

The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., began construction on a new guitar-shaped guestroom tower.

Designed to resemble back-to-back guitars, with guitar faces, necks and brightly lit guitar strings that reach 450 feet into the sky on both sides, the Hard Rock guitar tower is under construction as part of a $1.5-billion expansion of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood. It is the flagship destination of the Hard Rock International empire owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

The guitar tower will be the centerpiece of the casino complex, including a Hard Rock Casino nearly double its current size with 3,267 slot machines and 178 table games such as blackjack and baccarat, plus a new 18,000-square-foot poker room. The expansion will also include 60,000 square feet of new retail and restaurant space, and a $100 million Hard Rock Live venue with 7,000 seats in a theater-style configuration, which is being redesigned and completely rebuilt.

The expansion of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will open in mid-2019, in advance of Super Bowl LIV, which will be held at the nearby Hard Rock Stadium in February 2020.

“Our ancestors and elders welcomed curious tourists to our Florida reservations, and today’s members of the Seminole Tribe of Florida will soon welcome visitors from all over the world to what will become a landmark destination,” Marcellus Osceola Jr., Seminole tribe chairman, said during an event to commemorate the new tower's construction progress. The event, held at the tower's expansion site, included a traditional Hard Rock “Guitar Smash” ceremony and community event. “Our guitar tower will attract global attention.”

The guitar hotel structure is the vision of James F. Allen, longtime CEO of Seminole Gaming and chairman of Hard Rock International. Allen is working with Las Vegas-based Klai Juba Wald Architects and other firms to develop the tower. Other firms involved in designing and furnishing the expansion project are Rockwell Group, New York; EDSA, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Wilson Associates, Dallas; Wimberly Interiors, Coral Gables, Fla.; Cleo Design, Las Vegas; and Laurence Lee Associates, Los Angeles. Suffolk-Yates is constructing the expansion.

“Our talented team of architects and designers have done an amazing job of designing this incredible structure and working to bring it to life,” Allen said in a statement. "But it’s our team of dedicated employees and managers at Seminole Gaming who really deserve the credit. They are responsible for the ongoing success of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino by helping to lay the foundation to make this expansion project possible.”

The current look of the pool at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Fla.

The expansion will include 806 additional guestrooms and suites, with 638 in the guitar hotel tower, where all guestrooms will be 525 square feet or larger. An additional 168 guestrooms and suites will be located in a seven-story Pool Tower that will flank the pool complex. It will bring the total number of guestrooms and suites at the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood to more than 1,300. Other amenities will include restaurants, lounges, a business  center and a 41,000-square foot spa.

At the base of the guitar tower will be an elaborate 10-acre pool complex highlighted by the “Bora Bora Experience,” with private villas surrounded entirely by water and waterfalls. The villas will offer luxury accommodations with private plunge pools and butler service. Chickee-cabanas will dot the banks of the lagoon-style resort pool, which will also include beach club dining and guest activity options including canoes and paddleboats. Walls of multi-level waterfalls will greet guests as they stroll through an outdoor water wonderland.

The 5,500-seat Hard Rock Live arena will be razed in March 2018, and replaced with an updated 7,000-seat Hard Rock Live in a theater-style configuration. Designed by Montreal-based Sceno Plus, the new Hard Rock Live will house its own television studio and broadcast center to produce and televise awards shows and other events.  It will also open in mid-2019.

In the interim, a full schedule of concerts, comedy shows and other events will take place in a newly constructed venue in the northwest corner of the Seminole Hard Rock site, adjacent to the existing poker room and meeting facilities. Once the new Hard Rock Live venue opens, the temporary performance hall will become a 37,000-square foot ballroom.  It will more than triple the amount of meeting space at the Seminole Hard Rock complex, offering a grand total of 141,000 square feet of meeting space in a new Seminole Hard Rock Conference Center.