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story.lead_photo.caption Construction is almost completed at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, where a $1.5 billion expansion project has added hotel rooms, dining, spa and a list of other attractions for guests. The hotel is scheduled to open on October 24th. Photo by Mike Stocker via South Florida Sun Sentinel (TNS)

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — This guitar-shaped hotel soars 450 feet into the sky, an extravagant glass structure that no one can miss.

The Seminole Hard Rock & Casino's audacious $1.5 billion expansion is commanding the attention of commuters on highways, passengers aboard planes and residents near and far who've watched it rise the past two years.

The Hard Rock for the first time recently gave a sneak peek inside this behemoth, whose construction began two years ago and is now finally nearing completion. "What we're doing is we're putting the line in the sand: Hell or high water, we're going to open," Jim Allen, chief executive officer of Hard Rock International, said at the sprawling Florida resort.

Here's a look at what you'll see when it opens Oct. 24.

What has now become an integrated resort will be home to three hotel towers, including the 35-floor guitar structure, which contains 638 luxury guestrooms.

There is an adjacent "Oasis Tower" with 168 rooms overlooking a pool lagoon area dubbed "Bora Bora."

Chickee-cabanas will dot the banks of the pool, which also will include beach club dining and activities such as paddle boats and canoes.

All of the hotel rooms will be 515 square feet, which is well in excess of an industry standard of roughly 400 square feet.

Guests checking into the new hotel space will be greeted by "The Oculus," a continuous show of light, sound and waterfalls choreographed by computer programs.

From the Oasis Tower, guests can take in an overview of the lagoon with the guitar hotel looming above it.

Whether visitors choose to just stay at the hotel, or gamble, shop, attend a conference, or do all of the above, the new $125 million Hard Rock Live venue promises to be a major cultural and entertainment attraction.

Approximately 100 concerts a year will be produced in the clam shell-shaped venue, which can seat up to 6,500 people. Configurations can be arranged for boxing, theatrical entertainment and award shows.

The Hard Rock in Hollywood also is unveiling an expanded casino gambling floor, a new Rock Spa, 13.5 acres of recreational waterscape, thousands of square feet in additional meeting and convention space, and a retail shopping area covered by a glass roof.

Allen noted "there has never been a building in the world shaped like a guitar."

But possibly the best line came from Cheyenne Kippenberger, who was recently anointed Miss Indian World 2019-20 in Albuquerque, N.M., during an annual "Gathering of Nations" cultural event for American Indians.

Kippenberger, 23, who grew up in Hollywood, told the audience how she watched the Seminole tribe's business grow exponentially "from bingo money, to cigarette money and now Hard Rock money."

The popular Los Angeles-based rock group Maroon 5 will deliver an inaugural performance at the Hollywood property on Oct. 25. The new hotel will start accepting bookings July 24. Go to hardrockhotels.com for more information.

Travel on 07/07/2019

Print Headline: Casino hotel is a rock star in the making

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