Heart of Glass

Platinum Tower, Hard Rock Biloxi, Biloxi, Mississippi

If necessity is the mother of invention, the people behind Hard Rock International’s new Platinum Tower, on the Gulf Coast of Biloxi, Mississippi, are the Edisons of architecture.
   
The resort started with a good problem: more demand for rooms than it could consistently handle. But the only land available for expansion was a narrow tract hugging the waterfront adjacent to the original Royal Hotel.
   
The design team turned that limitation into an asset with its innovative “svelte tower” approach. The $32 million, 12-story hotel, which opened in February, follows the curve of the coastline, frames the palm-fringed outdoor pool, and stands as a testament to the region’s recovery since Hurricane Katrina, when Mississippi’s former riverboat casinos first moved ashore.
   
The building’s horizontal banding complements that of the existing tower, and silver glazing inspired the “Platinum” brand.
The sleek design continues inside. The curvilinear guest rooms are contemporary but uber-comfy, with lighted zebra-wood wardrobes, built-in seating, plush wall-to-wall headboards, double vanities, custom furnishings and art, and contemporary accent lighting. Suites are outfitted with personal wet bars, and make abundant use of millwork on the walls and ceilings.
   
The room layouts turn tradition on its ear. “Because we had a very narrow site to work with, we rotated the rooms 90 degrees, so the longer dimensions are along the outside walls,” says Brad Schulz, vice president of architectural firm Bergman Walls & Associates of Las Vegas. “It’s one of the first times this has been done in the United States. It’s a very popular look, and it’s been well-received by the public.”
   
That skewed orientation continues in the baths. Dispensing with the box-within-a-box design that is typical of most hotel bathrooms, Bergman Walls pushed the baths to the outside walls. As a result, natural light floods in through banks of windows. “They have a provocative aspect to them,” observes Schulz. “If you don’t put the drapes or blinds down, it could get kind of interesting. But it’s sexy, and people are having fun with it.”
   
The baths are richly appointed; many have oversized showers and marble Australian soaking tubs fitted with multi-head rain-shower faucets.
   
Thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows, the 140 guest rooms, first-floor Cabana Suites and penthouse-level Sky Suites are akin to glass houses, with panoramic views of the city, the Gulf, and that iconic, neon-lit Hard Rock guitar.
   
The style, like the brand, is playful, irreverent and hip. And of course, the resort is packed to the rafters with music memorabilia from superstar rockers: Gene Simmons, Buddy Guy, Sammy Hagar, Bret Michaels, Johnny Cash and many others.
   
Lucky guests can even get a glimpse of Elvis Presley’s pajamas, proving this place is really fit for a king.
                
Owner: Premier Entertainment Biloxi, LLC
Architect: Bergman Walls & Associates
Interior Designer: Tandem Interior Design Studio
Contractor: Roy Anderson Corp.
Total Investment: $32 million

Articles by Author: Marjorie Preston

Marjorie Preston is a contributing editor of Global Gaming Business magazine and managing editor of Casino Connection Atlantic City.