BILOXI -- A $14 million total hotel-tower renovation will begin in November at Harrah's Gulf Coast, adding to the transformation that last year brought the makeover of the casino and restaurants.
The casino hotel in East Biloxi was upgraded in May 2014 when the resort was rebranded. This will be a full remodel, said General Manager Jonathan Jones, and the new look will be plush and modern, with updated decor, new bathrooms, modern furniture, new flooring and fixtures. Corridors and elevator lobbies also will get a fresh, contemporary look.
"We're really excited about the design," Jones said. Las Vegas-based Marnell Companies combined neutrals with Harrah's trademark rich purple to make the rooms both relaxing and vibrant and bring out a fresh take on the Harrah's brand.
Paintings and photographs of the nearby Biloxi Bay Bridge, Biloxi Lighthouse and local scenery will add touches of South Mississippi.
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Caesars Entertainment spent a significant amount of money last year on new restaurants, expanding the casino and creating a sports bar and lounge that extends out to the swimming pool, Jones said.
Several other casinos in South Mississippi built new hotels or renovated existing hotels in the last few years and Jones said, "The bar's been raised in this market."
Biloxi contractor Yates Construction, which built The Great Lawn entertainment venue at Harrah's Gulf Coast last year, will remodel the hotel.
"We'll go floors at a time," Jones said. Work is scheduled to be done by mid-April.
The 40 suites, many with incredible water views, also will be completely new and very luxurious.
"We're spending as much on the functionality as on the design," Jones said, right down to new plumbing and lighting fixtures, custom bedding and 49-inch, wall-mounted high-definition televisions to give guests an advanced in-room entertainment and interactive technology system.
It will remain a pet-friendly hotel.
This investment in Harrah's Gulf Coast shows Caesars is very committed to the Gulf Coast market, he said. Although the company is in bankruptcy proceedings, the improvements are in the best interest of all parties, he said. "Our creditors have approved our capital plan."
Five rooms will be added during the remodel, bringing the total to 499. Those extra rooms are very important, Jones said, because occupancy is running at 99 percent -- 100 percent in July.
He said 80 percent of the resort's customers are from outside South Mississippi and more than half from outside 300 miles.
"The Harrah's name has been great for us," he said. Customers from the company's 50 properties are part of the Caesars Total Rewards program and Harrah's Gulf Coast has its own charter-flight program to bring players to Biloxi.
Sometimes they don't even know where they're going, he said. "They just know the Harrah's name."