Hard Rock International Unveils Plans for Hard Rock Entertainment World in Catalonia, Spain

Posted on: July 11, 2017, 10:00h. 

Last updated on: July 11, 2017, 12:19h.

Hard Rock International has detailed its plans for Hard Rock Entertainment World, a proposed casino project it has the green light to build in Catalonia, Spain.

Hard Rock Entertainment World
Hard Rock Entertainment World, near Barcelona, is set to be one of the biggest casinos in Europe, despite significant downsizing of the project that was once known as Barcelona World. (Image: Hard Rock International)

The $2 billion integrated resort will be located in Vila-seca in Catalonia’s Tarragona province, around 70 miles along the coast from Barcelona.

The complex will be built next to the existing PortAventura theme park and will include a “unique combination of hotels and convention areas, with world-class entertainment, dining and shopping” as well as a concert venue with a capacity of 15,000.

Long Time Coming

The idea for a Vegas style hotel-casino complex in the area has been long in the making. First announced by local officials in 2012, long before Hard Rock came on the scene, the project was initially branded “Barcelona World,” but was forced to change its name to “BCN World” following objections from Barcelona city council.

It was conceived as an answer to Sheldon Adelson’s “EuroVegas,” an ambitious project that would have created six casinos and 12 hotel towers near Madrid, had it ever come to fruition.

But Adelson quickly lost interest in EuroVegas when it became clear the Spanish government was not prepared to grant him certain concessions, such as lower tax-rates on gambling and exemption from anti-smoking laws.

Scaling Down

Barcelona World was also conceived, initially, with six casinos in mind, but the project was rethought following considerable political opposition on a governmental and grassroots level.

Last year Catalan Vice President and Minister for Economy, Oriol Junqueras announced that the project once known as Barcelona World and BCN World was “dead and buried.”

A new, scaled-down proposal would limit the number of casinos to two, while the entire surface area would be cut from 3,200,000 square feet, to 2,400,000 square feet.

There would also be restrictions on the height of the buildings.

Sole Bidder

Perhaps because of these restrictions, Hard Rock’s joint -venture partner Melco International Development bowed out of the tender process, as did rival bidder Genting, leaving Hard Rock as the sole applicant.

That means there will only be one casino, although it will still be one of the largest in Europe, boasting 1,200 slot machines and 100 table games. The guitar-shaped hotel promises 600 rooms and a 20,000 square-foot pool and pool deck..

Hard Rock recently pulled out of a joint venture with Melco International to construct Europe’s largest casino, in Southern Cyprus, presumably so it could concentrate on its Catalan ambitions.

In a press release this week, the company offered no timetable on when construction would start or be completed.