‘What were we thinking?’: New Taj Mahal owners want rid of Trump influence in revamp

  • Taj Mahal to become The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City
  • New casino will undergo a total rebrand under new management, erasing Donald Trump-era decor

Atlantic City will welcome a brand new casino when the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino opens its doors – and they want rid of any trace one of its former owners, Donald Trump.

How the proposed Hard Rock Casino Hotel Atlantic City could look. Picture: Wakeshark.
How the proposed Hard Rock Casino Hotel Atlantic City could look. Picture: Wakeshark.

The former Trump Taj Mahal site has been closed for almost a year, and new developers are keen to get the site back to its best with a fresh new casino and entertainment venue, located right on the boardwalk.

The new Hard Rock casino has a license for 2,400 slot machines and 130 table games, while the accompanying hotel will be a welcome boost to the city’s room availability levels

The Trump Taj Mahal’s history

The Atlantic City boardwalk casino first opened in 1990 as the Trump Taj Mahal, owned by the man who would go on to become President of the United States. Despite a grand opening and huge amounts of investment, the Taj Mahal venture was plagued by bankruptcy, controversies and disputes with the casino unions.

In 2014, ownership of the casino passed to Icahn Enterprises, and in 2016 the Trump Taj Mahal closed its doors for the last time. The sale to Hard Rock International was completed in March 2017, and the new owners are keen to make their mark on the property with a complete rebrand and makeover.

Introducing the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City

The Hard Rock brand is operated as an interest of Florida’s Seminole Indian tribe, under the direction of chairman Jim Allen and with the support of a number of investment groups. Allen is a former member of the Trump team, who knows the Taj Mahal well – but he is ready to move away from the building’s past and focus on its future.

The first thing on the list for change is the design and decor of the casino. Allen recently told reporters that the team has a big task on their hands, referring to the style choices made when the Taj opened. He said: “The amount of money we’re going to have to spend to remove all those minarets and all that purple… What were we thinking?” Allen had worked with Donald Trump’s firm earlier in his career.

Expecting to open in late 2018 or early 2019, the proposals for the former Taj Mahal site have already been revealed.

The rock and roll flourishes for which Hard Rock is known will certainly make an appearance at the Atlantic City venue. The foyer will feature a huge water cascade, while the iconic logo and guitars will adorn the lobby. Developers have worked in a beach access point straight down from the boardwalk, along with two arenas for shows and sports events.

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