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November 19, 2017

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Q+A: Hard Rock Hotel exec Michael Goodwin previews Season 11 of Rehab


Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas

Michael Goodwin is the vice president of daylife and nightlife at Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas.

Nelly at Rehab and Body English

Nelly hosts and performs at Rehab and Body English in Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Tommy Lee DJs at Rehab

Tommy Lee DJs with DJ Aero at Rehab in the Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Rehab at the Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas, the original and granddaddy of all dayclubs in Sin City, celebrates its Season 11 grand opening this weekend with two music stars named Robin Thicke (today) and Flo Rida (on Sunday).

New this season at Rehab: adding Saturday pool parties to the usual sizzling Sunday soirees, and the entertainment lineup is diverse and, frankly, fantastic.

Michael Goodwin, Hard Rock Hotel’s vice president of daylife and nightlife, talked Rehab, “the oasis in the desert,” on Thursday morning ahead of opening weekend.

Congratulations on the soon-to-open Season 11. Why do you think Rehab has been so successful?

Being the first of its kind 11 years ago, we’ve built a strong reputation as the dayclub party — or whatever it’s called these days. We’ve made a commitment year after year to evolve. And the space is so different from the other dayclubs. We have sand, beaches, palm trees and grass huts. It’s an oasis in the dessert. We take you out of Las Vegas and put you in paradise.

What was the thought behind extending Rehab to Saturdays this season?

Rehab has become a global brand. It’s the second strongest after “Hard Rock” on property. It’s an evolution of pool parties, and we’re unique in that we’re not an electronic pool party. We play pop and Top 40, what the crowds are listening to today. We’ve expanded to Saturdays to take advantage of Rehab’s popularity and to deliver a party on Saturdays.

What are you looking forward to the most this new Season 11?

I love the whole format. It’s all about the music, the people and the customer service. We aim to keep everything at the top level. I love hearing people talking about having a positive experience at Rehab. That’s my reward.

Kim Kardashian at Rehab and Kardashian Khaos

Kim Kardashian, with Marla Esposito and Mike Snedegar, hosts at Rehab in the Hard Rock Hotel on Sunday, June 3, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Paris Hilton Hosts 2010 Rehab Party

Paris Hilton hosts the 2010 Rehab pool party opening at the Hard Rock Hotel on April 25, 2010. Launch slideshow »

The entertainment lineup for Season 11 is diverse, from Robin Thicke, Diddy and Kendrick Lamar to The Wanted and Icona Pop. What was your strategy in creating the lineup?

Pop music crosses all genres. We even featured country stars during ACM Weekend. Pop music is all music to all people, and we’re continuing that at the pool.

How does Rehab, the original dayclub, stand out versus the other dayclub parties on the Strip?

The music format is different that the EDM format, where they focus on who is DJ’ing. We focus on the party itself, and the Rehab experience is at a really nice pool structure. We’re not a concrete pad with a puddle in the middle. We have a nice island vibe.

In being the dayclub veteran, what has been Rehab’s biggest struggle or obstacle?

With any growing brand and in any time with formable competition, staying relevant year and year and staying creative and continually developing and evolving. The goal: “Let’s drive Rehab.” There are always new challenges with competition and other properties with huge budgets.

Is there a memory or two that stands out in all the seasons of Rehab?

During the early part of Rehab when I was a customer, a guest, it was great to spend the day in the middle of the hot summer in Las Vegas drinking and partying with my friends. I remember partying with Tommy Lee, partying with other celebrities, which is unique in Las Vegas here because there is no barrier. This was before working here. Since working here, watching the celebrity guests and artists really enjoy themselves. Instead of just working, when they get to Rehab, they are partying and having a good time. They get to let loose a bit.

Anything you can tease about Season 11?

We have some artists who are not announced yet. There is a lot more coming in June and July. I’m looking forward to more on the docket. And Flo Rida is going to make his next video here.

How about Season 12?

The 12 steps of Rehab (laughs)!

Go to the Hard Rock Hotel’s website for more information on Rehab.

Don Chareunsy is senior editor for arts and entertainment of the Las Vegas Sun.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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