The hard rockin’ Hard Rock Hotels and Resorts are on a hot riff with a score of expansion plans in 2012, both close to home and across the globe. Hard Rock lays claims to the largest and most valuable music memorabilia collection in the world, Brian Klein, global head of marketing, Hotels & Casinos, Hard Rock International, points out. This rock and roll legacy has been a major hit with guests, many no doubt, lured by dreams of rock ‘n roll yesteryear.
“With over 70,000 (and counting) rock ‘n’ roll icons, we are using this priceless collection of art to bring our main differentiator, music, to life,” says Klein. “Our memorabilia connects guests of all ages to music history and brings back memories of old.”
Hard Rock has two flagship properties with Seminole Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood, FL, plus Hard Rock Hotels/Casinos in Las Vegas; Biloxi, MS; Orlando; Chicago; San Diego; Pattaya, Thailand; Bali; Macau; Penang, Malaysia; Singapore; and Punta Cana.
And to add to that list, Hard Rock will follow its successful partnership with Palace Resorts that started with the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana, by transforming Palace properties in Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Maya into Hard Rock Hotels this year. These will be “ultimate all-inclusive” properties, with the first Hard Rock-rebranded hotel in Cancun scheduled to open in spring 2012. Puerto Vallarta is also slated for a spring 2012 opening, followed by a fall 2012 first-phase debut of the Riviera Maya property. Each hotel will remain fully operational as an existing Palace Resorts property during the conversion process.
“Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Maya are perennially popular Mexican vacation spots and a natural draw for Hard Rock patrons,” says Michael Shindler, executive v.p., Hotels & Casinos, Hard Rock International. “Coupled with our relationship with Palace Resorts—who have created some of the best resorts in the Americas over the last 25 plus years—seeking an agreement to rebrand these three great properties as Hard Rock was a no-brainer.”
All three Hard Rock Mexico locations are beachfront properties. Once they become Hard Rock Hotels, they’ll feature all-inclusive luxury accommodations including in-room jacuzzis, fine dining, top-shelf drinks, 24/7 room service and live entertainment, such as an ongoing schedule of live concerts, “celebrity-driven soirees” and other onsite events.
The Hard Rock Hotels in Mexico will be targeted at an international affluent luxury travel segment (with a focus on the U.S., Canada, South America and Europe), who are looking for a high-value, high-quality all-inclusive vacation, according to Frank Maduro, v.p. of marketing for Palace Resorts.
The new properties in Mexico are part of Hard Rock’s growth in the Latin America region, and will follow the opening of the Hard Rock Panama Megapolis that took place in December 2011. The 66-story hotel sits on three-quarters of an acre of land connected by a bridgeway to the cross-street Multicentro Mall and the Megapolis Convention Center, and is a few miles from the Panama Canal. It features a Rock Spa, signature restaurants and an oversized, free-form infinity pool with private cabanas.
“Panama is the economic engine of Central America,” says Shindler. “The expansion of the Canal will continue to bring an international clientele—a Hard Rock clientele—into that market.”
Besides Latin America, Hard Rock is targeting the Middle East as a region for expansion with properties in Abu Dhabi and Dubai to open in 2013. Hard Rock will also open a property in Hungary in 2013, responding “to an opportunity to develop the first Vegas-style casino in Central Europe on a greenfield development in close proximity to three key European capitals,” says Shindler.
Closer to home, Hard Rock recently formed a strategic alliance with Paper City Development LLC., to develop and manage a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Holyoke, MA, pursuant to the proposed legislation to bring gaming to Massachusetts, says Shindler. “We are planning a state-of-the-art facility with a wide range of non-gaming amenities that will provide a world-class entertainment experience unique to the region,” he adds.
Hard Rock Hotel Bali is finalizing a multi-million dollar renovation that updated all of its guestrooms, added a new kids’ club, teen center, and water park. Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation that includes the lobby, bar, restaurants, poolside area and all guestrooms and the addition of kids’ suites.