New York’s long-awaited Hard Rock Hotel is finally open — and we kinda wish we lived there

May 2, 2022

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The highly-anticipated Hard Rock Hotel New York is finally open, and it’s unlike any Hard Rock experience you’ve had before.

Set between the glittering lights of the Theater District and Times Square, and near Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall — one of the best places in town to catch a concert — this hotel is a great base in the heart of Midtown, which is having a renaissance of sorts. (Think: new celebrity-loved bars, record shops and even a roller rink.)

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The hotel’s location is prime for hitting the area’s many tourist attractions, but real music lovers will know that the Hard Rock is situated on New York City’s historic Music Row, the stretch of West 48th Street where music stores hawked guitar strings and drum sticks to everyone from revered musicians like Jimi Hendrick and Ringo Starr to up-and-coming acts and the everyday New Yorker.

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Though the music stores of legend have sadly shuttered, the Hard Rock Hotel New York claims to offer “a backstage pass to the city’s historic Music Row” and offer a guest experience worthy of any Grammy winner. Rooms at the hotel currently start at around £379 ($475) per night and are available to book online.

With 446 rooms and suites, guests will get the real VIP treatment with floor-to-ceiling windows, blue and gold accents inspired by the lights of the Big Apple flicking on at dusk and carpet patterns inspired by soundwaves. Pictures of famous artists like Bruce Springsteen and Lady Gaga cover the nearly full length of sliding glass doors, and sculptural elements above the beds also depict sound waves.

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In-room amenities include Lavazza espresso machines, Rock Spa bath products and Kimono robes to lounge in, but that’s only the start. The best way to take advantage of this music-focused hotel is by requesting a Fender guitar to play in your room (yep, really) or a Crosley record player to hear your favourite tracks on vinyl. In fact, Hard Rock created a special playlist of New York-themed tracks curated specifically for guests to enjoy, as well as a Soundtracks interactive guide to the area created by the Hard Rock team and local musicians.

(Photo courtesy of Hard Rock Hotel New York)

On the 36th floor, the 3,300-square-foot Rock Star Suite, a glass-enclosed multilevel penthouse, is the true star of the hotel’s accommodations. On the first level, A-list guests will find an open-plan living and dining room with a bar and butler pantry, along with a private terrace that’s a whopping 1,600 square feet. Upstairs, guests can retreat from the glamorous to a large bedroom with a walk-in closet and a bathroom with a freestanding bathtub. The suite also has exclusive, direct access to the hotel’s rooftop bar, RT60.

Perched on the 34th floor, RT60 is decked out in music memorabilia and serves cocktails and shareable plates indoors and out.

hotel bar with golden lights and green couches
(Photo courtesy of Hard Rock Hotel New York)

And don’t assume that just because this is a Hard Rock Hotel the only restaurant on site would be the eponymous chain.

Visitors can choose between two restaurants: NYY Steak, a Mozambique wood-panelled restaurant serving steak and fresh seafood, and Session, an all-day restaurant with an open-air terrace serving staples like omelettes for breakfast and braised 48-hour short ribs for lunch or dinner.

hotel lobby with large circular staircase
(Photo courtesy of Hard Rock Hotel New York)

Throughout the hotel, guests are surrounded by Hard Rock’s famous music memorabilia: music lyrics handwritten by John Lennon, custom outfits worn by Jay Z and Beyoncé, Joey Ramone’s leather motorcycle jacket and a pair of Lady Gaga’s boots.

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For even more music, guests can visit Audacy Live, a performance studio and entertainment hub created in partnership with broadcasting company Audacy, for live recording sessions, concerts and performances. Or, hit up The Venue on Music Row, the hotel’s two-floor entertainment space inspired by New York’s jazz era, set to host live performances, fashion shows, after-parties and other events.

Hard Rock is no stranger to hotels and resorts as it has locations from Cabo and Amsterdam, to Bali and beyond. However, the now-open New York City location might just be its best act yet. But hey, if it all sounds a little too loud for you, it’s always five o’clock at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Resort in Times Square down the street.

Featured photo courtesy of Hard Rock Hotel New York

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