From the Rock Star penthouse suite at $15,000 a night on the 36th floor to the Venue concert hall in the basement, the 446-room hotel – a Times Square baseball field – celebrates the musical energy of the Big Apple and offers a luxurious base of from which to discover. And while you can have breakfast against the backdrop of Amy Winehouse or the Rolling Stones, the rock element remains subtly present, allowing for a pleasant stay for those unfamiliar with their Muse from their Metallica.
The rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, a comfortable king-size bed so big it crosses the zip codes, an equally large flat screen TV, Lavazza espresso machine, fridge, safe, armchairs and table.
The tasteful dark blue and gold color scheme continues into a fully stocked shower room, and a semi-transparent life-size image of Bruce Springsteen in the door to watch over your ablution.
The Hard Rock Hotel in New York is still a must for music lovers
Music is woven into the structure of the building. Floor-to-ceiling metal ropes in the lobby atrium mimic guitar strings, sound wave patterns are built into the marble floor, and even the push buttons in the elevators look like tiny cymbals. But the big draw for music lovers is the wealth of memorabilia on display.
Entering the hotel is like stepping into an Instagrammer’s dream with a silver mannequin on a pedestal wearing a yellow Alicia Keys dress, next to the striking, spotlighted circular staircase that swings to the Sessions restaurant and bar above.
There, the walls are lined with glass-fronted cabinets that display items such as Bob Dylan’s 12-string Martin acoustics, a love letter from Frank Sinatra to Mia Farrow, a James Brown jacket, and a large assortment of guitars. There’s even the suit John Lennon wore for A Hard Day’s Night.
FOOD AND DRINK
Sessions is the hotel’s main culinary center in an expansive circular space on the first floor. There’s an extensive breakfast menu to fuel you up for stomping the streets, with cooked fare, a bagel cart (white sturgeon caviar, anyone?) and fruit bowls. The soft scrambled eggs with crab flakes are sure to hit the mark.
Lunches range from huge club sandwiches, octopus carpaccio or burgers to salmon, chicken breast with mushroom ragout and mac & cheese. Appetizers are about $18 with mains up to $38 for the prime ribeye. For fine dining, head downstairs to the elegant NYY Steak, an atmospheric, low-light, wood-paneled retreat with a fully-stocked bar. This carnivore’s paradise has a wide selection of meats and for the real connoisseur with a fat wallet you can even sample exclusive Kobe Wagyu beef for $65 an ounce (minimum order 4oz)!
The coolest place to relax, however, is the RT60 bar and lounge on the 34th floor with its endless selection of cocktails, shareable snacks, and two rooftop terraces to enjoy an old-fashioned smoky gaze over Manhattan’s twinkling lights.
The hotel offers an “immersive guest experience” that lets you dive into a curated playlist inspired by the city you’re staying in. You can even order a Fender through room service, but despite the hotel having 50 guitars on loan and repeated requests, I failed miserably to get one.
If you want to unwind through the headphones through Smoke On The Water, there is a fully equipped gym and moonlit yoga on the roof.
OUT AND ABOUT
Times Square is on your doorstep and Broadway’s theater land is just around the corner. Grand Central, Carnegie Hall, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State are nearby and a 15 minute walk north will take you to the leafy oasis of Central Park.
I took the No. 7 train one stop to Hudson Yards and walked the High Line – once a dingy elevated railroad, now one of New York’s best-loved green spaces.