I recently spent the weekend at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego. I hadn’t been to San Diego for a few years so I didn’t even know that a Hard Rock Hotel existed there. Here’s what you need to know.
The 12-story, 420 guest room hotel opened in November 2007. It’s located smack in the middle of downtown San Diego in the Gaslamp Quarter, on the corner of 5th Avenue & L Street. It’s less than two blocks away from the San Diego Convention Center and Petco Field, where the Padres play. When we arrived we could hear the crowd roar every time the Yankees got a hit. That’s right, the New York Yankees were in town and it seemed like there were more Yankees fans than Padres fans. There were so many people wearing Yankees jerseys and hats that one of my friends (who does NOT follow baseball), asked me quite seriously, whether the New York Yankees had moved to San Diego!
The rooms at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego all come with Halo-illuminated beds, which are billed to create a sense of floating with Hard Rock’s custom “Sleep Like a Rock” bedding and 300-thread-count cotton linens. If you look closely, the duvet cover has a guitar print all over it. There’s stunning cantilevered furniture, a custom-designed desk and state-of-the-art lighting. Most guest rooms have a green room-inspired mini bar refreshment center. There’s also a 42” LG flat screen HDTV, which allows you to plug-in and play your iPad, computer or camera. In Hard Rock fashion, there are 11 music channels and the nightstand has Bender and Rolling Stone Magazines. Basic Wi-Fi is free. What I didn’t like is the sensually-styled bathrooms. The frosted glass dividers are fine if you are alone but don’t offer enough privacy if you are traveling with someone.
3. Borrow a Guitar or DJ Booth
The Hard Rock Hotel San Diego has one of the coolest hotel amenities of all time. Get this: guests can have an electric Fender guitar complete with an amp and headphones or a DJ station sent up to their room. There’s no charge but you do need to put a deposit down. They have 20 electric guitars and it’s first come first serve. Their newest addition is called ‘mix’. It’s the DJ turntable which “provides you the tools to turn your room in to a mega club, starring you as the DJ.”
As you can see from the last line of number three, the hotel encourages its guests to party. While I was there, most of the people in the lobby were well under 30 and party is what they did. I was there during a summer weekend and on Sundays, the hotel rents out their rooftop pool to a third party so they can throw an off-the-charts, Vegas-style pool party. It’s called Intervention Sundays and it takes place from noon to 7pm. Prices ranges from $10-80 per person and drinks are not included. I was told it’s much cheaper if you buy tickets two to three weeks in advance and that about 2,500 people attend.
On top of that, the hotel has two clubs, one called FLOAT, which is where Intervention Sundays takes place but during the week, the pool evolves into fire pits and DJs at night. Guests receive free VIP access for two until 10pm. In the lobby is 207, a laid back den of glamour. During the daym, it’s mellow and casual but when the sun goes down, you can hear the music pumping while walking through the lobby. For the event lineup, check out www.207sd.com.
Just like the other Hard Rock Hotels and Cafes, there’s rock memorabilia throughout the property. It’s pretty cool to see sketches done by the likes of Jerry Garcia or Run DMC and handwritten notes from The Boss himself. There’s of course a Rock Shop, which sells T-shirts exclusively designed by music legends like Ozzy Osbourne, Bruce Springsteen, Shakira and Green Day, to private label tees, jackets, hats, watches, collectible pins and more.
The hotel has two restaurants: One is the famed chain Nobu, which serves classic sushi bar fare and nouveau Japanese cuisine. The who’s who of San Diego eat here. A few steps away is the hotel’s more casual Mary Jane’s. It’s billed as the place San Diego’s anti-elitist come. Mary Jane’s features a classic American style with a contemporary twist for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It serves breakfast all day and is open until 3am on the weekends. Those with a sweet tooth will be happy to learn that the hotel also has a Pinkberry (dubbed “Crackberry”) for frozen yogurt and fresh toppings.
7. Rock Spa
The Hard Rock Hotel San Diego has a spa and fitness center. Signature treatments at the Rock Spa include the Dream Weaver Massage, Amped-Up Sugar Scrub or Peace & Love Facial. I foolishly made an appointment for 4pm on a Sunday – right in the middle of Intervention Sunday. I didn’t think the massage was going to go very well since I could hear the bass of the music throbbing as I checked in. Even though I could hear it ever so slightly inside the massage room, I still fell asleep during my treatment.
Good to know:
- There’s a VIP check-in behind the front desk that looks like a living room, complete with furry throws and a bar for two. It’s mostly for the Hard Rock’s 700 owners, invited guests and VIPs but after you check-in, you get a drink of choice. I was told that on a busy day, they get about 20 check-ins while the front desk will get a couple hundred.
-Valet parking is $38 a day
As you can see, The Hard Rock Hotel San Diego is an interesting hotel. I wouldn’t recommend it for stiff executives who just need a place close the convention center, especially on summer weekends. But if you like to party and are into rock and roll, then there’s no better place to be in San Diego.