Music fans in the UK waited with bated breath for the opening of the Hard Rock institute’s first hotel in the country.
Taking over the reins from the former Cumberland Hotel, Hard Rock International and glh Hotels partnered up to bring the world-famed brand back to its city of origin, and rather fittingly to the building that has accommodated a whole host of musical legends, from Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone, and Stevie Wonder, to Bob Dylan, Diana Ross and Madonna.
On the corner of the capital’s famous Oxford Street and Park Lane, opposite Hyde Park, the new Hard Rock Hotel London is an imposing building that stands just a few minutes’ walk away from the brand’s first ever Hard Rock Cafe® – something die-hard fans will appreciate. But other than the shiny gold hotel name and chequer-clad doormen, not much else from the exterior gives any hint to what awaits inside.
Two years in the making, award-winning architectural and interior design practice, Scott Brownrigg worked with the developers to create an atmospheric lobby area, Rock Royalty lounge, a whopping 900 rooms and suites, two bar areas, a Hard Rock shop, and of course an all-important Hard Rock Cafe® – complete with a raised stage area for live music. The team developed designs for the interiors using the brand’s musical heritage as a starting point, with cues taken from forms such as the record player master disc and guitar fretboard to add subtle touches to the interiors.
Walking through the large glass doors from Park Lane, multifaceted gold and bronze wallcoverings are reminiscent of a ’70s dancefloor and an Instagramer’s dream backdrop. Various rock and pop paraphernalia adorns the lobby, with Freddie Mercury’s childhood piano taking pride of place in a glass box between a Paul Stanley (Kiss) feathered cape, one of Jimi Hendrix’s Fender Jaguar guitars, and a t-shirt worn by David Bowie. As guests make their way to the check-in area, drumsticks hang from the ceiling, tips illuminated above the reception desks and, depending on the booking, Rock Royalty guests are shown to a separate area with access to the Rock Royalty lounge to be given the full A-List service.
To reflect the Capital City and pay homage to London, the original birthplace of Hard Rock, Kate Jarret, Senior Interior Designer at Scott Brownrigg added: “The design had to represent the Hard Rock brand for the London market. To complement such a prestigious location, we chose materials that offered a luxurious high-end aesthetic and paired perfectly with a traditional British colour palette. Within the 370-seat cafe, we used a rich colour scheme of gold and heritage green that beautifully complemented the panelled interior and large ornate memorabilia framing.” Contrasting the traditional interior design of the cafe, other areas see the use of modern contemporary styling such as the Lounge Bar and the Rock Royalty Lounge, all of which were carefully planned to ensure the acoustics were the best they could be to facilitate live music performances and create a fantastic atmosphere for guests.
Of the two bars, the cocktail bar that sits comfortably aside the Hard Rock Cafe, is a grown-up area perfect for enjoying a variety of cocktails on its crushed velvet bar stools whilst watching bands perform on stage. The main bar is positioned right in the centre of the ground floor of the building – between the lobby and the Hard Rock Café, central to the action, and resembles a fairground ride, like the Waltzer, with its lit-up 360-degree ceiling instalment and cylindrical centrepiece surrounded by individual group booths, which acts as a fun hive of activity with a typical Hard Rock evening party atmosphere.
On the floors above, 900 rooms claim a substantial part of London’s square footage, putting the Hard Rock London firmly in the top three largest hotels in the capital. And each serves as a nod to the brand’s musical heritage, from the subtly embroidered guitar bed linen to the height list of famous names etched on the mirrors, or the fun touches like the ‘wardrobe change’ signs on the walk-in wardrobes and Fender guitars and amps in the suites. Music-inspired artwork can be seen in every single room, and of course the box-framed memorabilia continues throughout the entire building.
So important is the thread of music here, that even the staff uniforms, created by tailor to the stars, Gresham Blake, have been created in collaboration with award-winning singer-songwriter Rag ‘n’ Bone Man and Slaves guitarist and vocalist, Laurie Vincent. Of the ten items, the collection includes a long-tailored coat that combines Rag ‘n’ Bone Man’s own tartan pattern with Laurie Vincent’s artwork featuring in the lining of the jacket. “The collection exhibits a lot of rock idols shown through the printed linings, t-shirts, pocket squares and scarves and we have designed British woven cloths specific for Hard Rock Hotel London,” said Gresham Blake. Essentially, the Hard Rock Hotel London is a fun and outgoing space for music fans to socialise in and rest their heads after a night out at a gig or festival. It is everything the brand conjures in terms of informal and laidback American style, but beckons the slightly over-excited inner child to come and gaze at its quirky collection of curated music memorabilia too – with a few quintessential British elements thrown in for good measure. If anything can be said for certain of what guests can expect here though, it’s got to be that – music fan or not – no one left alone in a room with an electric guitar can resist the urge to pretend they’re a rock star, if only for a few minutes!