Toss an electric guitar in the back of a ‘55 Corvette, strap some surfboards on top and you’ve got a recipe for the newest addition to an established cultural mainstay: Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach. While this new development in one of America’s most iconic beach destinations lives up to its namesake with a labyrinth of rock, pop, hip-hop and country music memorabilia, it doesn’t coast along on nostalgia alone. This 200-room hotel has its finger on the pulse of modern luxury, and it will remind you of this at every turn.
Developer Summit Hospitality, in partnership with the Florida-local Hard Rock International brand, appropriately kicked off the opening of this newly renovated hotel last week with musical performances by up-and-coming country music stars Lanco and the husband-and-wife duo Juno Smile. These performances may have been the first, but they certainly won’t be the last events at this hotel, as Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach will be putting on concerts and events on a monthly basis. “Otherwise, it would be boring,” joked Summit co-owner Junior Abdulhussein.
Now expanded from its roots as a single, quaint cafe in London, its latest Daytona Beach installation represents the Hard Rock brand’s 24th hotel, with many more on the way. Indicating a transition from boutique to chain, this increasing number of properties could potentially hint at a depersonalization of the brand, but according to their Director of International Marketing, Vince Koehle, that’s not the case. “We take inspiration from the community,” he explains, going on to emphasize how important each destination is to every aspect of the properties and their accompanying experiences.
Take, for instance, Daytona Beach, which hearkens back to thoughts and images of muscle cars, surfers, striking beach views and the classic American vacation. From the surfboard table in their lobby cafe to the winding hallway featuring rare photos of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones goofing around beachside and vintage automobile design details, the local inspiration is clear-cut.
While the concept of a luxury beach hotel isn’t exactly groundbreaking, what is surprising is the elevated attention to detail in this new property. Every room, every hallway reveals a new kitschy piece of interesting memorabilia, a new coastal-inspired piece of decor or a throwback to Daytona Beach’s sand racing heyday that you haven’t yet stumbled upon.
Another surprising slice of the experience offered at Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach is the brand’s sheer dedication to its theme. Infusing music with the destination experience is what this brand is built upon, and they do it just as well as you’d imagine – often better. The Sound of Your Stay® program is aimed at providing guests with an experience that’s just as musical as it is tailored to the individual. This program consists of three different services: PICKS, WAX and TRACKS. PICKS is offered through Hard Rock Hotels’ partnership with Fender Guitars, one of America’s most prominent guitar manufacturers, and provides each and every room with its own guitar, amplifier and studio-quality headphones for the guests to play at their leisure; WAX provides guests with Crosley record players and a curated selection of vinyl; and TRACKS offers hotel goers a hand-selected, downloadable playlist designed to enhance and complement their visit.
The treatments in the hotel’s Rock Spa are music-centric, the bedding is clad in musical instruments, there are underwater speakers in the beachside pool and the lobby is all but lined in Flying V guitars played by legendary rock stars – Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach is a music lover’s paradise. Memorabilia nerds will appreciate the small, knowing touches and far-out pieces of history, and those who aren’t as into music history can find solace in the more luxurious amenities like the Kohler shower fixtures, ring-lit mirrors and beach-view terraces.
While there’s plenty to look at this new addition to the Daytona Beach coastline, there’s also plenty to do. Sink your teeth into high-class local fare at their occupying restaurant, Sessions, which features a menu crafted around Florida-caught seafood, pasta, highbrow dessert options and inventive signature cocktails to keep the good times rolling, or grab a cup of Joe and a quick and healthy snack at the Constant Grind cafe. After you’ve refueled, hit the sand and enjoy this classic American beach to the fullest with nearby bike rentals, surf lessons, or simply snag one of the beachside lounge chairs and work on your tan.
Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach has a lot to offer, but it isn’t all in the location and their vast swathes of music memorabilia – the staff of this hotel make the experience complete. Summit Hospitality’s co-owner Junior Abdulhussein notes that he “doesn’t like calling them staff. They are family.” The sentiment shows, and whether you’re requesting room service, dropping your kids off at the Roxity Youth Club or ordering some poolside cocktails, there’s a fighting chance that you may make a new friend, and at the very least you’ll experience a taste of Hard Rock International’s particular brand of genuine hospitality.
Hard Rock International has a presence in over 75 countries, and they have at least a dozen new properties in the works, according to their management team, with locations in Atlantic City, Singapore, London and Hollywood currently underway. With this spike in growth, will the brand be able to continue to successfully meld music with the cultures and influences of their hotel destinations without coming off as gimmicky or rubber-stamped? Only time will tell; but, in the meantime, we can throw on our shades, lay back and listen to the sounds of Hendrix and Bob Dylan softly accompanying the gulls and waves breaking on the shore.
All photographs courtesy of author.