London is where the first Hard Rock Cafe was born in 1971.
Now the capital has landed its own hotel to match.
Hard Rock Hotel London is located within the former Cumberland Hotel, once a haunt of Diana Ross and Jimi Hendrix.
The transformation from what it was to what is now is quite astounding.
On walking into the 1,000-room venue you’re transported to a kind of Las Vegas-la-la-land of colour, sound and playfulness.
The 370-seat restaurant opens out on to the lobby area and the circular central bar looks a bit like a fairground carousel, with rainbow-coloured lights pulsating across the structure.
I checked in on a Friday night, just over a month since it first opened its doors, and the hotel was buzzing. There was a mix of group parties, couples and families.
The lobby was dazzling, with polished surfaces and colourful fabrics.
This hotel is like the Hard Rock Cafe’s 21st century big brother, with a more sophisticated and futuristic edge, with some hints of Art Deco also shining through.
Of course, there is still memorabilia scattered around the place, reminding guests of its storied history, from coats worn by Elvis Presley to records from The Beatles.
But the interiors are fresh and funky. I remember the last Hard Rock Cafe I went to in Orlando, Florida, had brown painted walls and dark wood panelling everywhere, which seemed a bit tired.
I checked in to test one of the new hotel’s Rock Royalty rooms.
All of these rooms and suites are on the same floor – number three – and they come with a number of perks, one being an exclusive check-in area.
They also give guests access to a lounge area, which has snacks and drinks available throughout the day, with alcohol also on offer in the evening.
We checked into 3007, a king deluxe room.
It was fairly spacious with a very large bed, a desk area, mini bar cabinet, wardrobe and bathroom, complete with a tub.
In terms of amenities, there was a Nespresso coffee machine, kettle, refrigerator, robes, slippers, ironing kit and USB sockets by the bed.
Electro music was playing, as when we checked in the receptionist asked for our preference in music.
One of the other musical touches I noticed was the mirror in the bedroom, which had the heights of singers marked on it, with everyone from Geri Halliwell to Marvin Gaye.
Before heading out for pre-dinner drinks, I hopped in the shower. The bathroom was a little on the small side for two people but the shower had good pressure and I liked the sweet smelling Gilchrist & Soames-designed wash products.
The GMT Lobby Bar is at the heart of the Hard Rock Hotel London’s ground floor space, with the cafe and cocktail bar skirting around it.
We grabbed a high seat at the bar. It had a good atmosphere with low lighting and some classic pop tunes playing.
The GMT menu is geared towards the more sophisticated drinker, with no colourful cocktails topped with cherries and umbrellas. (Hard Rock classic Hurricane cocktails can be requested from the other bar).
There is a musical theme running throughout the drinks list and I opted for the punchy 3 X 007. This vodka martini drink was apparently inspired by Dame Shirley Bassey and her James Bond soundtracks.
You only need one of these drinks to get a bit merry, as the serving is very generous!
We left the bar and journeyed on into the night. With the hotel being practically one minute around the corner from Marble Arch tube station, it’s a great location to use as a base.
As we were ‘Rock Royalty’ we requested a later check out at midday, which seemed to be no problem.
Rocking the morning out in style, we went for breakfast in bed. The eggs with the full English were a little on the small side but the baked beans were delicious as was the fresh croissant.
While indulging in our morning treats, we watched a bit of TV. The system was easy to use with a good mix of channels available.
All in all, this new London hotel hits the right note when it comes to location, service and a spot of musical-inspired fun (there are even electric guitars that you can use and play for free in your room).
It certainly already appears to be hit, with the place buzzing throughout our stay.
Only time will tell if this place will maintain its place in the charts…
Hard Rock Hotel London is located at Great Cumberland Place, London, W1H 7DL
To book a stay or make a restaurant reservation visit www.hardrockhotels.com/london or call 0800 330 8089