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Posted on March 31, 2006 | Tags:
Orlando, Fla., March 31, 2006 - Hard Rock International, one of the world's most recognizable brands known for dining, rock music, memorabilia and entertainment, has announced plans for a new concept – Hard Rock Park, which will celebrate the spirit of rock n' roll in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Under terms of a long-term license agreement, HRP Myrtle Beach Operations LLC will own and operate the park, which will be located on approximately 140-acres at Fantasy Harbour on the corner of U.S. 501 and the Intracoastal Waterway.

The nearly $400 million Hard Rock Park is billed as a totally immersive, full-day attraction, appealing to visitors of all generations. The groundbreaking park will reflect the brand's commitment to music featuring six unique, custom-designed zones celebrating rock's culture, lifestyle, legends and irreverence. Positioned to blow traditional park visitors away, Hard Rock Park will include more than 40 attractions, a multi-purpose live music amphitheater, shows and state-of-the-art sound systems - uniquely developed for the project, roller coasters, children's play areas, restaurants, cafes and retail stores.

Plans have been under development for some time and also make provision for a Hard Rock Hotel. "This is a unique and exciting venture for Hard Rock," said Hamish Dodds, President and CEO, Hard Rock International. "In both the Hard Rock Park and Hotel we will be working with some of rock’s legendary artists to create a unique entertainment venue."

The park will also offer the opportunity for Hard Rock to display a vast collection of unique memorabilia pieces from the history of rock n' roll including cars, oversized concert stage props and other exceptional pieces.

Steven Goodwin, CEO of HRP Myrtle Beach Operations LLC, said, "The Hard Rock Park will be a unique entertainment experience and its innovations will bring a whole new standard of fun to rock fans of all ages." Goodwin also said the strong support from the community has been invaluable in creating Hard Rock Park. "We would like to thank our local partners for their unwavering support and all their assistance over the past few years," he added.

"For generations, Myrtle Beach has been a major draw for tourism in our state, particularly when it comes to being a place for families to enjoy their vacations," said South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. "With the addition of a major international attraction like Hard Rock Park, it's one more reason for folks to visit the Myrtle Beach area and South Carolina. On top of that, with nearly $400 million in investment and the creation of approximately 3,000 jobs, Hard Rock Park represents the largest single investment in tourism infrastructure in South Carolina's history. We believe that this project will significantly accelerate the growth of the state's largest export - tourism."

"Hard Rock Park is a perfect fit for fun-loving Myrtle Beach," said Chad Prosser, South Carolina's Director of Parks, Recreation & Tourism. "The international recognition of the Hard Rock brand will draw more visitors to South Carolina and help our state diversify its visitor base."

"Myrtle Beach is one of the most popular family vacation spots in the United States, and Hard Rock Park will be a significant and fun addition to our amusement attractions," stated Horry County Council Chairman Liz Gilland. "I've looked forward to this public announcement for two years, and I am excited to see this park become a reality."

"The combination of the Hard Rock brand and 14 million visitors staying an average of 5.5 days in Myrtle Beach every year seemed to us a winning combination," said Ziel Feldman Principal HFZ Capital Group a partner in the park. "We also have a uniquely capable management team who have managed, created and built some of the largest theme parks in the world."

Amnon Bar-Tur managing member of SafeHarbor Holding LLC said, "I am proud to partner with Ziel Feldman in putting together this distinguished group of investors including Africa Israel Investments and Polar International Real Estate to join us in creating this exciting park. This fusion of a great brand, great location and superior management team will ensure the success of this venture."

Construction of the park is expected to begin this spring and once completed during peak season will entertain more than 30,000 guests per day.

About Hard Rock International
With 121 high-energy Hard Rock Cafes, 11 Hotels & Casinos and two stand-alone Casinos in more than 41 countries, Hard Rock International is one of the world's most globally-recognized brands. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world's greatest collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe. Hard Rock is also known for its collectible fashion and music-related merchandise, Hard Rock Live performance venues and an award-winning website. Hard Rock International, Inc. is owned by The Rank Group Plc (RNK.L). For more information on Hard Rock, visit www.hardrock.com.

About Hard Rock Park
HRP Myrtle Beach Operations, LLC, is designing, developing, and constructing; and will own and operate Hard Rock Park, an approximately 140-acre rock n’ roll theme park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina under a long term license agreement with Hard Rock International. HRP Myrtle Beach Operations LLC is a Partnership between the executive management team, who designed and developed the Park's concepts and will be responsible for building and operating the Park and a group of investors led by New York Real Estate developer Ziel Feldman. Mr. Feldman is joined by Amnon Bar-Tur, Managing Member of SafeHarbor Holding, LLC; Africa Israel Investment and Polar International Real Estate; and FHTP, LLC, a group of prominent local investors and community leaders.
Posted on March 27, 2006 | Tags:
All Proceeds to Benefit the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
Orlando, Fla., March 27, 2006 - Hard Rock International will be rockin' for a great cause with a special online guitar auction to benefit the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, Michigan. Beginning Monday, March 27, Hard Rock will auction off an autographed electric guitar used as a prop on the set of FOX Sports Net's "Best Damn Sports Show Period," while taping at Hard Rock Cafe Detroit during the week leading up to the "big game." The guitar is signed by the guests that appeared at the Detroit cafe for the taping, including New York Giants' all-pro Michael Strahan, hip-hop star Kanye West, legendary NFL quarterback Joe Montana and hit rapper Snoop Dogg, as well as "Best Damn" hosts, Chris Rose, NBA champion John Salley, former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete and pro baseball champion Rob Dibble.

All proceeds from the auction will be donated directly to the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, Michigan, one of the largest cancer centers in the United States, which strives to prevent, detect and eradicate cancer. The institute, named in memory of late Detroit native, Barbara Ann Karmanos, was established in 1995 by her husband Peter Karmanos, Jr., currently the chairman and CEO of the Compuware Corporation in Detroit.

Beginning March 27, 2006 and ending April 10, consumers will have the opportunity to bid on the guitar online at www.hardrock.com/rockshop.

For further details, please visit www.hardrock.com.

About Hard Rock International
With 121 high-energy Hard Rock Cafes and 13 Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos in more than 41 countries, Hard Rock International is one of the world's most globally-recognized brands. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world's greatest collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe. Hard Rock is also known for its collectible fashion and music-related merchandise, Hard Rock Live performance venues and an award-winning website. Hard Rock International, Inc. is owned by The Rank Group Plc (RNK.L). For more information on Hard Rock, visit www.hardrock.com.
Posted on March 08, 2006 | Tags:
Roger Waters and The Who to Headline First Concert in Worldwide Series
Orlando, Fla., March 8, 2006 - London's Hyde Park will be rockin' this July as Hard Rock International celebrates its 35th anniversary in true rock 'n' roll style with a concert series that will go down in music history. The Hyde Park Calling festival, a two-day concert event, featuring rock legends Roger Waters and The Who, will kick off Hard Rock's Ambassadors of Rock Tour, a series of concerts spanning the globe.

As part of the colossal celebration, one lucky consumer will have the chance to live the life of a rock star, traveling the world to Hard Rock's Ambassadors of Rock concerts. In addition to the kick-off event in London, the Ambassadors of Rock Tour will include shows featuring top artists in Singapore, Tokyo, Osaka, New York, Chicago, Hollywood (Fla.), Orlando and Caracas. Concert details and additional events will be announced this spring. Beginning Friday, March 10, 2006, consumers will be able to enter the sweepstakes via www.ambassadorsofrock.com.

"Hard Rock's 35th anniversary promises to be one of the top global promotions of the summer," said Hamish Dodds, president and CEO, Hard Rock International. "Our celebration will reach millions of fans around the world through the Hard Rock Ambassadors of Rock Tour. We are thrilled to kick off the tour with The Who and Roger Waters - two legends that have helped shape Hard Rock's history."

Hard Rock Presents Hyde Park Calling
Hyde Park Calling, a two-day festival held on July 1 and 2, will be one of London's premier music events, with more than a dozen top bands performing on two stages. Legendary rocker Roger Waters will headline the July 1 concert, which promises to be a show to remember, as the Pink Floyd front-man will perform the hit album, "Dark Side of the Moon," among several other fan favorites. Waters will also be joined by Texas.

On July 2, timeless rock legends Pete Townshend and Roger Daltry will take the stage with The Who, along with chart-toppers Razorlight. Additional artists will be announced and tickets for the festival are available at www.hydeparkcalling.co.uk.

In addition to renowned bands and an on-site Hard Rock Cafe, the festival will include a market area, performance art, a healing area and a "chill out" zone. Hard Rock Cafe London will also feature a star-studded celebrity V.I.P. party on Friday, June 30 to celebrate 35 years of Hard Rock.

Philanthropy will also be an important part of the 35th anniversary celebration as each Ambassador of Rock event will benefit a local charity, with the London Party benefiting the Nordoff-Robbins Foundation.

Pete … Promise Not to Smash THIS Guitar!
It's fitting that Pete Townshend and The Who are a major focal point of Hard Rock's 35th anniversary, as Townshend is part of Hard Rock lore. In the early 70s, the guitarist and frequent guest of Hard Rock Cafe London saw that Eric Clapton had hung his guitar to mark his favorite bar stool. A week later, Townshend sent his guitar to Hard Rock’s owner Isaac Tigrett with a note saying, "Mine's as good as his, Pete." The second guitar was placed on the wall next to Clapton's and Hard Rock’s iconic memorabilia collection was born. The original Clapton and Townshend guitars are currently hung where they belong - above the bar at Hard Rock Cafe London. And, the priceless collection, which started with two guitars, now claims more than 65,000 pieces of music history.

Rocking the World for 35 Years
From a humble beginning, a simple cafe in London, Hard Rock has grown into one of the top global brands with cafes, hotels and casinos around the world. In addition to the Ambassadors of Rock Tour, Hard Rock will celebrate its 35th anniversary with limited-edition Ambassadors of Rock merchandise, including apparel, glassware and other collectibles, and of course, Hard Rock's world-famous pins. Cafes around the world will also mark the milestone anniversary with special events. For local event details, visit www.hardrock.com.

About Hard Rock International
With 121 high-energy Hard Rock Cafes, 11 Hotel & Casinos and two stand-alone Casinos in more than 41 countries, Hard Rock International is one of the world's most globally-recognized brands. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world's greatest collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe. Hard Rock is also known for its collectible fashion and music-related merchandise, Hard Rock Live performance venues and an award-winning website. Hard Rock International, Inc. is owned by The Rank Group Plc (RNK.L). For more information on Hard Rock, visit www.hardrock.com.
Posted on March 03, 2006 | Tags:
Orlando, Fla., March 3, 2006 - Hard Rock International today announced its earnings for 2005 as part of a report issued by its parent company, The Rank Group Plc (RNK.L).

Hard Rock's total revenues for the year were $452.6 million compared to $426.1 million in 2004 - a growth of 6.2 percent. Operating profit increased 23.0 percent to $63.0 million in 2005 compared to $51.2 million in 2004. Hard Rock's hotel and gaming interests and continued improvement at company-owned cafes drove overall performance.

"Hard Rock Cafe's like-for-like sales continue to improve and this was supported by exceptional performance in the hotel and casino division with revenue continuing to exceed projections," said Hamish Dodds, president and CEO of Hard Rock International. "In 2005, we also successfully relocated our New York cafe from 57th Street to our new flagship location at the Paramount Theatre in Times Square. As we look forward to 2006, we will be commemorating our 35th anniversary with a global music celebration. We are also already engaged in a number of exciting new projects, including the opening of Hard Rock Hotel Madrid, the first Hard Rock Hotel in Europe."

Restaurant Performance
In the company-owned cafes, like-for-like sales for the year were up 4.1 percent, driven by improved performances in food and beverage and merchandise, as well as strong performances in Europe and North America, up 6.5 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.

Profits from company-owned cafes increased 13.5 percent. In the summer of 2005, Hard Rock Cafe revamped and re-launched its menu in all company-owned cafes, and as a result of its success, Hard Rock is currently introducing the new menu at franchise cafe locations. The combination of improved product offering and creative menu repositioning allowed Hard Rock to realize a pricing opportunity in many of North American cafes in the second half of the year. These actions contributed to an increase of 5.5 percent in like-for-like food and beverage sales throughout company-owned cafes.

In merchandise, the company developed a more diverse range of Hard Rock apparel and branded goods, expanding the product offerings to incorporate more fashion- and artist- inspired, branded logo apparel. At the same time, Hard Rock has sharpened its retail focus through more efficient inventory management and the redesign of Rock Shops. These actions have helped to stabilize an eroding like-for-like trend in merchandise and generate a positive like-for-like sales growth, 1.3 percent, for the first time in 10 years.

Franchise royalties and fees increased to $11.4 million in 2005 compared to $9.6 million in 2004.

In August, in one of the most significant strategic moves in the companys history, Hard Rock International relocated its New York cafe. After more than 20 years on West 57th Street, Hard Rock Cafe moved to a new flagship location in the legendary Paramount Theatre in the heart of Times Square, featuring a 708-seat cafe, 1,800-square-foot Rock Shop and a Hard Rock Live! concert venue for performances and special events.

Hard Rock continues to upgrade the quality of its cafe portfolio through selective new openings, relocations and the closure of under-performing sites. Four new franchise cafes opened in 2005. In Europe, new cafes opened in Gran Canaria and Oslo in December. South/Central America also had franchise growth with the openings of Caracas in May and Belo Horizonte in December. Additionally, five to seven new franchise cafes are scheduled to open in 2006, including Santo Domingo, Bucharest, Narita, Ocho Rios and Mumbai, with additional franchise deals in various stages of development. Additionally, the company-owned San Juan cafe reopened at its original location in January, after closing in 2003 because of a fire.

Numerous external and weather-related issues impacted performance of company-owned and franchised cafes. Hurricane Katrina forced an extended closure of the New Orleans cafe. Soon after, two franchise cafe locations, Cozumel and Cancun, were closed because of significant damage caused by Hurricane Wilma and are expected to re-open in 2006. Additionally, the flagship cafe in London closed for nearly three months during the peak summer season due to a fire in July. In 2005, closures of company-owned cafes included St. Thomas, Newport Beach and the Choctaw Beach Club, along with one franchise cafe in Reykjavik. Additionally, a company-owned cafe in Austin and the Hard Rock Bar in Bristol were closed in early 2006, and the company will evaluate selectively closing additional under-performing cafes during the balance of 2006.

Hotel and Casino Performance
Hotel and casino income increased 65.0 percent from the prior year, as a full-year contribution of fees from the two Hard Rock Hotel and Casinos operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida have helped drive an improvement in operating profit for Hard Rocks hotel and casino division. The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino brand continues to evolve into one of the worlds premiere hospitality and gaming brands.

In 2006, Hard Rock also plans to open the 192-bedroom Hard Rock Hotel Madrid, through Lifestar Hotels LLC, the joint-venture between Hard Rock International and Sol Melia Hotels and Resorts. Additional hotels in development include the Paramount Hotel in New York and the first Hard Rock condo-hotel in San Diego, California, which are expected to open under the Hard Rock brand between 2007 and 2008. These openings will bring Hard Rock's global estate to a total of 11 hotels. Additionally, under its strategic alliance, Hard Rock and Intrawest have announced their first condo-hotel project. The hotel, located at the Copper Mountain resort in Colorado, will feature approximately 320 residences.

In late 2006, Hard Rock hopes to open the 318-bedroom Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. This hotel was in the middle of its opening program in September 2005 when it sustained major damage from Hurricane Katrina.

About Hard Rock International
With 121 high-energy Hard Rock Cafes, 11 Hotel & Casinos and two stand-alone Casinos in more than 41 countries, Hard Rock International is one of the world's most globally-recognized brands. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world's greatest collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe. Hard Rock is also known for its collectible fashion and music-related merchandise, Hard Rock Live performance venues and an award-winning Web site. Hard Rock International, Inc. is owned by The Rank Group Plc (RNK.L). For more information on Hard Rock, visit www.hardrock.com.
Posted on March 02, 2006 | Tags:
DEVELOPMENT WOULD COMBINE THE DISTINCTIVENESS OF HARD ROCKS FOUR-STAR, LUXURY PROPERTIES WITH INTRAWESTS EXCLUSIVE COPPER MOUNTAIN RESORT SETTING
Orlando, FL - March 2, 2006 - Hard Rock International announced today its intention to develop a lifestyle condominium-hotel, in partnership with Intrawest Corporation, at the Copper Mountain Resort in Summit County, Colorado.

Hard Rock's four-star, luxury property - a multi-million dollar project - would feature the company's unique rock experience, quality service and amenities, situated within an exclusive resort setting at the base of Copper Mountain. The hotel would be the first property developed under an agreement announced in August 2005 between Lifestar Hotels LLC - a 50:50 joint venture between Hard Rock International and Sol Melia Hotels - and Intrawest, which owns Copper Mountain. Under the agreement, Lifestar would develop lifestyle Hard Rock Hotels at select Intrawest properties worldwide.

Hard Rock Hotel Copper Mountain is part of a revised master plan amendment currently being sought for the Copper Mountain Resort. Under the plan, construction on the new hotel could start as early as 2007. Under the provision of an amended master plan, the hotel would be Hard Rock's first-ever mountain resort property.

"We are extremely excited to announce Copper Mountain as the first of several projects to be developed through an important and valuable partnership with Intrawest," said Trevor Horwell, vice president, Hard Rock Hotels. "Our goal in 2006 is to continue to expand the Hard Rock brand with unique, new properties - including urban hotel and destination resorts. In the process, we seek strategic partners who share our commitment to providing guests with a superior stay and the unparalleled Hard Rock experience. Intrawest fits that paradigm perfectly."

"We are very excited about the opportunity of having a Hard Rock Hotel at Copper Mountain," added Gary Rodgers, Senior Vice-President, Intrawest Colorado and General Manager of Copper Mountain Resort. "Hard Rock properties are truly four-star in every way, from outstanding amenities and service to a dedication to support and serve their communities. I have been very impressed with Hard Rock International as a company with a long philanthropic history that is a great match to Copper's own value system. We believe this partnership will have numerous benefits for Copper Mountain and the larger Summit County community."

The Hard Rock Hotel at Copper Mountain would include four-star, luxury residences surrounded by an array of first-class resort amenities. The hotel would feature approximately 320 residences, a state-of-the-art spa, exterior hot tubs and a heated multi-level swimming pool with an outdoor bar. Owners and guests will experience a renowned signature restaurant, a lively après ski bar in the heart of the hotel, a sophisticated nightlife offering and breathtaking mountain views.

Underscoring Hard Rock's tradition of providing luxury with a unique rock 'n' roll edge, the hotel would also introduce the ultimate guilty pleasure for skiers and snowboarders alike: "The Ski Roadie." Similar to a band roadie, the Ski Roadie will assist our guests with the transportation and maintenance of their gear before and after hitting the slopes, alleviating pre- and post-mountain stress.

Hard Rock Hotels offer travelers access to exclusive four-star boutique hotels located in key gateway cities, exotic and sought-after vacation destinations, and soon, the mountain and warm weather resorts of Intrawest. From Chicago to Orlando and Bali to Madrid, Hard Rock Hotel guests experience first-class service and accommodations with a defined musical edge. Located in some of the most desired destinations on the planet, Hard Rock Hotels offer a unique and exciting experience for people who demand the best. World-renowned customer service, destination restaurants, high-radar bar concepts, innovative cuisine, stylishly appointed guest rooms, luxury spas and lavish and exotic pools make the Hard Rock Hotel guest experience truly first-class.

Copper Mountain, just 75 miles from Denver, is located in the heart of the legendary Rocky Mountains, renowned for the best snow conditions in the world. Touting more than 23 feet of powder this year alone, Copper Mountain offers the finest. With 2,450 acres of skiable terrain, visitors choose from over 125 trails, some of the best bowl skiing in the Western Hemisphere, and naturally divided terrain designed by Mother Nature for all abilities and ages. Three recently completed base areas have redefined the Copper experience. With the nearest lift located practically at its doorstep, the Hard Rock Hotel will ensure that guests enjoy a superior resort experience.

About Hard Rock International
With 122 high-energy Hard Rock Cafes and 13 Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos in more than 42 countries, Hard Rock International is one of the world's most globally-recognized brands. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world's greatest collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe. Hard Rock is also known for its collectible fashion and music-related merchandise, Hard Rock Live performance venues and an award-winning website. Hard Rock International, Inc. is owned by The Rank Group Plc (RNK.L). For more information on Hard Rock, visit www.hardrock.com.

About Intrawest
Intrawest Corporation (IDR: NYSE; ITW: TSX) is a world leader in destination resorts and adventure travel. The company has interests in 10 resorts at North America's most popular mountain destinations, including Whistler Blackcomb, a host venue for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Intrawest owns Canadian Mountain Holidays, the largest heli-skiing operation in the world, and an interest in Abercrobmie & Kent, the world leader in luxury adventure travel. The Intrawest network also includes Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Florida and Club Intrawest – a private resort club with nine locations throughout North America. Intrawest develops real estate at its resorts and at locations across North America and in Europe. Intrawest is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia. For more information, visit www.intrawest.com.

About Lifestar
Lifestar Hotels LLC, the joint venture between Hard Rock International and Sol Melia SA, provides hotel owners a unique proposition to access the Hard Rock Hotel brand through long-term management agreements.

About Sol Melia
Sol Melia is the leading hotel company in Spain, Latin America and the Caribbean, both in the city and resort hotel markets. It is the number three-hotel chain in Europe and number 10 in the world. It is also the largest resort hotel operator in the world. Sol Melia currently provides more than 350 hotels in 30 countries throughout Europe, the Americas, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific through its Melia Hotels, Tryp Hotels, Sol Hotels, Paradisus Resorts and Hard Rock Hotels brands.
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