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Posted on October 28, 2008 | Tags:

If you're like me, you might wonder, once in a while, in those moments when random thoughts invade your head, about sweepstakes winners. Okay, maybe not, but you know what I mean. I often see companies advertise these amazing-sounding sweepstakes, with some great grand prize or a slew of cool first, second, and third-places prizes. "Do people really, actually, truly win those things?" Hard Rock recently hosted the Ambassadors of Rock "Win Trips Around the World" sweepstakes. One lucky person would get to go to four of Hard Rock's Ambassadors of Rock shows, with hotel, flights, and spending cash included. The winner just tells us where they want to go to, and we send 'em. Simple.

Well, people really do win these things. I know because I talked to our Ambassadors of Rock grand prize-winner, Leah K. from Akron, OH, the other day about her trip to Buenos Aires, seeing U.K. rockers Muse, and wandering around one of the coolest cities in South America. We also talked about the other stops she's hitting up on the Ambassadors Of Rock tour, and the only thing in the world that could've possibly kept her away from Hard Rock Calling at Hyde Park, London.

Flying from Cleveland to D.C. to Buenos Aires isn't exactly the shortest flight in the world, but Leah managed to sleep most of the way. She'd forgotten, however, that the southern hemisphere's seasons are the exact opposite time of year as those up here. (That would be the northern hemisphere for all the kids reading this who fell asleep during geography.) Our summer is their winter and vice-versa. So, after checking in to the luxurious Park Hyatt, Leah and her friend (yes, we sent along a friend, too) bought some winter wear and set out to explore one of the most fantastic cities on the planet. She says they "walked a billion miles" that first day, covering as much ground as daylight allowed. Four nights and five days seems like a long time, but when you're in another country, another part of the world, a whole 'nother frigging hemisphere, you want to experience as much as possible, and it never seems like there's enough time. Leah, though, got to see much of the city, from the "ritzy, hoity-toity" spots to the extremely friendly and down-to-earth La Boca neighborhood, where she got to "just eat street food and hang out."

Muse, Leah says, put on an awesome show. Though she wasn't "a religious fan of theirs," she says the show changed her mind. They rocked out and the crowd ate it up, singing along and screaming their local football (soccer, for all us North Americans) chants. "The sound was perfect. The crowd was awesome. Muse are definitely good performers." 'Nuff said.

So, why didn't Leah go to Hard Rock Calling in London? "My appendix exploded the week before." She had an appendectomy, but still wanted to travel to London, having her heart set on it for so long. After the little appendix surgery and two days before she was supposed to leave, though, she came down with double pneumonia, effectively shutting down her London plans. Bummer. Exploding appendix and double pneumonia suck.

Even though there are some cool stops for Ambassadors Of Rock in the States, Leah wants to continue the international theme of her travels. In that vein, she's chosen Singapore and Tokyo as the other two stops for her world tour. Seeing The Wailers in Singapore, one of the most beautiful places on Earth, might be enough for some people, but our little Leah deserves even more. Hence, Tokyo's on her list, too. In Japan, Mötley Crüe will be rolling through the Japanese countryside, tearing up every audience that comes to the shows, and Leah will be right there, rocking out with the best of them.

Any final words, Leah?

"I'm forever indebted to Hard Rock. It's awesome."

Posted on October 28, 2008 | Tags:
New Look ~ New Vibe ~ New Memorabilia
Orlando, Fla., October 28, 2008 – Hard Rock Cafe Kuala Lumpur is proud to announce that it will reopen its doors in celebration of its official re-launch. The cafe recently finished a major renovation, complete with new dining area and upscale design features. In addition, Hard Rock Cafe Kuala Lumpur has undergone a complete memorabilia overhaul, from Jimi Hendrix's silk jacket and Cheap Trick's checkerboard guitar, to a stage outfit worn by Gwen Stefani of No Doubt, dozens of new items commemorating the history of rock are now on display.

On Saturday, November 8th, to celebrate Hard Rock Cafe Kuala Lumpur's re-launch the cafe will host an exclusive VIP private party, which will include a ribbon cutting and unveiling of the revamped space by H.R.H. Sultan of Selangor. The celebration will continue throughout the month at Hard Rock Cafe Kuala Lumpur with a live performance by Bobby Kimball of legendary Grammy Award-winning group TOTO on Saturday, November 29th. The performance will also commemorate the cafe's 17th anniversary of rockin' the city. Be sure to check Hard Rock’s calendar for a full schedule of events.

"Kuala Lumpur is an extraordinary capital city and one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas," said Hamish Dodds, president and CEO, Hard Rock International. "We have enjoyed great success in Malaysia since the cafe's opening in 1991, and we are eager to re-launch the Kuala Lumpur cafe and rock this city."

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

About Hard Rock International
With 123 high-energy Hard Rock Cafes and nine Hotels/Casinos in 48 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. In addition to the two flagship Seminole Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood, Fla., Hard Rock Hotels/Casinos are located in Las Vegas, Biloxi, Orlando, Chicago, San Diego, Pattaya and Bali. Additional hotel and casino projects have been announced in Macau and Penang, both scheduled to open in 2009; Palm Springs, Atlanta and Panama, scheduled to open in 2010; Dubai, scheduled to open in 2011; and Abu Dhabi, scheduled to open in 2012. Hard Rock International, Inc. is owned by Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment, Inc. For further details on Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos, visit www.HardRockHotels.com. For more information on Hard Rock International, visit www.HardRock.com.
Posted on October 23, 2008 | Tags:

Less than a year after its public grand opening, Hard Rock Hotel San Diego located in downtown San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter has been awarded a prestigious Four-Diamond Award from the Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA).  The AAA rating is consistently regarded as the industry’s most trusted evaluation for North American travelers and recognizes the country’s most superior hotels and restaurants in areas including product quality, service and attention to detail.  Only four percent of properties evaluated receive the distinction.

“We are so pleased to have joined a very elite group of hotels which have earned the AAA Four-Diamond rating,” said Matt Greene, general manager of Hard Rock Hotel San Diego.  “We strive to consistently deliver a quality hotel experience with the exciting amenities and exceptional service that is uniquely Hard Rock.  Often times it can take several years to perfect this formula enough to catch the discerning eye of AAA evaluators so having earned this rating in our first year of opening is especially rewarding.”

Hard Rock Hotel San Diego celebrated its grand opening in downtown San Diego in November 2007.  In addition to featuring 420 stylish guest rooms including nearly fifty percent luxury suites, the property introduced several world-class brands to San Diego’s emerging nightlife and culinary scenes, including the acclaimed Nobu sushi restaurant, Moonstone Lounge and Sweetwater Saloon operated by nightlife gurus Rande and Scott Gerber and a Pinkberry yogurt store.  In addition, Hard Rock Hotel San Diego features in own retro-chic diner concept, the award-winning Maryjane’s Coffee Shop and the full-service Rock Spa.

To become AAA approved and diamond rated, hotels and restaurants undergo a thorough inspection by one of AAA’s 65 full time, professional evaluators. To win a AAA Four Diamond award, properties much pass two unannounced inspections – one that assesses the facilities and another specifically to evaluate service levels.  Some 60,000 hotels and restaurants nationally will be listed in the 2008 AAA TourBook guides, in print and online at www.aaa.com/diamonds.  Properties earning a Four Diamond rating are defined as upscale in all areas with accommodations that are progressively more refined and stylish and feature an enhanced level of quality throughout.

Posted on October 23, 2008 | Tags:

While some Americans may be feeling a squeeze on their travel budgets this season, Hard Rock Hotel San Diego (HRHSD) is introducing special rates to ensure the current economic climate doesn’t put a chill on this year’s holidays. With HRHSD’s new Holidaze rate packages, those who can’t make it home can create a new tradition with a festive local getaway, and others will be able to impress family and friends and cut down on holiday stress by putting visitors up the most stylish digs in town.

From November 23-27 and again from December 21-25, HRHSD is extending special discounted rates from $179 per night for studio accommodations, or $219 per night for Hard Rock Suite accommodations. The rate is subject to availability and advance reservations are required. In addition to luxurious surroundings at a holiday-friendly price, guests can even enjoy special just-like-home cooking with traditional holiday menus served all-day on Christmas and Thanksgiving at the property’s retro-chic diner Maryjane’s Coffee Shop.
   
Located in the acclaimed Gaslamp Quarter, downtown’s hub of dining and entertainment, Hard Rock Hotel San Diego is the perfect destination to make home base for the holidays. The hotel is steps away from the city’s best restaurants and hottest spots for nightlife, however if guests prefer to stay put, Hard Rock is home to everything necessary to feel like a true VIP. The property’s amenities include the world-class Nobu restaurant, Moonstone Lounge and Sweetwater Saloon for after-dark entertainment, a sparkling pool featuring private cabanas and day beds, and luxurious Rock Spa offering signature treatments and a high-tech fitness center.

To book Hard Rock Hotel San Diego’s Holidaze offers, please visit www.hardrockhotelsd.com or call 888-593-6177.

Posted on October 22, 2008 | Tags:
For many people, Thanksgiving is a holiday marked by heartwarming family gatherings, crisp fall weather and gratitude for the year’s many blessings. For others, it’s the day when we eat until our pants split and then quickly fall into a tryptophan-induced slumber. This year, retro-chic Maryjane’s Coffee Shop at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego is inviting guests to loosen their belts, gather with family and friends and enjoy an affordable, casually-hip Thanksgiving dinner that’s just as comforting and delicious as home-cooked meals of holidays past, no matter what’s inspiring the celebration.

Special for the day, Chef Thomas Borgia has created a traditional, three-course Thanksgiving feast just like mom would make (if she had formal culinary training).  First course selections include a choice of Butternut Squash Bisque with Pomegranateand Sage or a Baby Green Salad with Endive, Spiced Nuts, Pears and Maytag Blue Cheese. A main course of Roast Turkey is accompanied by Borgia’s take on all the time-honored accompaniments including Brioche Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy Green Bean Casserole and Cranberry Sauce. And no turkey-day meal would be complete without dessert, so diners will have the choice of Pumpkin or a warm Apple Pie.

For those guests unafraid to break tradition, the Thanksgiving menu will be served in addition to Maryjane’s daily menu of classic comfort foods including Chicken Pop Pie, signature Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Wavy Gravy and Five-Cheese & Macaroni,Angus Beef Burgers,Salads, Sandwiches and a selection of Breakfast Items offered all-day long. Maryjane’s Thanksgiving Dinner will be served from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 27.   The prix-fixe menu is priced at $28.  No advance reservations are required.  For more information, call (619) 764-6950.

Maryjane’s Coffee Shop is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday, with extended late night hours on weekends. Happy Hour is Monday – Thursday, 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm and Friday’s 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm – 12:00 am. Every Sunday from 6:30 am – 2:00 pm, Maryjane’s offers a special Sunday Brunch menu and entertainment, including Build-Your-Own-Bloody Marys and the city’s only live DJ on Sunday mornings who spins all of the 80’s favorites and more.
Posted on October 16, 2008 | Tags:

Wow, now that was a show. We're exhausted. Hitting up Las Vegas on Oct. 9, Ambassadors of Rock and Rock Band presented a quadruple-band show featuring hometown heroes Panic At The Disco, alongside Dashboard Confessional, Plain White T's, and The Cab.

First up, Vegas newbies and the new band to watch, The Cab ripped through a short set of songs from their debut album, Whisper War. Next up, Plain White T's, vets of the Chicago scene and road warriors for the past ten years, showed everyone why they're much more than one hit wonders. Dashboard Confessional slowed things down a bit, as Chris Carraba's emotive lyrics and tones took center stage, and his band mates backed him up with their experienced and subtle accompaniment. The night belonged, though, to Panic At The Disco, hometown boys retuning to once again rock out Vegas. Their striking set included hits and fan-favorites, including "I Write Sins, Not Tragedies," "Nine In The Afternoon," "That Green Gentleman (Things Have Changed)." To top off the party, the boys brought out the heavy guns, covering the classic Isley Brothers tune "Shout." You may remember it (or not) from the movie Animal House. Either way, they moved the crowd from beginning to end and, yes, everyone was screaming, nay, shouting along to that last song, whether they knew from whence it came or not.

Along with playing the packed-out show, the guys in Panic and Dashboard also donated memorabilia to Hard Rocks largest-in-the-world rock 'n' roll collection. Panic At The Disco gave up a guitar, a snare drum, and their very cool stage backdrop from the show. Chris Carraba literally gave us the shirt off his back when he donated two, count 'em, two, shirts he'd worn for the show. We don't know if he washed them first, but it doesn't matter because they're gonna be hidden behind glass for eternity, never to be smelled again, and hung above your booth at Hard Rock Cafe. You'll be able to say you read about that donation, way back when. Speaking of donations, the entire evening also raised $10,000 for Autism Speaks, a charity dedicated to raising awareness for those who struggle with autism, uncovering the causes, and discovering the best treatments for autism.

So, all of this added up to one heck of a night, under the clear desert sky, rock and roll filling our ears, and Ambassadors of Rock once again having a ball. Thanks to Rock Band for being one hell of a sponsor (not to mention, a great game, but that goes without saying) and to the bands for providing one hell of a good time.

Posted on October 16, 2008 | Tags:

One of the hottest hotels in the Windy City, Hard Rock Hotel Chicago welcomes any and all with open arms, ready to show you why, and how, they rock so hard. From its prime location in downtown Chicago to the amazing cuisine at China Grill, from every luxurious room or suite to the incredible perks, Hard Rock Hotel Chicago always knows just what you want.

Right now, Hard Rock Hotel Chicago is offering you some great packages to enjoy. They've got a package for every taste. Falling prices for the cool-weather months help you keep warm, with their "Ode To Autumn" package. If you're spending Turkey Week in Chicago, they've got some amazing prices for you with their "Wild Turkey Week" special. Wanna live like a rock star? Now you can, with the "Weekend Like A Wentz" package, which lets you follow in the footsteps of Chicago's own Pete Wentz (of Fall Out Boy fame) and live like a rocker. Hard Rock's Pink Sheets package not only offers you a great room, with fun amenities, but 25% of the room rate helps in the fight against breast cancer.

These are just a few of the great packages and specials Hard Rock Hotel Chicago is offering right now. Click here to check out the package that's just right for you and let them show you why Hard Rock Hotel Chicago is the place to be in the Windy City.

Posted on October 15, 2008 | Tags:

Hard Rock Hotels is set to develop their second hotel in the United Arab Emirates, Hard Rock Hotel Abu Dhabi, with the Tasameem Group. Late last year, the two companies announced plans for a Hard Rock Hotel in Dubai.

“With the announcement of the Hard Rock Hotel Abu Dhabi, we are reinforcing our global development trajectory and adding to our international leisure portfolio,” said Hamish Dodds, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hard Rock International. “Our hotel brand possesses a completely unique personality, a vibe that you cannot get anywhere else in the industry. The focus is a five-star luxury hotel brand that adds personality to its properties through music, entertainment and superior customer service,” he said.

Abu Dhabi is among one of the top global cities poised to become a luxury destination and hot spot for global tourism. The new contemporary tower hotel will be situated on the Al Meena Road, which is currently being rebuilt as the pre-eminent center for shopping, entertainment, leisure and hospitality in Abu Dhabi. Reconstruction of the area will offer picturesque green parks, pools, fountains and will provide dramatic views of Abu Dhabi.

The hotel will be designed to match the world's highest standards of architecture and environmental sustainability. It is slated to feature a grand porte-cochere off Al Meena Road, providing a prestigious grand entrance to the hotel’s foyer. The exterior architecture will reflect the importance of the landmark location at Mina Zayed (the current Abu Dhabi Port) which is being redeveloped into a major commercial, residential and tourism destination. The plans encompass an impressive two-level lobby and the top floor of the soaring tower will feature exemplary restaurants, fashionable lounges, superior function and meeting rooms including a grand ballroom. Hard Rock Hotel Abu Dhabi will feature extensive landscaped terraces for guest relaxation and recreation including garden terraces for public or private functions.

“The Hard Rock Hotel Abu Dhabi, being the second Hard Rock Hotel property owned by the Tasameem Group, reinforces our strong collaboration with this eminent investment group,” announces Jim Allen, Chairman of Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment. “Abu Dhabi is regarded as the one of the richest cities in the world today. Our premium lifestyle brand fits perfectly with their developing marketplace.”

Hard Rock Hotel Abu Dhabi guest rooms will be furnished to meet international five-star deluxe standards, incorporating Hard Rock’s tradition of providing luxury, quality service and amenities. The hotel will contain destination dining venues, all-day restaurants and high-energy bar locations, offering both locals and hotel guests a place to see and be seen.

“Our synergistic partnership driven by a mutual commitment for excellence delivers a unique foundation for our strengthening relationship with Tasameem," said Trevor Horwell, Chief Hotels Officer, Hard Rock International. "This iconic development in Abu Dhabi will be a monument to the drive and passion of this remarkable city which we are immensely proud to be a part of."

The Hard Rock Hotel experience offers style and substance with a unique rock vibe designed to provide unforgettable experiences. Properties cater to the evolving and distinctive needs of today’s experienced, modern travelers, who seek a reprieve from traditional, predictable properties, whether for business or leisure travel.

Posted on October 13, 2008 | Tags:
Two hundred blushing brides gathered yesterday at downtown San Diego’s stylish Hard Rock Hotel San Diego to make their commitments legal in the city’s largest all-lesbian wedding event to date since gay and lesbian couples were granted the right to marry in California. Following the ceremony and a lavish reception, the newlyweds - some who have been together for over 30 years -immediately embarked on a week-long Mexican Riviera honeymoon cruise. The event, arranged by Olivia Companies, the nation’s premier lesbian-owned travel company, demonstrates the positive impact that same-sex marriage continues to have on California’s hospitality and travel industry.

“We partnered with Olivia Companies nearly a year ago to begin coordinating this exciting event – it’s no small task to plan individual dream weddings for two hundred brides,” said Matt Greene, general manager of Hard Rock Hotel San Diego. “However, this was an extremely joyous and monumental occasion and we are so proud that Hard Rock Hotel San Diego was chosen as the site for these weddings. We wish each one of these newly-married couples the very best in their futures together.”

With a prime urban location, 40,000 square feet of event space and a team of experienced professionals, Hard Rock Hotel was Olivia’s choice pick to help execute the milestone wedding ceremony and considerable reception. Rather than hold an impersonal, mass wedding ceremony in which all couples said their “I Do’s” at once, Hard Rock Hotel San Diego’s event management team worked with Olivia executives to plan intimate individual ceremonies that took place throughout the day. The first marriage vows were exchanged at 2 p.m. and the final couples said their nuptials at 7 p.m. before joining a massive reception where all 200 women--accompanied by friends and family--gathered to celebrate the occasion.  

“Olivia is so proud to have provided a space for almost 200 women to marry,” said Judy Dlugacz, president and founder of Olivia. “The couples ranged in age from mid-twenties to their seventies and many have been together ten, twenty, thirty years. Imagine how significant it was to be able to finally have the legal recognition of marriage. This was truly an historic event.”

Following the weddings, the women embarked on a luxurious honeymoon cruise to the Mexican Riviera, chartered by Olivia. During the next week, the brides will enjoy an onboard commitment ceremony, champagne reception and will be joined by tennis legend Billie Jean King and LPGA star Rosie Jones. Olivia is the largest promoter of lesbian travel and services in the world, chartering entire ships, resorts and tours ranging from intimate boutique voyages in the Galapagos and France on ships holding 140-300 women to Caribbean cruises on ships holding nearly 2,000. Known for its A-list entertainment, Olivia has previously featured headliners such as Melissa Etheridge, kd lang, Heart and The Indigo Girls.

Posted on October 09, 2008 | Tags:
Orlando, FL –October 8, 2008 - Hard Rock Hotels, the global hotel brand, announced today that they are to develop their second hotel in the United Arab Emirates, Hard Rock Hotel Abu Dhabi, with the Tasameem Group. Late last year, the two companies announced plans for a Hard Rock Hotel in Dubai. “With the announcement of the Hard Rock Hotel Abu Dhabi, we are reinforcing our global development trajectory and adding to our international leisure portfolio” said Hamish Dodds, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hard Rock International. “Our hotel brand possesses a completely unique personality, a vibe that you cannot get anywhere else in the industry. The focus is a five-star luxury hotel brand that adds personality to its properties through music, entertainment and superior customer service” he said. Abu Dhabi is among one of the top global cities poised to become a luxury destination and hot spot for global tourism. The new contemporary tower hotel will be situated on the Al Meena Road, which is currently being rebuilt as the pre-eminent center for shopping, entertainment, leisure and hospitality in Abu Dhabi. Reconstruction of the area will offer picturesque green parks, pools, fountains and will provide dramatic views of Abu Dhabi. The hotel will be designed to match the world's highest standards of architecture and environmental sustainability. It is slated to feature a grand porte-cochere off Al Meena Road, providing a prestigious grand entrance to the hotel’s foyer. The exterior architecture will reflect the importance of the landmark location at Mina Zayed (the current Abu Dhabi Port) which is being redeveloped into a major commercial, residential and tourism destination. The plans encompass an impressive two-level lobby and the top floor of the soaring tower will feature exemplary restaurants, fashionable lounges, superior function and meeting rooms including a grand ballroom. Hard Rock Hotel Abu Dhabi will feature extensive landscaped terraces for guest relaxation and recreation including garden terraces for public or private functions. “The Hard Rock Hotel Abu Dhabi, being the second Hard Rock Hotel property owned by the Tasameem Group, reinforces our strong collaboration with this eminent investment group” announces Jim Allen, Chairman of Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment. “Abu Dhabi is regarded as the one of the richest cities in the world today. Our premium lifestyle brand fits perfectly with their developing marketplace.” Hard Rock Hotel Abu Dhabi guest rooms will be furnished to meet international five-star deluxe standards, incorporating Hard Rock’s tradition of providing luxury, quality service and amenities. The hotel will contain destination dining venues, all-day restaurants and high-energy bar locations, offering both locals and hotel guests a place to see and be seen. “Our synergistic partnership driven by a mutual commitment for excellence delivers a unique foundation for our strengthening relationship with Tasameem", said Trevor Horwell, Chief Hotels Officer, Hard Rock International. "This iconic development in Abu Dhabi will be a monument to the drive and passion of this remarkable city which we are immensely proud to be a part of." The Hard Rock Hotel experience offers style and substance with a unique rock vibe designed to provide unforgettable experiences. Properties cater to the evolving and distinctive needs of today’s experienced, modern travelers, who seek a reprieve from traditional, predictable properties, whether for business or leisure travel.
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