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Open Jaw

Start & End A Vacation On A High Note!

Hard Rock sets the stage with music, fab dining & a cool groove

Word on the street is that some travel advisors unfamiliar with the brand are wary of recommending Hard Rock Hotels, fearful they’ll be sending clients to a pit of rock-and-roll debauchery.

The reality isn’t just a little different, it’s nothing like that at all.

Your Open Jaw correspondent found that out last year, when visiting the Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta, at 362 rooms the smallest of the current five HRH all-inclusive resorts, with the others in Cancun, the Riviera Maya, Los Cabos and Punta Cana.

The reality is that Hard Rock Hotels are an upscale group of all-inclusive resorts with music and a general ‘good times’ vibe as a unifying theme.

“Who doesn’t love music?” says Ash Tembe, Vice President of Global Field Sales for AIC Hotel Group. “We offer a luxury level experience with music, memorabilia, fun, energetic staff, fine food and entertainment as key attributes. It’s a great holiday experience for all ages and all kinds of people. You’ll often see grandmothers dancing in the pool.”

I did see grandmothers dancing in the pool during my visit to HRH Vallarta, as a rock band played poolside covers of classic songs and young and old frolicked in the water, passing beach balls and singing along. There were evening shows at the Sun Bar, where a Mexican band rocked out, multiple generations took to the dance floor and my grey-haired head bobbed along with the excellent musicianship.

Fun? Absolutely. Debauched? Not a bit.

Cuisine: Think 4-Diamond, Not Hard Rock Café

And if you’re picturing the food at a Hard Rock Hotel as something similar to the pub grub offered at Hard Rock Cafés around the world, you can delete that misperception too.

HRH Vallarta, for example, is a AAA 4-Diamond property, and you don’t achieve that honour through burgers and dogs.

There’s Frida, serving the fresh, complex and authentic flavours of Mexico; Zen, presenting the world of Asian cuisine including sushi, teppanyaki and izakaya; there’s Ciao, delivering Italian and Mediterranean dishes; and Ipanema, serving meat-forward Brazilian cuisine with the traditional Rodizio table service. The Market is the resort’s bountiful buffet, where even breakfast comes with too many delicious choices. And by the pool is Pizzetto, a popular daytime stop featuring an artisan-style brick wood-burning pizza oven. The larger Hard Rock properties offer several more a la carte dining opportunities.

Endless Activities, Limitless All-Inclusive

At Vallarta, my first morning began at a very un-rock-and-roll time with Rock Om Sun Salutation yoga on the lawn overlooking the beach and the glorious Bay of Banderas. With a DJ playing strangely soothing New Age versions of classic rock songs and an excellent instructor who respected the limits of a first-time yogi, something I planned to endure became an hour I truly enjoyed.

That was followed by a visit to the Rock Spa, described as offering “the world’s first fully immersive, music-centric spa menu utilizing amplified vibrations, pressures and patterns as the foundation of its treatments.”

I chose from a selection of playlists and surrendered myself to the massage table, which pulsed to the bass beats during the ‘Synchronicity’ massage that uses music, rhythm, essential oils and techniques “to tap into memories to create an experiential journey.” Not sure about that, but after yoga and a massage I was definitely ready to rock-and-roll.

As well as the attractions of the surf and sand, there are endless on-property activities from morning to night – just check out this Activities Program for a recent week at HRH Vallarta to get an idea of the daily options, which vary by property. We’ll tell you more about the amazing on-site activities at other HRH properties elsewhere in this Headliner.

Hard Rock Hotels have recently launched the Limitless All-Inclusive  concept, replacing the previous resort credit program. This means that Rock Spa treatments and packages, golf, tours, special dinners and more are included without limit in your clients’ stay – all for a 25% service fee.

Tembe has a message for Canadian travel advisors who haven’t yet caught the Hard Rock vibe.

“We just opened the Hard Rock Hotel Los Cabos, the first of our all-inclusives built as a Hard Rock. The architecture is amazing. Everything else is amazing. You need to see Los Cabos if you’re skeptical of Hard Rock.”

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