Published On: Sat, Aug 5th, 2017

Rock Out in San Diego

PHOTO: DJ Scratch Academy, part of Hard Rock Hotel San Diego’s WAX music amenities program. (photo courtesy of Hard Rock International)

The Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos’ recent launch of WAX—the latest component to the brand’s The Sound of Your Stay in-room music amenity program—immediately took flight when I discovered an old-style Crosley record player and box of classic rock albums waiting next to my mini bar. 

AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black’ resurrected any concerns that ultra-hip San Diego can’t look back with pride.

The program is called WAX because the term “wax” is a slang for vinyl. 

I also enjoyed the option of having (at no charge) a badass electric guitar delivered to my room along with an amp and headphones so I could rock out privately via their Picks Program. Hotel guests can call down to the front desk and choose from an enticing menu of 20 Fender guitars, including Stratocasters, Telecasters and even basses to play during their stay. For rockers still in training, in-room video lessons are available to stream on your TV.

It takes a while to seep in, but everything indeed rocks here, including the elevators and hallways.

And just wait until you hit the lobby. The sense of this being the home museum of rock royalty hits you in waves.

There’s Stevie Ray Vaughn’s guitar, a self-portrait of Jerry Garcia, a telegram from Elvis, handwritten set lists for Soundgarden and Deborah Harry concerts, and one of Janis Joplin’s performance outfits. Also on the Wall of Fame are Jimi Hendrix’s handwritten lyrics and a note from The Boss.

Since the world has been rocking out since the 50s, Hard Rock remains a multigenerational brand and the world’s largest curator of music memorabilia, containing more than 80,000 pieces.
Another stellar option is their live music venue, 207, being on the hotel’s ground floor. 

Home to an expansive collection of the finest wines, beer, and ultra-premium spirits, 207 is a nifty nighttime hangout. With thirst-quenchers from regions around the globe, all travelers alike will find something to indulge in as they enjoy the city’s best entertainment and DJs. For all those sunny San Diego days, the outside terrace is the picture-perfect spot to sip on some afternoon cocktails or catch a game on one of the flat screens.

Maryjane’s, the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego causal kitchen hangout, is a large, made-from-scratch farm-to-table diner with green smoothies and burgers with authentic side salads.

Aside from the mouth-watering chow, this rockin’ diner is also one of San Diego’s best-kept music secrets, providing diners with local acts in an unconventional, intimate setting.

READ MORE: What to Eat and Drink in San Diego

Take it up a notch? Within the hotel grounds you’ll also find Nobu, an unparalleled sushi experience.

Home to the world famous Black Cod with Miso, each dish boasts exceptional flavor with a bold and tasty twist on Japan’s mild-mannered sensibilities. With a sophisticated yet lively environment, Nobu offers impeccable service and the most palatable dishes.

Up top, you’ll discover Float, a rooftop bar/pool area that transports you further down the Californication line. A stylish oasis in day’s light transforms into fire pits and DJs as the sun sets ensuring a round-the-clock party. With private poolside cabanas and luxury lounge seating, there’s something to satisfy every mood—no matter if the sun is high or low.

To kick off the launch of WAX—the newest element to Hard Rock’s Sound of Your Stay music amenity—Hard Rock Hotel San Diego hosted a lively event at 207. Live performances by WAX brand ambassadors—Evan Rachel Wood, Zach Villa and their band, Rebel and a Basketcase—took place, as well as live vinyl scratch lessons from Scratch DJ Academy (details next).

As a courteous New Yorker, I usually steer clear of celebrities, but this encounter landed in my lap.

Scratch DJ Academy is the world’s leading DJ and music production learning center co-developed by Jam Master Jay of Run DMC. It has locations in NYC, Miami, LA, Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia along with dozens of satellite locations in hotels, resorts, and cruise ships worldwide. During the WAX launch event at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, Hapa, the national brand director, headlined the event along with two additional DJs/instructors, helping teach event attendees how to scratch vinyl.

READ MORE: New Music Theme Cruises Set to Rock 2018

The hotel is set on San Diego’s Fifth Ave, which is way more my style than NYC’s. Take one of the hotel bikes and venture through 16-blocks of pedestrian friendly street ways. You’ll be enamored with the historic architecture and charming boutiques before you hit the boardwalk—a hub for outdoor entertainment and salty air.

Equally exciting whether day or night, Gaslamp Quarter is the perfect place for good eats, drinks and exploring. San Diego’s Puesto (at The Headquarters) is the place for modern tacos and a slice of how this city makes fun look easy. The second-floor ceiling of this hangout reveals their foray into industrial chic
And, oh yeah, even San Diego’s airport is museum-quality gorgeous.

My long-time-coming revisit to the Hard Rock experience was a wake-up call from my first fun experience with the brand. Life is short, as they say. Go long!

Go here for more information about Hard Rock Hotel San Diego’s offerings.

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