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What’s on Tap for Hard Rock Hotels in 2020



The year ahead for the Hard Rock Hotel brand will be one dominated by continued portfolio expansion, particularly in the domestic market, which is trailing behind the brand’s international growth.

During a recent interview with TravelPulse, Hard Rock’s Senior Vice-President, Global Sales & Marketing, Danielle Babilino, shared highlights surrounding the many notable projects the company in the pipeline across the world for 2020 and beyond.

The brand is embarking on or already midway through projects in international destinations such as Dublin, Budapest, Amsterdam, and Madrid. Domestically meanwhile, Hard Rock hotels are in the works for such U.S. cities as New Orleans, New York City, and Sacramento.

In 2020 alone, the brand is planning for about nine openings.

“We want to grow the brand. We think there is value in that,” said Babilino. “We certainly want to be in up and coming areas internationally, but we are also looking at domestic markets because we have more international presence then we do domestic.”

PHOTO: The lobby of the new Hard Rock Hotel London (Courtesy Hard Rock International)

Hard Rock’s current portfolio in the United States includes San Diego, California; Tampa, Florida; Hollywood, Orlando, and Daytona, Florida; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Biloxi, Mississippi, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. There are also locations in Lake Tahoe, California; Sioux City, Iowa and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Adding New Orleans to the domestic portfolio is a perfect match for such a music-centric brand, said Babilino, given the city’s deep musical roots.

Babilino also noted that the 2020 project pipeline is less gaming-oriented and more resort-oriented, given that many of the gaming jurisdictions are outside the United States.

“We need to grow the brand in the United States and we will continue to add to properties in Mexico and the Caribbean,” Babilino continued. “Over the next five years we will double in size.”

Highlights of the international projects for 2020 and beyond:

-Hard Rock Hotel Amsterdam American: A 173-room property that’s a mix of an existing hotel and plus a new building, said Babilino. The property is located on the lively Leidseplein Square, in one of the city’s most famous Art Nouveau style buildings built in 1903 and formerly known as the American Hotel.

-Hard Rock Hotel Barcelona: Slated to open in 2022 overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Hard Rock Hotel Barcelona will have 504 rooms. It will be located adjacent to Fòrum beach and Marina in Sant Adrià del Besòs.

-Hard Rock Hotel Budapest: A property that’s expected to come online in March, said Babilino, Hard Rock Hotel Budapest is a new build that will include 136 rooms. The property, located in an area known as “Budapest’s Broadway,” because of its variety of theaters, clubs, and restaurants, will also offer a notable rooftop venue that can be used for events or as a bar, said Babilino. It neighbors Budapest’s famed Opera House.

-Hard Rock Hotel Dublin: Hard Rock’s upcoming Dublin property will be made up of two structures, one an existing building from the turn of the 20th century (and currently the site of the Parliament Hotel) and another the current site of the adjacent Fashion House building. The Fashion House side of the project is to be entirely rebuilt and transformed. When finished the property will offer 120 rooms.

-Hard Rock Hotel Madrid – Expected to open in 2020, Hard Rock Hotel Madrid will include 159 rooms and is located opposite the historic Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, in Madrid’s Atocha district.

The Hard Rock Hotel in London meanwhile is undergoing an expansion, said Babilino. About 100 Rock Royalty rooms and meeting space are being added, work that is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

Beyond the development of new properties, the Hard Rock brand is also celebrating recently having been named by J.D. Power the number one hotel in the upper-upscale market for 2019.

And as it continues with growth around the world, the brand does so with an eye toward ensuring a quality experience for guests, said Babilino.

To that end, Hard Rock as a partnership with Forbes, who conducts quality assurance for all the properties.

“We want to make sure that our hotels are adhering to standards necessary for our ranking,” said Babilino. “We are very cognizant that we are a lifestyle brand and we want to ensure that the experience across all properties is consistent.”

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Three Sandos Resorts Ideal for Family Vacations



While most Sandos Hotels & Resorts properties are already family-friendly, the brand is particularly proud of three of its resorts that are truly exceptional when it comes to creating incredible getaways for the entire family. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that each of its all-inclusive resorts sits upon some of the most breathtaking beaches to be found throughout Spain and Mexico.

Sandos Caracol Eco Resort

At Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, resort designers wisely asked themselves the question “Why should kids have all the fun?” when it comes to exciting, fun, refreshing water park adventures. Tucked away amid the magical Mayan jungle, a water park awaits guests of all ages, so kids and adults can enjoy the aquatic experience together!

And, of course, entry is included in your rate of stay. A total of 29 exhilarating water slides promise to get the adrenaline going as you zoom downward at full speed before splashing into the cool waters of the pool.

While popular, the water park isn’t Sandos Caracol’s only kid-friendly attraction. Amid the lush jungle, there’s also an animal farm filled with various exotic species that are native to the surrounding Riviera Maya region, where kids can learn about and interact with fascinating creatures.

The plentiful landscape also affords almost endless eco-activities just outside the resort, such as cool, crystal-clear freshwater cenotes where you can float as turtles swim beneath you and monkeys swing through the treetops overhead.

PHOTO: Biking at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort. (photo via Sandos Hotels & Resorts)

Sandos Playacar

At Sandos Playacar, also located on the stunning white sands of Mexico’s Riviera Maya region (this time in Playa del Carmen), an absolute wealth of family-focused amenities awaits guests as soon as they arrive on property.

The resort’s newly-designed family pool area, mere steps from the beach, incorporates a delightful children’s water park, infinity pool and oceanfront snack bar. The whole family can relax together thanks to different age-appropriate elements combined in one location. There’s also a full program of fun and activities designed for pool and beach play.

When the adults do want some time to themselves, the Kids Club stands ready to entertain and care for guests from four to twelve years old with a full day’s worth of supervised, fun activities. There’s even the Lite Teen Club for the older youngsters (thirteen through seventeen), offering video and arcade games, air hockey, pool tables, a dance floor, non-alcoholic bar and nightly themed parties, where guests can mingle and meet new friends their age.

Near the center of the resort, a nine-hole miniature golf course holds the potential to pit adults against kids in a friendly competition, as guests attempt to putt their way through the quirky paths and tricky inclines, declines and ball-mazes that make the game so much fun!

All the while, tropical birds, butterflies and swaying branches dance about overhead. After dinner, an evening filled with live entertainment for the whole family awaits, as the Gran Plaza outdoor stage comes alive with captivating performances.

Sandos Playacar Beach Resort, Mexico
PHOTO: Family dining at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort, Mexico. (photo via Sandos Hotels & Resorts)

Sandos San Blas Eco Resort

Finally, Sandos San Blas Eco Resort offers a singular experience on breathtaking Tenerife island, one of the Spanish-owned Canary Islands off the coast of Northern Africa. The five-star resort is immediately adjacent to the San Blas Environmental Reserve and is the perfect choice for a family vacation that blends relaxation and recreation with nature. Here, families can come together while embarking on activities and adventures that can be found nowhere else.

The onsite lake is ideal for kayaking or canoeing, while the beach also offers adventurous guests kayaking, paddle-boarding and snorkeling options, as well as scuba-diving organized through the in-house dive center.

The incredible, subtropical San Blas Environmental Reserve provides excellent mountain biking, jogging or trekking routes, opportunities for outdoor walk-and-yoga sessions or observing the landscape under star-filled skies. Or, simply set out upon an exploration as a family of the island’s untouched natural wilderness and discover its unique flora and fauna.

The resort itself boasts eight swimming pools—five freshwater and three saltwater pools, two of which are great for kids. There are also activities designed especially for kids, with daily schedules featuring treasure hunts, face painting, pool games, video games and arts and crafts, among others.

Teens, meanwhile, can take part in activities best suited to older minors, such as climbing, kayaking, football, sand-soccer, badminton, pool games and more.

For the adults, two distinct golf courses, Amarilla Golf and Golf del Sur, both Atlantic Ocean-adjacent, offer challenging courses set amid spectacular scenery. Golf del Sur boasts three competition courses, featuring volcanic black-sand bunkers, massive greens and two trying water hazards. Amarilla Golf’s eighteen holes are set amid a gorgeous landscape situated beside the ocean, boasting beautiful native flora that’s being preserved thanks to its Biosphere Golf certification.

For more information on these properties, contact a travel advisor or visit

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