by Christi Ashby
When was the last time you spent time at Daytona Beach – on the beach? While most of us chill in New Smyrna or Ponce Inlet, there’s an iconic brand that is shaking things up on the world’s most famous beach.
Hard Rock Daytona Beach pays proper respect to its vintage site, the former Desert Inn, by turning part of the past motor lodge into new Rock Royalty suites. In addition, a seven-story tower with ocean and city view rooms, spacious pool deck, multiple bars, and ballrooms, meeting rooms and event spaces make this the place to party on.
You already know much of what to expect from Hard Rock – musical memorabilia amid a cool, hip design. This resort showcases Taylor Swift’s first-in-public gingham two-piece swimsuit, a trio of Bette Midler’s mermaid costumes and side-by-side displays of jackets worn by Elvis and Michael Jackson. Each floor of the main hotel is also a tribute to different artists from Madonna to The Rolling Stones. And your room number is also marked with a specific album/CD cover in case you are not good with numbers.
Music rules with some individual experiences for guests including The Sound of Your Stay music program, offering complimentary use of Fender guitars and Crosley record players for in-room jam sessions. You can also listen to customized playlists, and familiar sounds are everywhere from the pool deck to the spa.
At Rock Spa and Salon, I felt the beats reverberate through my body with the Rhythm & Motion treatment. The massage is choreographed with decidedly non-spa tunes. Imagine and More Than A Feeling started my restorative 50 minutes as the sound waves surrounded me, taking me on a journey. If you want to stay on track, you can work out at the Body Rock Fitness Center 24/7 during your stay. And if you need a little retail therapy, the Rock Shop has a wonderful array of souvenirs exclusive to this location.
Drinking and dining spots include the all-day dining Sessions that begins indoors and flows out onto the alfresco bar and oceanside terrace. In a two-day visit we enjoyed light bites at the bar, a full dinner inside (oysters with a choice of spicy sauces followed by Florida Red Snapper with broccolini, straw mushrooms, fish veloute and toasted almonds), and a hearty breakfast before our departure. For quick pick-ups and early morning must-have coffee, Constant Grind opens at 6:30am.
The open-air Wave Terrace, open from 4-7pm, offers an expansive view of the entire property. Local brews and craft cocktails are joined by seafood specialties. Fire pits and live music make dusk absolutely dreamy.
Outdoors there is one pretty colossal surprise – driving is banned on the beach in front of the property. This ensures quiet views and safer treks to the shore. Poolside servers, walk-up bar, and ample tents and cabanas make day lounging downright decadent. Even the kids’ pool is rock worthy in the shape of a guitar.
You will definitely feel like rock royalty in the aptly named suites, but even in a standard room you can imbibe in the vibe and get your groove on. The staff, or members of the band, are gracious and hospitable. You won’t find smashed guitars or trashed hotel rooms, but you can imagine the inspirations as you pose, vogue and selfie.
Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach
918 N. Atlantic Avenue
Daytona Beach, Florida 32118