WHEN Frank Sinatra crooned that he wanted to “wake up in a city that doesn’t sleep” he probably wasn’t thinking of New York’s new Hard Rock Hotel.
But it’s a fitting theme for the venue, newly opened in the heart of midtown Manhattan, a stone’s throw from the 24/7 hive of activity that is Times Square.
Perhaps surprisingly, this is the first time the ever-popular franchise has taken a bite of the Big Apple.
And they’ve made sure they’re at the centre of the big-city action.
A stay at the Hard Rock means that, as well as the bright lights of Times Square, you’re just a short walk from Broadway shows, Central Park, the swanky shops of Fifth Avenue and attractions such as the Rockefeller Center and Empire State Building.
The hotel’s location also has an historical significance — it’s situated on what used to be Music Row, a district that was peppered with recording studios and music shops in days gone by.
There’s lots of memorabilia dotted around the place. From a gown worn by Alicia Keys, to Bob Dylan’s guitar and Rihanna’s knee-high boots, there’s a piece of music history from every era.
Up in your room, Bruce Springsteen keeps a watchful eye on you as you sleep, smiling down from the screen door that closes off the bathroom.
Guitar motifs adorn the pillows, while a soundwave sculpture sits on the wall above the bed.
The lobby area, spread across two floors, has the theme on a grander scale, with soundwaves mapped in the marble flooring. There’s constant subliminal messages encouraging you to be more rock ’n’ roll.
The hotel has its own impressive performance space down in the basement — The Venue on Music Row. The split-level 400-capacity venue, which has a real Speakeasy feel, has already hosted the likes of John Legend, Ciara and Halsey.
Higher up, on the 34th floor, the hotel aims to get in on the Manhattan rooftop bar scene with RT60.
But disappointingly, it’s not actually a rooftop bar, and 34 storeys up in Midtown isn’t going to get you the best view in New York, with skyscrapers in every direction.
But for a few al fresco cocktails before you head out, it does a job.
The reason RT60 isn’t on the rooftop is that up there is the Rockstar Suite. This split-level and glass-enclosed penthouse, complete with bespoke memorabilia and a 1,600sqft terrace, probably won’t be the room you book — unless you have a spare £12,000 per night.
If that is a little out of your price range, standard rooms are comfy and stylish.
There are 446, plus suites of varying size, but at the least you will enjoy a large walk-in shower, queen-size bed, Lavazza espresso machine, high-speed wifi and wall-mounted TV.
But with the most basic rooms starting at £390 a night, this is probably going to be somewhere to use as a base for a long weekend.
If you are planning to eat before you head out to explore the city, the hotel’s Sessions restaurant and bar offers breakfast and meals, while upstairs RT60 has lighter bites.
On the ground floor is NYY Steak restaurant, offering meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes, but the cheapest steak is about $50.
Don’t bank on eating when you get back from a New York night out, though. Weirdly, for the City That Never Sleeps, room service ends at 9pm. And on that note, you might want to pack earplugs.
The proximity to Times Square means noise does drift up into the rooms. But this is New York, baby — the loudest, brightest city on Earth.
And you get to share a bedroom with Bruce Springsteen — how rock ’n’ roll is that!
Harlem and the Bronx were the birthplace of hip-hop and you can follow its story with a three-hour tour, led by rap music insiders.
It takes in the Apollo Theater in Harlem, where soul legends including Aretha Franklin and James Brown played, and you can admire some great hip-hop graffiti murals. See hushtours.com.
Stop off for a coffee and snack at Caffe Dante in Greenwich Village. Serving espressos since 1915, it was a favourite with generations of musicians, among them Bob Dylan and Patti Smith. See dante-nyc.com.
Radio City Music Hall has seen greats including Pink Floyd, Lady Gaga and The Grateful Dead perform. As well as gigs, it shows comedy and theatre. See msg.com/radio-city-music-hall.
Strawberry Fields in Central Park is a 2.5-acre area that pays tribute to John Lennon, murdered outside the nearby Dakota Building on December 8, 1980. The area contains the Imagine mosaic tribute. See centralpark.com.
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