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NYC hotel to open as Hard Rock eyes casino, too

This rendering shows a second floor lobby and reception area at the hotel. (Courtesy Hard Rock)

Hard Rock Cafe operates one of its flagship locations in the center of New York City in Times Square, but there’s never been a Hard Rock Hotel option for the city’s visitors until now.

Hard Rock International (HRI) said in a November news release that the highly anticipated Hard Rock Hotel New York, in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, is expected to open in April 2022. The hotel, located at 159 West 48th Street, is near to Times Square, Broadway, Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park and iconic Fifth Avenue shopping.

An exterior rendering of the forthcoming Hard Rock Hotel New York. (Courtesy Hard Rock)

“This is a monumental moment for Hard Rock International and a true milestone in our journey to elevate our lifestyle hotels portfolio,” Dale Hipsh, senior vice president of hotels, said in a statement. “New York City is the culture capital of the world, and as a brand we have been eagerly anticipating the right opportunity to bring our entertainment-infused hospitality experience to this market.”

The hotel features 446 rooms and specialty suites. The “Rock Star Suite” is on the top of the 34th floor – a two-level glass-enclosed penthouse with city views, contemporary artwork, music memorabilia, and a large terrace for entertaining.

Notable memorabilia displays throughout the hotel include a classic leather motorcycle jacket owned and worn by Joey Ramone; a pair of silver patent leather boots worn by Lady Gaga; a record player with built-in microphone and cutting lathe for making direct-to-disc recordings from Les Paul; and handwritten lyrics from John Lennon’s 1972 ode to his adopted home, “New York City.”

Restaurant options include NYY Steak – a partnership with the New York Yankees baseball franchise – and the RT60 rooftop bar, which also offers entertainment. Hard Rock Hotel’s signature Sessions Restaurant & Bar is another food and entertainment option available for visitors.

But officials said the hotel’s “show stopping feature” is The Venue on Music Row, a flexible entertainment space with capacity for up to 400 guests. “The Venue will play host to A-list performances as well as fashion shows, after-parties, and gala dinners,” a statement said.

Casino chatter continues

Meanwhile, HRI officials have said they would also like to build a casino in or near New York City – even though plans have been in the works to build a casino in northern New Jersey about eight miles away.

HRI chairman and Seminole Gaming CEO Jim Allen said at a recent gaming conference in Atlantic City that Hard Rock was submitting an “expression of interest” to New York officials by a Dec. 10 deadline set by the New York State Gaming Commission.

New York has three remaining casino licenses to be awarded in the downstate region, which includes New York City. Allen said Hard Rock has been planning a New York project ever since the possibility was announced seven years ago, but that it also wasn’t abandoning a plan from 2015 to build a casino-resort at the nearby Meadowlands Racetrack. Hard Rock would need permission from New Jersey voters to build in the Meadowlands.

HRI opened its $500 million Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City in 2018. Allen has said the New York and northern New Jersey market can support numerous casinos.

The Seminole Tribe is the parent entity of HRI. More information is at hardrock.com.

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Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at damonscott@semtribe.com.
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