As a kid slurping on a seemingly never-ending syrupy coca cola, the Hard Rock café in London was perhaps the coolest place I had ever been.
With its heady mix of loud music and walls dripping in memorabilia, it was the embodiment of the best America had to offer, which was overwhelmingly cool to this girl from the Sussex suburbs. At this young age my musical preferences were pretty much restricted to the Spice Girls and 5ive, a lot of the items that my rocker father was gushing over pretty much went straight over my butterfly clip adorned head (it was the nineties, after all).
Returning to the brand as an adult, this time with the rolling hills of Palm Springs offering a rather different backdrop, the iconic rich purple hues, vintage speakers and glass cabinets of wonderment, instantly the same feelings came rushing back in abundance. In an age before the instant accessibility to stars (or at the very least their ‘people’) through Instagram and Twitter, memorabilia was the closest you could get to your idols. These pieces allowed you to capture a moment in history in a tangible physical way, be it the jacket Prince wore at an iconic show, or a guitar signed by Eric Clapton, this was your access to the greats.
But even in this fast moving digital age, the permanence of memorabilia still has the power to invoke these feelings of wonderment. Across the brand, Hard Rock possess over 80,000 pieces of memorabilia which are on continuous rotation and constantly expanding, so there is something for every generation no matter what your musical tastes. Personal favourites of mine were a suede jacket owned by Jimi Hendrix, a rather rambling thank you note from Johnny Cash and some Lady Gaga show pieces, that were every bit as flamboyant up close as you would hope they would be!
The uber stylish Palm Springs has long been a mecca for the rich and famous trying to escape the wheat grass shots of LA for some unadulterated hedonism. Situated in the centre of the twee town, the Hard Rock offered an ideal base for me to go on the tourist trail. Downtown they even have their own Walk of Stars, honouring the area’s celebrities, which is worth a visit. Wander around on your own volition and you will be falling over some of the best examples of mid-century modern architecture, beautiful and very Instagram friendly. My top tip? Take a pit stop at Bills pizza, and grab quite possibly the best slice I have ever tasted before you set off (after all, cheese powered wanderings are infinitely more enjoyable).
However, as any good party girl knows, top priority is the pre party pamper – and the Hard Rock’s dedication to the music knows no bounds. This season, they are debuting Rhythm and Motion, the world’s first fully immersive music-centric spa menu. Bass vibrations ripple through the massage table, treble beats come from above, sending pulses through your body – a world away from the identikit muted wind chimes and whale song, it is a truly revolutionary experience for any music lover (and guaranteed to restore your star worthy glow and ensure you are ready to hit ‘The Club’, the hotel’s very own nightclub). It goes without saying never has the journey home post party been easier! Between the club nights, various entertainment and live gigs, the hotel is always a hive of activity – just follow the amethyst glow.
If I had an iota of musical skill in my body (and had not been slightly worse for wear due to the heady mix of gin and tonics and crippling jetlag) I like to think that on return to my room I would have taken the hotel up on their ‘Picks’ service. A Fender guitar room service programme, select from their menu and your chosen guitar arrives at your door, complete with an amp and headphones – after all, consideration for your neighbours is cool too.
Even the building has a statement to make; the angular concrete exterior has brutalist leanings, which offers a graphic contrast to the natural shapes of the mountains and iconic palm trees. These postcard perfect views are given an extra cool points by a few Banksy-esque graffiti pieces added strategically to the building’s exterior. The Hard Rock’s rooms frame the pool, which happens to be home to some rather legendary pool parties throughout California’s seemingly never ending summers. Having done a slightly more than acceptable amount of Insta-stalking, I am oh so tempted to grab a flower crown and my best denim shorts and return for this year’s Coachella festival (13th-22nd April), held in a neighbouring valley, where a stay at the Hard Rock is the only way to ensure the music never stops.
Enthused by my surroundings, I fully embraced the rockstar experience, taking inspiration from the musical history around me and the excesses that go with it. But as my editor will be pleased to hear no televisions were thrown out of windows (during my trip at least), this diva was reasonably well behaved, by Palm Springs levels at least.
Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs, room rates start from £160 a night. For more information, please visit www.hrhpalmsprings.com
Words by Lucy Coghlan