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Michele Sponagle

Senior editor

Smitten by hotels ever since she was a kid, hoarding toiletries started early and picked up steam as Michele Sponagle began a career as a freelance journalist. Her globetrotting has taken her to properties in more than 50 countries, from rustic B&Bs to sprawling resorts.

Rock legend Jimi Hendrix used to hang out there in the 1970s, even though he had his own place in London. Having a room at The Cumberland hotel helped him avoid having his various girlfriends crossing paths at his home and causing serious drama.

Now, the landmark hotel at the corner of Marble Arch and Park Lane will be starting a new chapter as the very first Hard Rock Hotel in the UK and only the fourth property outside of the U.S. When it opens in spring 2019, it will pay homage to former residents, including Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan and Madonna.

Once the extreme renovation is complete, the Hard Rock will have around 1,000 rooms and suites, two bars, and a 370-seat Hard Rock Café in the lobby, which promises to be the heart and soul of the hotel. It will, of course, like other hotels under the brand, have plenty of memorabilia, alongside a vault stocked with more than 80,000 pieces of rock history.

Showcasing memorabilia started with Eric Clapton who hung his Fender guitar over his favorite seat at the Hard Rock Café. The Who’s Pete Townshend decided to one up him by sending over a beloved black Gibson Les Paul guitar accompanied by a note that read, “Mine’s as good as his. Love, Pete.” It started a unique trend centered on music memorabilia.

Finding a place for those collectible objects will be the task of the architectural firm of Scott Brownrigg. Plus, it’ll be designing the rooms, including the larger ones slugged as “Rocky Royalty,” which include a personal concierge and access to an exclusive lounge.

The new property comes 25 years after the first Hard Rock Café opened in Piccadilly—the brainchild of two Americans who came up empty when it came to finding a decent burger in the city.

As Oliver Kahf, general manager of Hard Rock Hotel London, said: “Hard Rock is a world-class institution where contemporary style and comfort meets rock star service. This building has stood at the intersection of British music and fashion since the 1930s and when we open, it’s sure to become a go-to London hotspot once again.”

That news is music to our ears!

(Photo rendering courtesy of Hard Rock Hotels)

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