Hard Rock and roll in Asia


THE brand is more known for its cafes, but that is set to change as Hard Rock goes on a roll to have 100 hotels, opened or signed, globally by 2020.

To-date, Hard Rock has 22 hotels in operation globally, including its casinos in the US, and 18 hotels in the pipeline. In contrast, there are some 160 cafes worldwide.


Marco Roca, executive vice president and chief development officer, Hard Rock

Hard Rock’s executive vice president and chief development officer, Marco Roca, said of the 60 hotels left to be signed, roughly 50 per cent would be in the US and 25 per cent in Asia and 25 per cent in the Middle East and Europe. The chain recently hired a senior vice president hotel development (Asia and India), Leong Wy Joon, to look at expansion in key resorts and key global cities in the region such as Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai.

There are just five Hard Rock hotels in Asia now, but already, the chain has debuted in India with the newly-opened Hard Rock in Goa and will soon debut in China with a property in Shenzhen, to be followed by another in Haikou.


Most of its 22 hotels in operation today are franchised, although it manages all of its casino hotels in the US. “Of the 18 signed agreements, 12 are managed, six franchised, so as we grow there is a preference to manage,” Roca said.

Asked why Hard Rock is still a relevant brand today, Roca said: “Music will always be relevant. We consider ourselves a lifestyle hotel, but we didn’t go out to create a brand to fit a ‘lifestyle’ niche. We are all about the music, and we create our hotels around music. We are the largest curator of musical memorabilia, with 80,000 original pieces in our collection, and they cut across generations, genres and cultures of music. We don’t only have Beatles guitars or Michael Jackson’s jacket, but an entire collection, from Shakira to Asian artistes now. We’re a music museum with rooms and we appeal to people from eight years old to 80. Who does not love music; it is the international language of love.”

– Read the View from the Top with Marco Roca, TTG Asia, March 4 issue

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