“We don’t do ribbon cuttings here. We smash guitars.”
And with that statement from Saved By The Bell star and TV host Mario Lopez, hundreds of people on a stage on the beach picked up guitars and, in true rock star style, smashed them to pieces as a massive display of fireworks lit up the warm October night sky, signalling the official grand opening of the new Hard Rock Hotel Los Cabos.
The epic guitar smash, a Hard Rock signature move, was part of a multi-day series of celebrations, events, and activities held last week to mark the opening of the most recent hotel in the Hard Rock empire and its fourth location in Mexico.
“An easy choice,” said Frank Maduro, vice president of marketing at AIC Hotel Group of the decision to expand the Hard Rock brand into Cabo San Lucas. “It was just a natural progression for us having properties in Cancun, Riviera Maya, and Puerto Vallarta. This was just the next stop for us.”
The sprawling new property, nestled on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, includes 639 guest rooms, each with a personal outdoor hydro-spa tub, and access to five pools, eight dining establishments, a fully-equipped gym, a bowling alley, beauty salon, and luxury spa offerings.
The spa, for one, offers everything from standard treatments like facials and massages to a “rhythm and motion” experience where therapists incorporate music and vibration into the treatment with bass vibrations rippling through the massage table and treble beats from above sending pulses through the body.
“We’ve kind of taken a little bit of everything from all of our different hotels and put it into this one and really made it our true baby,” said Kevin Edmunds, vice-president of group sales for the AIC Hotel Group. “It’s really a destination that competes with everyone. Cabos is always a destination that’s on the docket for experiences so this was ideal and a natural progression for us…we’re very excited.”
“I saw Lil Jon by the pool”
A sense of excitement definitely infused the grand opening festivities, which included high-energy performances from singers Brett Michaels and Enrique Iglesias and red carpet appearances from actor Scott Eastwood, Game of Thrones star Alfie Allen, actresses Erika Christensen and Lindsay Price, whose husband, chef Curtis Stone, was out of town so she made a girls trip out of the grand opening (“I was in need of a vacation,” she explained) and Orange is the New Black star Selenis Leyva.
“I saw Lil Jon by the pool earlier,” said Leyva. “I tried not to fangirl.”
Lil Jon treated guests to a lively DJ set during a daytime pool party where guests got “crunk” by soaking up shots and were blasted by foam canons.
“Beach, sun, and fun that’s what we do,” said Edmunds.
‘All day, all night, all-included’
“One of the great differentiators is what we call ‘all day, all night, all-included’” explained Maduro. “Where most all-inclusives may have similar product: they’ve got a great beach, beautiful views, and a lot of people have great restaurants, but where we extend it is, once the sun goes down, the fun continues at night. Most all-inclusives die at night, we continue so that’s a big differentiator for us.”
The grand opening festivities definitely didn’t die at night with after parties following the Brett Michaels and Enrique Iglesias performances where the bottles were popping and the dance floors were hopping.
“Hard Rock has an edge. It’s all about music, irreverence, it’s all about the fun,” said Maduro.
“Music is the ultimate unifier,” added Edmunds. “We have that lifestyle brand that we can connect over. It doesn’t matter if you speak the same language, songs and music are the ultimate unifiers.”
In true Hard Rock fashion, the new Los Cabos location is filled with music memorabilia from artists like Madonna, Cher, U2, and The Who.
Travel agents rock
Maduro and Edmunds both expect the new hotel to be a hit with Canadian travellers.
“Canada is a huge market for us both in the group side and the individual leisure side and that’s going to continue,” said Edmunds. “Moving forward I think we’re going to need more airlift here because there’s hotels being built every single day.”
“We have great travel agents we work with, we are very, very fortunate,” said Maduro. “About 80 per cent of our leisure business comes from travel agents and tour operators.”
“Agents are engaged,” added Edmunds. “They want to know Hard Rock. They’re really our external sales team in a lot of ways. They’re our biggest promoter, they’ve been a great asset to us.”
“What makes the heart of Hard Rock is the fact that it’s a known brand, a quality product,” said Maduro. So the way we want to pitch this is it’s the experience, the music, the memorabilia and the property and the lifestyle brand that delivers.”
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