Hard Rock Hotel Madrid rendering

The year ahead for the Hard Rock Hotel brand will be one dominated by continued portfolio expansion, particularly in the domestic market, which is trailing behind the brand’s international growth.

During a recent interview with TravelPulse, Hard Rock’s Senior Vice-President, Global Sales & Marketing, Danielle Babilino, shared highlights surrounding the many notable projects the company in the pipeline across the world for 2020 and beyond.

The brand is embarking on or already midway through projects in international destinations such as Dublin, Budapest, Amsterdam, and Madrid. Domestically meanwhile, Hard Rock hotels are in the works for such U.S. cities as New Orleans, New York City, and Sacramento.

In 2020 alone, the brand is planning for about nine openings.

“We want to grow the brand. We think there is value in that,” said Babilino. “We certainly want to be in up and coming areas internationally, but we are also looking at domestic markets because we have more international presence then we do domestic.”

Hard Rock Hotel London

Hard Rock’s current portfolio in the United States includes San Diego, California; Tampa, Florida; Hollywood, Orlando, and Daytona, Florida; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Biloxi, Mississippi, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. There are also locations in Lake Tahoe, California; Sioux City, Iowa and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Adding New Orleans to the domestic portfolio is a perfect match for such a music-centric brand, said Babilino, given the city’s deep musical roots.

Babilino also noted that the 2020 project pipeline is less gaming-oriented and more resort-oriented, given that many of the gaming jurisdictions are outside the United States.

“We need to grow the brand in the United States and we will continue to add to properties in Mexico and the Caribbean,” Babilino continued. “Over the next five years we will double in size.”

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Highlights of the international projects for 2020 and beyond:

-Hard Rock Hotel Amsterdam American: A 173-room property that’s a mix of an existing hotel and plus a new building, said Babilino. The property is located on the lively Leidseplein Square, in one of the city’s most famous Art Nouveau style buildings built in 1903 and formerly known as the American Hotel.

-Hard Rock Hotel Barcelona: Slated to open in 2022 overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Hard Rock Hotel Barcelona will have 504 rooms. It will be located adjacent to Fòrum beach and Marina in Sant Adrià del Besòs.

-Hard Rock Hotel Budapest: A property that’s expected to come online in March, said Babilino, Hard Rock Hotel Budapest is a new build that will include 136 rooms. The property, located in an area known as “Budapest’s Broadway,” because of its variety of theaters, clubs, and restaurants, will also offer a notable rooftop venue that can be used for events or as a bar, said Babilino. It neighbors Budapest’s famed Opera House.

-Hard Rock Hotel Dublin: Hard Rock’s upcoming Dublin property will be made up of two structures, one an existing building from the turn of the 20th century (and currently the site of the Parliament Hotel) and another the current site of the adjacent Fashion House building. The Fashion House side of the project is to be entirely rebuilt and transformed. When finished the property will offer 120 rooms.

-Hard Rock Hotel Madrid – Expected to open in 2020, Hard Rock Hotel Madrid will include 159 rooms and is located opposite the historic Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, in Madrid’s Atocha district.

The Hard Rock Hotel in London meanwhile is undergoing an expansion, said Babilino. About 100 Rock Royalty rooms and meeting space are being added, work that is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

Beyond the development of new properties, the Hard Rock brand is also celebrating recently having been named by J.D. Power the number one hotel in the upper-upscale market for 2019.

And as it continues with growth around the world, the brand does so with an eye toward ensuring a quality experience for guests, said Babilino.

To that end, Hard Rock as a partnership with Forbes, who conducts quality assurance for all the properties.

“We want to make sure that our hotels are adhering to standards necessary for our ranking,” said Babilino. “We are very cognizant that we are a lifestyle brand and we want to ensure that the experience across all properties is consistent.”