Excuse me, does my room come with a rockstar?

Also guest blogging at Backseat Radio:
1. A review: ‘Alter the Ending’ by Dashboard Confessional
2. A new moon is rising
3. Editors who kick like a sleep twitch
4. Row, row, row that rocking boat
5. A Brand New sound to cure the broken soul

It has been a while since I last went back to Penang, and while I was away, a band of rock stars decided to wash up ashore and got the whole island in an uproar again with their latest edition of Hard Rock Hotel and Hard Rock Cafe.

So, once I have settled my leaves for my homecoming, calls were made and a room was set up for me at the hotel. I landed in Penang in the evening, and after seeing my parents at home for dinner, I loaded my bags into the car and headed halfway across the island towards my rockstar experience to see what the fuss was all about.

As the doors of the lift opened up, and I shuffled out with weary feet dragging my luggage, I was immersed immediately at the setting of the dimly lit hallway. Apparently, at each level of Hard Rock Hotel Penang, they have a different theme going on at the foyer, as well as different genres of music playing in the background.

Gazing down the wide corridor with striped wallpapers, I half expected some drunken rockstar to stumble out of his room with a groupie in each arm. I could so see the hallways filled with behind-the-music people – the band members, the fans and the journos, kicking back after an awesome concert in a venue nearby (but in Batu Ferringhi’s case, there is no such venue nearby), drinking expensive liquor and smoking up.

It was a nice image in my head.

Too bad all we have here are families with too noisy kids, and housekeepers with their large trolleys of dirty laundry and spare toiletries. Heh.

I fucking loved my room. The inviting bed – which itched me to go jump on it, which I did, heh. The 32” LCD television – can’t throw this TV out the balcony though. The Wi-Fi and broadband Internet – which was not a plus point in this hotel because I could not for the life of me stay connected for more than 15 minutes straight.

And this.

Call me ulu, but that was the first time I stayed in a hotel with an iPod docking stereo system. And I just loved the idea that someone put my beloved iPod into consideration. Almost immediately (after I got off from jumping on the bed), I plugged in my iPod, and blasted myself some Dashboard Confessional (OK, fine, not exactly a very hard rock music, but what can you do?).

The bathroom is lovely. Although a tad crammed, the decor was top for me. And I realised that Hard Rock Hotel Penang is a very narcissistic hotel, because wherever I turn to, there will be a reflection of me in the mirror staring back. I guess that is what rockstars love seeing – themselves. Heh.

From the bathroom, you can sort of see right through into the bedroom. If you are staying alone, it might not be much of a problem for you. But if you are not, it is OK. You can always slide open the mirrors.

But I would not advise that, because that would mean a very big Ray Charles staring at you while you are taking a shower or a dump. So what, he is blind; it is still creepy to have an old man in the bathroom with you.

With such a confined space, the Seaview Deluxe (approx. RM490++*) does not come with a bathtub. But it does come with a rain showerhead and one that looks like a microphone – for the bathroom singers. Heh.

Also, a digital weighing scale. Rockstars do need to keep check of their weight, you know. But if you cannot see the numbers past your jutting belly, it is suffice to say you need to cut down on the alcohol and free food.

Having a music-themed hotel is also a perfect reason to have memorable lyrics littered in any place you can find. Things like Signed, Sealed, Delivered… I’m Yours by Stevie Wonder on letterheads, or some welcoming quote at the hotel front entrance. But it is a good thing they did not get carried away with it. It would have been an overkill.

After a nice hot shower, I slid open the balcony doors and kicked back on the sofa with a book, while enjoying the languid laps of the ocean just outside of my door. Then, it was straight to the beckoning bed, in which I slept like a log within seconds.

Cheap thrill to-do #1: Ask the room service if they can send up a rockstar to your room, and see how they response.

My sleep was interrupted the next morning by some overexcitedly loud kids by the pool. Meh.

But it was still nice to see the view of the beach from my balcony.

Rockstar or not, you cannot dive straight into the pool from your balcony. Safety first.

You can, however, from these rooms. They are the Lagoon Deluxe (approx. RM600++*) rooms, one of the most hot selling rooms in Hard Rock Hotel Penang. You can rise and shine in the morning and jump straight into the swimming pool from your deck.

For the not-so-rockstar guests, other room types you can consider on include: Hillview Deluxe (approx. RM380++*) – something similar to the Seaview Deluxe, only with an unparalleled scenic view of the hills; and Family Room (approx. RM580++*) – for those travelling in family packs. A non-smoking room, with a kids’ playground to keep your little rock stars entertained.

If you are a rockstar with platinum/gold/diamond-selling albums, you might want to consider these options: Kings Club Seaview Deluxe (approx. RM625++*) – only 10 units of these at Level 6, where you can enjoy a vantage point view of the ocean from your balcony; Seaview Studio Suite (approx. RM680++*) – for those who are enthused by space and comfort; Rock Star Suite – one and only suite with a connecting private living space for you to entertain your VIP guests, and a one bedroom that gives you the first class retreat you deserve; and Kings Suite – the next Graceland or Neverland Ranch for the next Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson in you.

Doesn’t that make you want to moonwalk your way to Hard Rock Hotel Penang now?

Guests from the latter four rooms get to enjoy access to Hard Rock Hotel Penang’s Kings Club Lounge, located on Level 6. It is a private area, where you can retreat to for a little privacy away from the ‘commoners’.

The theme on this level is, of course, all about the King of Rock himself – Elvis Presley. From the foyer, to the collage collection on the wall, to his very own green coat with golden emblazons in the casing – which is one of the more expensive memorabilias available at Hard Rock Hotel Penang.

You can have your breakfast at their dining area, because trust me, you do not want to get caught in the breakfast crowd, especially during peak season.

After that, you can kick back at the living area donned with memorabilia of the Kings from all music genres, perhaps even try to channel one of them to get your groove on.

The very first things you would notice upon stepping into Hard Rock Hotel Penang are none other than their memorabilia littered all over the place – from the glass display spread at the lobby, to the many hallways leading to your rooms, to the restaurants, and even as you exit out of the washrooms. So much so that everyone is snapping pictures everywhere they go – from posing with the Beatles’ head statues by the entrance, to posing with the guitar-shaped door knobs of the washrooms. Meh.

And most definitely, you would notice the 18-foot tall guitar placed right smack outside of Hard Rock Hotel Penang, which, by the way, is a replica of Chuck Berry’s guitar, also stored as a memorabilia in the hotel itself.

There are more than 500 pieces of unparalleled rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia collection from both local and international artists in the hotel. Spot for Madonna’s famous Vogue corset, or Richie Sambora’s tailor-made 12-string guitar, or Tom Petersson’s (of Cheap Trick) silk suit in the premise.

Memorabilia tours are available at 11AM and 3PM daily.

Other than that, there are many facilities at your disposal during your stay at the hotel.

Think your little one is the next Miley Cyrus or Jonas Brothers? You might want to kick things off early for them by ‘enrolling’ them to the Lil’ Rock Kids Club and Teens Club.

There are babysitters to look after them at Lil’ Rock – instilling rock music in them while they are at it, who knows? At the Teens Club, a pool table, foosball table and PlayStation to keep them entertained. There is even a drum kit in case inspiration hits and they need to bang out a tune.

Body Rock. Hard Rock’s very own gym with state-of-the art equipments for you to work those guns, especially for guitarists who are required to do those guitar goreng solos.

Rock Spa. Hard Rock Hotel’s spa outlet for you to retreat to for a relaxing massage to loosen up the muscles.

And of course the swimming pool, currently the largest swimming pool available in Penang, measuring at a magnificent 26,000 sq ft – that’s 3 Olympic-sized swimming pools, thank you very much.

Not forgetting the Rock Shop, where you go to get the ever-popular Hard Rock T-shirts. There are three Rock Shops available at Hard Rock Hotel Penang: the main one in a building on its own, another in Hard Rock Hotel Penang and the third in Hard Rock Cafe. But no, you cannot purchase any of the displaying memorabilia here.

I did wanted to get one for myself, but seeing that they did not have my size – and also the fact that everyone and their grandmas are wearing the T-shirts around the hotel, I decided to get this charity bracelet instead.

The Imagine There’s No Hunger campaign is a Hard Rock International initiative to help WHY, a non-profit organisation striving to fight against hunger and poverty around the world. The name, of course, stems from John Lennon’s legendary song Imagine.

So far, Hard Rock Hotel Penang only carries the charity bracelets (for RM5, whereby all proceeds go to WHY), and the pins will be arriving pretty soon. No sign of the merchandising Serve4 CDs though.

Hard Rock Hotel Penang has five F&B outlets where you can go fill your hungry tummies.

The sure hit is the Hard Rock Cafe Penang, with live bands rocking it out at the Cafe every night. Penang own’s rock band, Ocean of Fire, launched their latest album, Destination, to a full house here last year .

Try naming all the stars on the mural there.

Here, you can also find the Mapex drum set used by Matt Sorum of Guns ‘N’ Roses, which was torn apart to be plastered on the ceiling wall. I thought that was kind of a waste.

Also, the authentic American cuisine food made famous by Hard Rock Cafes across the globe.

The juicy and succulent Black pepper steak.

And the Chocolate brownie. They were yum.

Also the al-fresco Pizzeria, the perfect location for a lazy holiday meal with a great choice of pizzas and pasta dishes as you watch the sun set in the horizon.

Some Carbonara fettucini.

And the recommended Tandoori chicken pizza.

Other outlets include Starz Diner, an all-day dining restaurant featuring Asian and International cuisine; The Shack, a pool bar, where you can sub-emerged from your laps around the pool to a nice cooling glass of cocktail; and the Lobby Lounge, where drinks are served to you from the bar as you enjoy – surprise, surprise – more live music from performing bands.

Cheap thrill to-do #2: Ring up their hotline and note how they would greet you with a chirpy “how may I rock your world today?”

Truthfully, I am wary as to how long Hard Rock Hotel Penang will survive on the island. Granted, it is a wonderful to have something as renowned as Hard Rock Hotel here. It is cool (I think) to be in the same room with Vince Neil’s (of Motley Crue) and Phil Collin’s suits. (Yeah, they once sweated in them but whatever).

Currently, it is still a fairly new establishment, so everyone would still want to book a room there, and take pictures with the memorabilia. Not to jinx things or anything, but a few years down the road, when the room pricing suddenly becomes a problem to everyone, and the memorabilias are still the same as they were since day one, Penangites might just pull up their pants and go shit in some new toilets elsewhere on the island if nothing new swings by.

So, we will just have to wait and see how the hotel turns out in five years’ time.

Till then. Whether you like hard rock or soft rock, or even blues, pop or R&B, there is definitely a room for you here at Hard Rock Hotel Penang. Just make sure to arrive in a rockin’ style, and blow everyone away.

* Prices stated are correct during the point of reference.

Hard Rock Hotel Penang
Batu Ferringhi Beach
11100 Penang
T: +6 04 881 1711
F: +6 04 881 2155
E: reservations.penang@hardrockhotels.net
W: http://penang.hardrockhotels.net


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2 Responses to “Excuse me, does my room come with a rockstar?”

  1. olympic weight set Says:

    You are so lucky, i want to have same room for 1 night.

  2. Caramoan Island : Says:

    at home we have a kidney-shaped swimming pool that is well maintained, i love swimming on it all day long `

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