By Rachel Montoya

Last week, a dozen guitars met their ceremonious end as the Hard Rock Hotel was officially opened in downtown Palm Springs. The traditional “guitar smash” marks the opening of each new Hard Rock property with key stakeholders and celebrities invited to channel their inner rock stars. Smashers included Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, Hard Rock Hotel Owner Andy Carpiac, and The Hills star Audrina Patridge among others.

In the area of rock stars, the Hard Rock did not disappoint. Indie rock sensation, Phantogram was flown in by private jet just minutes before show time to perform an energetic set on a poolside stage decked out with sound and lights to an eager crowd of about 400. It was the rock-tastic culmination of six months of finishing touches from the conversion of Hotel Zoso last summer to the worldwide brand.

In October, Hard Rock Palm Springs had a soft opening with limited rooms and a list of much still to do. Last week saw full operations of all 163 rooms as well as the hotel’s Rock Spa and Sessions restaurant. The spa and restaurant are open to locals as well as hotel guests.


The resurgence of Palm Springs as a hot spot was apparent from guest comments to Mayor Steve Pougnet’s rousing pep-rally comments, “Palm Springs, California, after 30 years, is once again the hot spot for people to come to,” he shouted. “This is our moment. This is our time. The town is changing in a wonderful, wonderful way.”

Echoing the local theme was General Manager Hector Moreno. “We wouldn’t be anywhere without our locals,” said Moreno who announced that Sessions restaurant will offer locals-only special for Coachella Valley residents.

Richard Beas, the hotel’s VIBE Manager, welcomes locals to join in nightly activities at the hotel from Thursday to Sunday. As far as what style of music to expect when you arrive, Beas says, “we embrace the festival culture of Palm Springs by offering everything from indie music to classic rock. Palm Springs welcomes everyone, so we offer something for everyone at Hard Rock.”

Photos By Laura Hunt Little