By Laurie Carter

Just when all-inclusive fans think they’ve seen everything, Palace Resorts has teamed up with Hard Rock Hotels to create a new and truly unique experience. Pairing the multi-diamond service and amenities that have long set Palace Resorts apart, with the entertainment-based, rock star feel of Hard Rock Hotels is sure to make a mark in the mind of all-inclusive travellers.

eclipse terracePhotos Palace ResortsThe Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana has set the standard. Following its debut in 2011, the instantly iconic resort has already claimed an AAA Four Diamond rating and previews the ambiance and amenities that will feature in three more Hard Rock all-inclusives in the popular Mexican destinations of Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Maya.

Hard Rock Tunes Up In Mexico

Work is under way to transform the existing Cancun Palace, Vallarta Palace, Aventura Spa Palace and Aventura Cove Palace hotels into Mexico’s first all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotels. The Cancun and Puerto Vallarta resorts are scheduled to launch later in 2012 followed by an early 2013 first-phase debut of the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya.

Visitors to the Mexican resorts will continue to experience unparalleled all-inclusive beachfront luxury including fine dining, 24-hour room service, topshelf drinks, live entertainment and accommodations featuring in-room double Jacuzzis. Throughout the resorts, authentic memorabilia from international artists and diverse music genres will maintain the Hard Rock tradition and set the stage for a regular round of live concerts, exciting on-site events and celebrity-driven soirees.

GuitarBar_07Palace ResortsGuests of the 601-room Hard Rock Cancun will take in the water views from their own private balconies. Dining will never be ho-hum with a choice of five restaurants, including a new Brazilian steakhouse. Five bars and lounges and an expansive poolscape will provide plenty of scope for socializing. The spa with outdoor palapa-style massage areas will offer full-on pampering, and for those who must combine work and leisure, the property will host an expansive convention centre.

On Mexico’s Pacific coast, the Hard Rock Puerto Vallarta boasts a beachfront location on the beautiful Bahia de Banderas near Puerto Vallarta in the heart of Riviera Nayarit. The atmosphere will be more intimate here with 348 guestrooms. Amenities will include four restaurants, four bars, a new Moon Lounge, spa, two swimming pools and 2,545 square metres of meeting facilities.

Hard Rock Riviera Maya will combine the best of two worlds by encompassing adjacent Palace Resorts properties. The Aventura Cove Palace will be distinctly family-friendly with multiple pools, water activities, a unique teen club and gaming cabanas. The property will offer 489 guestrooms, three restaurants, including a new dinner theatre venue, and four bars. Next door, Aventura Spa Palaceto will be dedicated to adults, providing 777 guestrooms, four restaurants and four bars. Numerous pools will include a grotto pool, destined to become a nighttime club experience, and one of the top-rated Riviera Maya spas featuring an extensive menu of services.

Hard Rock DR

Set on Macao Beach, the Dominican Republic’s largest casino resort and the first of the new Hard Rock all-inclusives, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana is a celebrity hotspot. With larger than life music memorabilia, 1,787 guestrooms, mammoth casino, signature 3,128 square-metre Rock Star Suite and vast indoor/outdoor meeting facilities, this resort is fully equipped to handle a full-blown rock concert. And what a party that would be!

But don’t get the idea that the Hard Rock Hotel is designed exclusively for star spotting and manic nightlife. Flume waterslides and three kids’ pools, spa, golf club and intimate wedding venues prove that this all-inclusive is truly all-inclusive for families, busy professionals, empty-nest boomers and romantic couples.

King bed suitePalace ResortsLuxurious accommodations speak of the Palace Resorts connection. From the moment guests open the door and hear the music playing, through to the evening turn-down service, they are treated to an unapologetic room experience with rock star touches like private balconies, double Jacuzzi tubs, dual showers, plush bathrobes and slippers, Rock Spa bath amenities and Sleep Like a Rock bedding. Each room is equipped with LCD TV with satellite, wireless internet and even its own liquor dispenser featuring whiskey, tequila, rum and vodka, along with a mini bar stocked with sodas, domestic beer and bottled water. Think spacious, indulgent, decadence fit for a superstar.

For guests who pass on living life large in the sprawling three-bedroom Rock Star Suite, the Hard Rock Punta Cana has more moderate selections. The Hard Rock Caribbean Suite delivers a tropical view. It offers all the standard amenities and the choice of two double beds or a sprawling king with 300-thread count linens. Ideal for singles, couples and small families.

If the plan calls for a bigger event, there’s space for the whole crew to spread out in the tropical view Family Caribbean Suite. With 631 square metres and two connecting rooms, one with a king bed and the other with two doubles, guests can call this party central or family retreat. Each suite is equipped with all the toys including an Xbox 360 and flat screen LCD TV in both rooms plus a mini bar with kid-treats as well as adult beverages.

Upgrade options include the Hard Rock Islander Junior Suite, Concierge Level, and the 1,008 square-metre two-bedroom Signature Presidential Suite with garden, lagoon or ocean views.

Global Cuisine

Zen Restaurant ChefWaitressPalace ResortsGuests will have to plan a long stay if they want to sample all the dining possibilities at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana. Given the resort’s Caribbean location, it’s no surprise that seafood features large, but the world is really their oyster when it comes to the global selection in nine restaurants, four delis and 24-hour in room dining.

This is vacation time, so there are lots of opportunities for casual eating from the coffee, snacks, breakfast and lunch at Caffeto to the buffet-style breakfast and lunch at Toro where great views are also on the menu. For quick bites, the Lima, Rain and Sante delis stock a range of goodies including donuts and cookies, sandwiches, coffees and teas.

The flavours of Italy sparkle at Ciao, with its beautiful garden view, and Pizzeto known for its brick oven pizza. The Market lays out an expansive buffet for three meals a day, but most guests want to sample the house specials for dinner. Seated outdoors and surrounded by the meandering pool, they’re dazzled by sword-style servings of Brazilian influenced meat and poultry dishes at Ipanema. Isla presents a taste of the Caribbean, Los Gallos brings on the heat with Mexican fare and a garden view, while the chefs provide entertainment along with Oriental favourites at the teppanyaki-style Zen restaurant.

And any time is ice cream time, especially when it’s handmade on site with fresh ingredients in a crazy range of flavours. Guests can dip in at the centrally located Ice Cone.

Hard Core Leisure Time

IMG_4240Palace ResortsRock Star Golf. The call of the greens comes through loud and clear from the adjacent Cana Bay Golf Club. Designed by the star himself, Jack Nicklaus has used the native Dominican terrain to best advantage on this 7,253-yard, par 72 course. Players don’t have to shoot like the Golden Bear to enjoy a round in the midst of this island scenery and when it’s time to relax at the 19th hole Casa Club, the snacks and beverages are part of their all-inclusive package.

Spa HydrotherapyPalace ResortsRock Spa. Picture this – a spa one third larger than the Dominican’s largest casino. Now that’s a lot of decadence. Yet the Rock Spa is designed to provide its luxurious pampering with a sense of privacy and personal attention. This massive oasis of pleasure encompasses 35 spa suites with 11 indoor and outdoor couples suites and a pair of Golden VIP suites. Among its innovative features are the super chill-factor ice room skin purification and the Caribbean’s most complete hydrotherapy centre where guests can relax and rejuvenate in lagoons, whirlpools, colour therapy steam rooms, a clay steam room, sauna and sensory experience pool.

Body Rock. Getting in shape to “rock on” could actually be fun in the Hard Rock’s super elaborate fitness centre. The machines are always ready for personal sweat time or guests can check the non-stop daily schedule for their favourite class. The list is boggling with instructors leading every form of exercise from aerobic high impact to yoga, belly dancing to Zumba.

Rock-on Pools. It’s the Caribbean – there’s got to be water to go along with the sunshine. Surrounding the resort in a Venetian-style canal setting, the Hard Rock takes this requirement seriously with no fewer than 12 pools, complemented by four swim-up bars, and three kids pools with flume waterslides.

Different themes keep the pool scene comfortable for everyone. Euro-style bathing is restricted to the exclusive enclave of the Eden Pool, while families can let loose to the sounds of teen-tunes with waterslides and activities in the Family Pool. Latin vibes liven the Isla Pool and the traditional Hard Rock beat propels activities at the Woodstock Pools. For a little quality time with a good (or trashy) book, the sounds of silence prevail at The Library.

Rockin’ Activities. Like there isn’t enough to do already? Well, the Hard Rock knows there’s different strokes… So it’s packed the Arcade Centre with a ton of games and stacked up a five-metre climbing wall designed for three levels of difficulty and staffed by trained instructors. Action on the tennis courts is self-serve and when it comes to mini-golf, anything goes.

Shop till You Rock. Legendary Hard Rock gear is the hot ticket item at this resort. But the sights around this shopping zone are just as entertaining as the merchandise. Drawn from the world’s greatest collection of music memorabilia, show-stoppers here include Elton John’s hand-painted piano, Tommy Lee’s Mötley Crüe silver space ship outfit, Gene Simmons’ custom axe base and Sammy Hagar’s 1926 hot rod.

That’s Entertainment

It couldn’t be a Hard Rock resort without major action on the entertainment scene. Guests can explore their inner rock star to the beat of great live music, theme parties and amazing shows at seven very different bars.

The mood is relaxed and serene in the oriental style Zen Lounge, well suited to a quiet cocktail before dinner in the Zen restaurant.

An extra terrestrial theme marks a trio of other favourites. In the Moon Lounge the mood is mysterious and sophisticated while the Sun Bar rocks in a cool British pub style. It’s mellow yellow on the Eclipse Terrace, where the best entertainment is a glowing Caribbean sunset. 

Sports fans won’t miss any of the action with coverage of the home team on the TV screens in the Sports Book, and there’s a whole different kind of action in the Center Bar. Located in the heart of the Casino and pulsing with LED lights and HD screens, this is the lifeblood of Hard Rock.

Guests have no trouble finding their game at the largest casino in the Dominican Republic. Serious gamblers, avid amateurs and vacationers just out for a flutter find their niche in the exclusive high-limit poker room, VIP lounge, race and sports book or at one of 40 gaming tables or 420 slot machines.

Then move over Las Vegas. When the sun goes down, Oro lights up the night. Presented by MMG Nightlife, this two-level nightclub sprawls over 5,655 square metres, pulsing with Funktion One sound, intelligent light show and signature two-storey LED wall composed of over 300 individual LED screens. Featuring the first ever infinity edge bar and service by the best bartenders and servers from global hot spots, this is the golden place to dance with celebrities and sports figures to the best DJs and performers on the planet.

Rock Star Romance

Blush_222Palace ResortsCelebrity weddings are no longer the exclusive domain of, well, celebrities. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana, all Palace Resorts in Mexico and, as soon as they open, the three all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotels in Mexico, present an exclusive wedding collection by wedding-designer-to-the-stars Colin Cowie.

Cowie has created what he calls, over the top, fabulous customized packages to make the planning process effortless and the wedding day stupendous. This service takes the destination wedding to a whole new dimension.

Chic is the word for the nine Palace Resorts weddings that include options like Exotic Peacock and Sultry Sunset. But for the Hard Rock all-inclusives, Cowie’s nine packages such as Metallic Dunes and Seaglass are meant to be heard and remembered.

Resort credits and promotions make these unforgettable wedding options even more irresistible.

To book a vacation or wedding experience at an all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel, visit www.hardrockhotels.com. Find more information on Palace Resorts and the Resort Credit promotion at www.palaceresorts.com.