Sign on San Diego interviewed Matt Greene, general manager of the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego:
QUESTION: Give us an idea of what one of your 17 Rock Star Suites is like, and who are the types of well-heeled folks who stay there?
ANSWER: Our largest Rock Star Suite is on the 12th floor, and it’s 2,000 square feet. There are two bedrooms, with a wraparound bathroom in one bedroom, and from the tub there’s a cool plasma TV you can see. There’s also a really large parlor area with a wet bar and hip seating area with a Bose sound system and dining room table. The master bedroom has a patio with a huge Jacuzzi tub overlooking the skyline and the harbor and the pool area. It ranges from $2,000 to $5,000 a night.
We’ve had a lot of celebrities and athletes who’ve stayed there and businesspeople who will entertain clients or just people with a lot of cash who want to impress their wife or girlfriend.
QUESTION: Who are some of the more well-known celebrities who have stayed at the hotel? What are some of the more interesting special requests they’ve made?
ANSWER: We get the Black Eyed Peas, and we have the Black Eyed Peas Rock Star Suite, where a portion of the revenue generated goes to their foundation. David Beckham came with his two sons, ate at Nobu, went to SeaWorld and the zoo and had such a good time that (his wife) Victoria came back with the boys. We’ve also had Kristen Stewart, Paris Hilton and Doug Reinhardt, Kim Kardashian and Reggie Bush, Gene Simmons and Wesley Snipes. We once had a celebrity who loved the color pink and requested all the towels and bed linens be replaced with pink ones as well as fresh pink flowers be delivered to her room daily. Some celebrities request very little. All Adam Lambert asked for, when asked what we could provide, was water and 5-Hour Energy drinks.
It’s very cool to have these people, but I don’t like my staff to be star-struck because they just want to be themselves.
QUESTION: The still-battered economy has had a major effect on the hotel industry, but especially so on luxury properties. In San Diego, your hotel is competing with several boutique hotels, including the W, the former Ivy and the Se San Diego. What have you done to adjust to the downturn?
ANSWER: Our goal is to not be a commodity where people are just looking at prices. That’s why we’re so focused on creating a great experience. That said, we’ve done a lot of value-added packages, like the one where we packaged a guest room at a very reasonable rate with one day’s complimentary rental of a Harley-Davidson. There’s another one with a $50 spa credit. So instead of just lowering your rate dramatically, we’re still going to give you value.
We’ve also tried to exceed people’s expectations by creating unexpected delights. For instance, on Elvis’ birthday, we had an Elvis impersonator come in and spend all day in the lobby serving a cake in the shape of Elvis, and in the lobby we have a video wall, where we had Elvis images and videos playing. We get paid to be creative and have fun with our guests. What a cool thing.