Location, location, location. The 420-room Hard Rock Hotel San Diego could not be any closer to the San Diego Convention Center without being inside it. Right across the trolley tracks, a one-minute walk across the street, and there you are. Just as good, step outside the side entrance and you are at the gateway to the Gaslamp Quarter, the city’s hopping dining and shopping district. Some of the hotel’s meeting rooms even overlook the newly refurbished neon archway over historic Fifth Avenue.
This is not your standard Hard Rock Hotel; it is the first (and only) one purpose-built for meetings. But not for an instance (other than when you see a badge-wearing businessperson) do you feel as if you’re in a convention hotel, starting with the check-in at “pods” in the super-slick lobby right through to the F&B options, which includes the renowned Nobu, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s restaurant.
All that aside, this is a serious meetings hotel, with half of its business being groups. There are 40,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor venue space, with a main room that’s 9,100 square feet, accommodating 1,000 guests. The hotel’s 8,700-square-foot rooftop terrace played host to the Global Business Travel Association’s final night reception at its annual convention in August.
This is also a hotel company that understands meeting planners, which is why it created the Platinum Rock Star Experience for meeting guests. Instead of offering booking incentives to the planners (who already travel more than enough), their guests get to experience rock-star perks throughout the program, including VIP check-in with a one-hour DJ set to welcome them in style, special meeting breaks with complimentary use of Fender guitars and novice-friendly DJ equipment, spa discounts, and a custom-designed commemorative tour poster. For top-level VIPs, there are 17 individually designed loft-style Rock Star Suites, with spa bathrooms and outdoor decks overlooking the city, some with Jacuzzis.