Josh Littman, EMEA director of development for hotels and casinos at Hard Rock International, told BigHospitality that no further details had been decided in Glasgow, but that it formed part of the group’s plans to expand its operations within the UK.
The London opening will signal a renewed commitment to London and the wider UK, Littman said, with other cities on the group’s radar for possible future hotels including Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham.
The Cumberland – which will be operated under a Hard Rock Hotel-branded franchise when it opens in summer 2018 ‒ will be the group’s first hotel in the UK, despite the first ever Hard Rock Café being located on London’s Piccadilly since opening in 1971.
As well as a Hard Rock Café, the London hotel is set to operate several third party brands inside – the exact partnerships are yet to be confirmed ‒ will be decorated with a wide range of London- and UK-related music memorabilia, operate a public bar, and also expects to offer a regular programme of music events designed to appeal to Londoners as much as international visitors.
The brand is undergoing a period of significant expansion, with the current 23-strong portfolio expected to double in size to around 50 worldwide by 2020. The overall goal is to reach 100 hotels in the subsequent years.
The group’s most recent European opening was in Ibiza, with Tenerife expected in the next few months and Berlin by 2020, alongside further expansion in global locations such as Dubai.
Speaking to BigHospitality, Littman said: “We are committed to the UK. We were born in the UK [when the first Hard Rock Café opened] and we're happy to have a presence here. We're hoping that now we have [the London hotel] in the open, more people are expressing interest in working with us, because now there's an anchor in the capital city.
“I think our brand would suit any place where there are strong market dynamics and the mainstream international hotel brands. It makes sense. We do the same thing they do, but with the added value of having a strong differentiating aspect. We're taking opportunities as they come.”
Hard Rock Café International was founded in 1971 in London by Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton. It now operates around 200 locations in over 60 countries, comprising cafés, ‘Rock Shops’, hotels, and casinos.