Where to Stay in Daytona Beach: Hard Rock Hotel

Just opened in the heart of Daytona Beach, one of the world’s most famous beaches, is the new Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach. The beachfront 4-star hotel is the first big hotel to open in the destination that is not only famous for the Daytona International Speedway, the home of the legendary NASCAR 500 race, but as a Spring Break destination back in the day.

Why Go

The area is seeing a bit of a revival thanks to the original spring breakers returning with their kids. With its own airport, it’s easy to get to Daytona, it’s affordable and there’s plenty to do. The Hard Rock Hotel is only 15 minutes from the airport, which is very appealing if you’re traveling as a family. Orlando is also only an hour away.

The Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach is housed in a once dilapidated building that has been transformed into an upscale family-friendly gem, designed in a mid-century modern style. The vibe is edgy but relaxed and the Hard Rock Hotel’s iconic music theme runs throughout the hotel, although you don’t have to be into music to enjoy staying here. Walls and hallways are adorned with memorabilia ranging from classic greats to modern superstars. There’s original black and white photos of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, one of Rihanna’s dazzling concert costumes and even the overalls of a former racing car champion, a nod to Daytona Beaches’ racing history.

On the edge of the beach, there’s a large, heated pool surrounded by shaded cabanas. Pool conveniences include underwater speakers, disabled access and the kids’ pool nearby. Other hotel amenities include the spa and salon — their signature Rhythm and Motion Massage is a must. There’s also a gym and yoga program, and if you’re an early riser, their sunrise yoga is a real treat. Weekly events and monthly concerts are also on the schedule.

Whether you’re into history, culture, nature or even shopping, there’s plenty to explore outside the hotel. You can hire fat bikes or drive along the beach, climb to the top of the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse or visit St. Augustine, the oldest city in the US. There are over twelve golf courses in the area, and kids will love the Marine Science Center.

Specially for Kids

This is an ideal hotel for kids of all ages. It’s compact and is easy to navigate. There is a guitar-shaped kids’ pool, which has a splash area for little ones and glow-in-the-dark tiles, a beach that seems to stretch for miles in either direction and the Hard Rock Roxity Youth Club (for 5 to 15-year olds), the first one in the US.  Inside you’ll find a large, indoor activity center with air hockey, foosball, arts and crafts, a stage and props, such as inflatable guitars for jam sessions designed to bring out each kid’s inner rock star. They run an interactive program of music-themed activities including the very popular Selfie Scavenger Hunt. Initially the kids’ club is running four afternoons a week, open from 1pm to 8pm or 9pm.

So, while your kid crew is hanging out at Roxity, you can chill out with a cocktail by the pool and listen to a surprisingly eclectic mix of music.

Daily activities are organized by the kids’ pool, and there’s also volleyball, basketball and a floating putting green.  Movies shown on an inflatable movie screen are on the agenda for summer evenings. Both parents and kids can do a fascinating memorabilia tour of the hotel. Weekly live entertainment and music concerts are also planned. Between May and October, you might even get to see turtles hatching on the beach in front of the hotel.

Room Types for Families

Over half of the 200 hotel rooms are ocean-facing and have balconies with stunning views. Being a new hotel, rooms are immaculate and come with ultra-modern bathrooms. Deluxe Rooms come with king or queen beds. If you feel like splashing out, you can upgrade to a larger Studio Suite. Connecting rooms are also available.

A big hit with moms, dads and kids is the in-room Fender guitar that comes with headphones, so you can jam to your heart’s content without fear of disturbing other guests, or the Crosley turntable that comes with a box of specially curated vinyl records.

Dining Options

The hotel has one full service restaurant on the property that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sessions has outdoor tables overlooking the beach, a kids’ menu and a bar.  There’s also a café where you can grab a snack or cool down with gelato. Several new restaurants have opened nearby, if you feel like heading out. When you feel like a night in, you can order room service, which also has a kids’ menu.

On the third floor is Wave Terrace, an open-air bar and lounge that is the ideal spot for watching the sunset and drinking cocktails. Food service at the Wave Terrace is planned in the future.

By Janine Clements