Call me a Negative Nancy, but I thought the Hard Rock would be a cheesy experience. It was anything but -- and here's why:
* The bellhop dude who grabbed my bags out of the cab trunk while I dawdled with the taxi driver's payment was seamless - and he didn't wait around for a tip or any of that can-I-help-you-find-your-room crap. He just set up my bags all in a unit, ensured that I knew they were prepped, and was off. I learned that they pool their tips, so I just left extra on my way out of town.
* Check-in could've been painful, but they opened all the counters to keep the flow going, so I only waited about 2-3 minutes, which is totally bearable. I asked for a quiet room and the check-in-person asked me if I'd mind waiting a little extra for a quiet room - no problem. And my room was quiet - as much as one can expect when backing a baseball stadium. I'm a city person, so I was just thrilled not to be over a courtyard of loud, drunken revelers. Check-out was also great - no fuss, no mess - just dropped a short card with my swipe keys and shoved off.
* I have never videotaped a room in my life. I generally avoid shooting still objects, but my room way exceeded what I thought I'd get. It was more of a suite - couch, 2 TVs, etc. It was great - I could live there easily for 4-6 months without a hint of claustrophobia.
* Amenities were great - all the stuff you'd expect. I only wished there was a coffeemaker, but that's just me. I'd also have liked about 10-20 more channels on the TV with free movies, but it was fine. The music channels were a good substitute when I couldn't find anything else for my ADD.
* The vibe was amazing. Being almost 50, I was afraid that I'd feel like an elderly spinster moving around the place, but everyone was really nice and accommodating. A lot of hotels have staff who don't know how to open their mouths and speak - at the Hard Rock, I got a feeling from folks that they are well-treated and genuinely interested in the hospitality aspect of working at a hotel. Whatever the management is doing to achieve that - don't stop, 'cause it's working.
I really have no idea what my trip cost, at the end of the day 'cause it was not on my dime, but quality doesn’t come cheap. It was a really good experience and I'd happily check out a Hard Rock Hotel in any city I happen to travel to in the future. Not to mention a return to the San Diego one!