Rock Spa’s lounge area follows the signature Hard Rock design. // © 2017 Kamala Kirk
Feature image (above): The property features two swimming pools and two outdoor hot tubs. // © 2017 Hard Rock Hotels
When Hard Rock Hotels opens a new property, it looks to combine its signature rock vibe with unique elements from each destination. This formula is also the case at Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta, located in the heart of Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit region along Bahia de Banderas — a bay on the Pacific Coast known for its warm, tranquil waters and beautiful views.
The all-inclusive property has 348 rooms and impressive facilities and amenities, including six restaurants, five bars and lounges, two outdoor swimming pools and my personal favorite: the signature Rock Spa. Hard Rock Vallarta was among the recent wave of hotels to add new spaces and upgrades to facilities; in its case, the focus was on the newly renovated Rock Spa. With 13 treatment cabins and two hydrotherapy areas — including a sauna; a steam room; a Jacuzzi; and a plunge pool that seeks to replicate the serenity of Mexican cenotes through color, texture and lighting — all guests’ wellness needs are met in a luxurious setting where tradition and modern design come together.
“The inspiration for the design was to create a new aesthetic at the intersection of the Hard Rock edge and the colors of Mexican art and culture,” said Frank Maduro, vice president of marketing for AIC Hotel Group, parent company of Hard Rock Hotels. “It is completely unique in its design and aesthetic and subtly embraces the vibrant colors that Mexico is known for. From the moment a guest walks into the waiting area, the vibrant shapes and colors of the Mexican folk art immediately stand out.”
Even the spa incorporates the signature Hard Rock vibe into its decor: I was greeted by John Lennon’s bathrobe, which was on display in a glass case at the entrance to Rock Spa. The women’s lounge offered ample refreshment stations that included chlorophyll water, fresh fruit and Mexican cookies, which I snacked on prior to relaxing in the hot tub. In addition to separate men’s and women’s lounges, there is also a coed waiting area with swings where guests can amuse themselves while waiting to be called on by their spa therapist.
For my treatment choice, I opted for the Synchronicity — a 50-minute massage that features a musical soundtrack designed to create an experiential journey in sync with the therapist’s techniques, pressure and rhythm. Other music-inspired offerings on the menu include the Smooth Operator (a dry brushing and detoxifying wrap), Face the Music (a hydrating facial) and Wrap Remix (a combination of the above).
“The Rhythm and Motion Rock Spa treatments are the world’s first fully immersive music-centric spa treatments utilizing amplified vibrations, pressures and patterns as the foundation,” Maduro said. “The massage therapist synchronizes movements with an expertly curated playlist as guests embark on a journey of the senses. The massage uses bass vibrations that ripple through the massage table as treble beats come from above, sending pulses through the body and leaving guests feeling energized and invigorated.”
Unlike typical spas, which tend to keep background music to a minimum, the music was turned up to the point where I could actually feel the beats vibrating underneath me. It wasn’t distracting, however, as the playlist featured a relaxing blend of mellow instrumental pieces.
I also enjoyed how the therapist’s movements mimicked that of the song that was currently playing; she would employ long, deep strokes during a smooth ballad, then switch up the pace with quicker hand movements when a more upbeat song came on.
I emerged from my treatment room feeling relaxed yet energized. This was a very unique experience; something about the combination of music and massage took me to another level of relaxation — one that hit all the right notes.