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Although late nights of debauchery hold little appeal for me, if the rock-star lifestyle is akin to staying at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, I may have to consider switching career paths.
Last year, the all-inclusive introduced two new music-centric programs: Music Lab and Rhythm and Motion spa treatments. Currently available at Hard Rock’s Cancun and Riviera Maya properties, Music Lab debuted in October 2014. It offers four classes to help guests tap into their inner rock stars: Jam Band, Spin Session, RockTube and Studio Time. Originally envisioned as a program for teenagers, Music Lab is now open to all guests over 12 years old.
“We wanted to create a music-related activity for those who wanted something different,” said Frank Maduro, vice president of marketing for Hard Rock’s All-Inclusive Collection. “For kids, teens, adults, groups and even weddings, it’s a great bonding experience.”
During Jam Band, seven guests work with a “rock counselor” to rehearse a song, while the six guests who try Spin Session add beats, vocals and special effects to a track with the help of a “DJ counselor.” Studio Time, only available at Hard Rock Hotel Cancun, allows guests to record themselves playing or singing along with classic rock bands. No musical experience or talent is required, but if picking up a bass makes you nervous, there’s also RockTube, which allows guests to star in their own music video — courtesy of flamboyant costumes and a green screen.
Banking on my childhood classical guitar lessons, I opted for Jam Band. I was handed an electric guitar while my fellow rockers were assigned the drums, bass, keyboard and microphone. Learning the three-chord song was easy thanks to the guitar’s special tuning, which allowed me to maintain the same finger arrangement for all chords. Similar alterations were made for the other instruments — the keyboard was labeled with stickers, for example.
In Music Lab, performance is prioritized over teaching, which isn’t surprising since sessions last two to three hours and are followed by a live performance in one of the lounges. While I didn’t learn much, I had fun simulating the experience of playing in a band, and Pretty Road Kill (we had all of five seconds to come up with the band name) managed to play a solid rendition of “Sweet Home Alabama” for an enthusiastic — albeit largely inebriated — crowd.
While Music Lab felt like a natural extension of Hard Rock’s amenities, its new Rhythm and Motion Spa menu is a truly innovative experience that blends music and traditional Swedish massage.
“We wanted to incorporate music into our spa without making it disruptive or gimmicky,” Maduro said.
I tried the 50-minute Synchronicity treatment, set to a playlist that mixes trance and singer-songwriter tunes as a backdrop. The bass vibrates through the massage table and the treble notes rain down from ceiling speakers, creating an immersive sensory experience. I was skeptical at first, but by the end I was wondering why all massages don’t have a soundtrack.
The Rhythm and Motion menu also offers Face the Music, a sound vibration-based facial; Smooth Operator, a two-part detoxifying treatment; and Wrap Remix, a healing full-body option — all set to a curated soundtrack.
Launched in summer 2014 and currently available at the brand’s Riviera Maya and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, locations, Rhythm and Motion spa treatments will soon roll out to all of Hard Rock’s all-inclusive properties.
“Our brand DNA is about music,” Maduro said. “And we’re trying to infuse fun and originality into service and activities that are expected on an all-inclusive level.”