Every year, my wife earns an all-expense-paid vacation for two to some beautiful, exotic locale for being one of the top salespeople in her company. Every year, she takes me on this vacation. Every year, I take photos and then post them in a photo diary. Here is this year’s retro photo diary.
Our arrival at the Resort. I don’t often get greeted by throngs of clapping people and waiters who immediately hand me fruity, non-alcoholic beverages. But then again, I’m not a top salesperson in a multi-national company, like my wife.
The Hard Rock Cafe and Resort
This is the resort we stayed at – the Hard Rock Cafe and Resort. It’s only two years old and used to be a Moon Palace Resort, until it was sold to Hard Rock last year. Interesting fact – Hard Rock Cafe entered into a formal business partnership with the Seminole Tribe from Florida. They say it was to “give back” but really, they did it because it makes it easier to incorporate casinos on their properties.
The grounds at the resort, which was all-inclusive resort. As we were checking out, I was informed by the hotel management that the term “all-inclusive” did not refer to the towels. Or the nightstand.
Our room, the honeymoon suite in the largest building on the complex. You’ll notice it says, “Honeymooners” on our door. I may or may not have been purposely vague when asked by hotel staff if we were, indeed, on our honeymoon. (I’m joking, but I really don’t understand why we were given the Honeymoon Suite. Not that I was complaining.)
The bottle of champagne that awaited us, you know, to help us celebrate our recent marriage. Like I mentioned before, I don’t understand why we were given the honeymoon suite, but I suppose you could make the case that within the light of human history, anything that happened within the last decade really does count as “recent.”
What honeymoon suite at the Hard Rock Cafe would be complete without a picture of Elvis and Priscilla? Because all good romances meet when an Army GI meets a stunning and attractive young woman who captures his attention and turns out to be 14 years old.
A nice quote from an great Elvis song. Of course, that song would later be remade by UB40 and used prominently in the soundtrack to the movie “Sliver” about a creepy superintendent who spies on the tenants of a building using hidden cameras.
The best place for this stunning photo of rocker Gwen Stefani kissing her husband Gavin Rossdale? Right above the toilet. The Hard Rock Cafe Resort’s interior decorator’s hunch that there is no better time nor place to contemplate the romance of the No Doubt rocker and the Bush front-man than while relieving oneself was SPOT ON!
Vacation for me = sleep + reading. Here are some of the titles my wife and I plowed through while on the beach. My choices were mostly non-fiction, first-person narratives written by authors with unique, humorous voices. I hope to be one of those one day.
This sign was posted on every stairwell in the hotel. A warning, that you can slip and fall. Which is fine, until we got to our wing of the hotel, where the icon changed, slightly, leading to real confusion.
Awesome Rock Memorabilia
The best thing about the Hard Rock Cafe is – of course – all the historic memorabilia that reminds you of epic legends of rock. The north lobby was decked out with giant, commissioned murals that were really cool. This one was hung imPres(ive)ley.
Legends of Pop
At the other end of the resort, there was a “Legends of Pop” gallery, featuring 8 artists. Shown here Lady Gaga, Elton John, Shakira and Prince. Lady Gaga doesn’t have a giant track record, and Shakira was chosen likely because of her massive influence on Latin America, but I’m okay with all four so far. But then, I turned and saw the other wall.
Okay, so Michael. Madonna. On the far right, there’s Mariah. But who’s that in between Mariah and Madonna. Is that? Wait. No. It can’t be. Is that TAYLOR SWIFT????!! Taylor Swift makes it on a wall with MJ, Madonna and Mariah Carey? That’s like having a cartoon all-stars featuring Snoopy, Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny and Snarf. Or a Mount Rushmore with Lincoln, Washington, Roosevelt and Millard Fillmore. Or a Best Cities to live in, and listing Austin, New York City, Atlanta and Fargo. I am lodging a formal complaint with Hard Rock Cafe. And the entire Seminole Tribe.
Throughout the resort, there were several quotes from famous rock songs. I’m not sure if the placement of an ATM under this quote from the Steve Miller Band was planned, but you don’t often see hotels encouraging you to commit grand theft, so that’s a first.
The Three Coolest Things I Saw
This giant painting was in the entrance of one of the guy’s bathrooms, which was initially confusing to me because an icon of maleness, Prince is not. I looked to the other entryway and saw Cheryl Crow, so I knew I was safe. But let’s be honest, Prince is a smidge androgynous. Regardless, how much would I pay for this to hang in my house? I love me some Prince.
And this mural rocked. I want it in my office. If it hadn’t have been 15 feet by 12 feet, I would have attempted to smuggle it out in my luggage. Also, the Hard Rock Cafe had a show featuring a Michael Jackson impersonator that was simply awesome. Check this guy out.
I Need Your Help
Finally, I come to you asking – no, begging – for help. I saw hundreds of pictures, paintings, instruments and other bits of rock history through this vast, 1,787 room giant resort. But this one atrium perplexed me for the ENTIRE TRIP. Let me show you. Side One:
Who Are These Guys??
And then, directly across from Axl, Bob and Guy Who Looks Like Lenny Kravitz, were these three paintings. I didn’t recognize any of them.
When I asked several Hard Rock Cafe employees who the man in this painting was, I received the following answers:
“I think it’s someone important” and
“That wasn’t in my training” and my personal favorite
“It’s a US President. The second Bush, I think.”
Really. The Hard Rock Cafe has a painting of George W. Bush?
If you can help me end the mystery, I sure would appreciate it.