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First look: Inside Dublin's Hard Rock Hotel, from a Rock Star Suite to Kurt Cobain's sweater

Dublin's €52m Hard Rock Hotel is the brand's first to open in Ireland. Just don't confuse it with the cafés...

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A Silver Suite at the Hard Rock Hotel Dublin

A Silver Suite at the Hard Rock Hotel Dublin

David Bowie's boiler suit, Janis Joplin's autoharp case, and a guitar signed by The Cranberries at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

David Bowie's boiler suit, Janis Joplin's autoharp case, and a guitar signed by The Cranberries at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

Prints featuring U2's The Edge and Phil Lynott at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

Prints featuring U2's The Edge and Phil Lynott at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

Inside the bar and restaurant at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

Inside the bar and restaurant at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

A sweater from Kurt Cobain's 'personal wardrobe' at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

A sweater from Kurt Cobain's 'personal wardrobe' at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

A Fender Stratocaster and amp delivered in-room at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

A Fender Stratocaster and amp delivered in-room at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

The Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

The Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

A touring guitar case that once belonged to U2, at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

A touring guitar case that once belonged to U2, at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

A bathroom at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

A bathroom at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

Charlie Watts' cymbals, from the Rolling Stones, at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

Charlie Watts' cymbals, from the Rolling Stones, at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

A bed cushion by Irish artist, Duda, at Dublin's €52m Hard Rock Hotel

A bed cushion by Irish artist, Duda, at Dublin's €52m Hard Rock Hotel

A Crosley vinyl player in Hard Rock Hotel

A Crosley vinyl player in Hard Rock Hotel

A list of guitars you can order to your room...

A list of guitars you can order to your room...

A bedroom corridor in the hotel

A bedroom corridor in the hotel

Inside the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

Inside the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

Bob Geldof also features among the hotel's memorabilia...

Bob Geldof also features among the hotel's memorabilia...

Inside the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

Inside the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

A standard room at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

A standard room at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

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A Silver Suite at the Hard Rock Hotel Dublin

Fancy a Fender Stratocaster delivered to your room?

How about a stack of vinyl curated by an in-house 'Vibe Manager'? Or a sneaky selfie taken beside one of Kurt Cobain's sweaters?

Ireland’s first ever Hard Rock Hotel opens in Dublin today, and guests checking in can expect all of the above... and a lot more besides.

The €52m development is a reimagining of two heritage buildings, with 120 rooms spread across the old Exchange Buildings on Lord Edward St. and, linked by glass walkway, Temple Bar's former Fashion House.

Stepping inside, the first tingle of A-list memorabilia strikes.

By reception, you'll find that Cobain sweater. In a triptych of cases across the lobby, there's David Bowie's boiler suit from Jazzin' For Blue Jean (1984), Janis Joplin's autoharp case and an electric guitar signed by The Cranberries.

Irish notes are struck throughout, from Phil Lynott's leather jacket to Bono's handwritten lyrics for 'Please' (from 1997's 'Pop') carefully framed in the Rock Star Suite.

As its name suggests, that fifth-floor penthouse is a headline act - boasting a four-poster bed, a handwritten letter by Van Morrison to guitarist Mick Cox and a private, rooftop terrace where you can barbecue for up to 40 buddies.

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Inside the bar and restaurant at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

Inside the bar and restaurant at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

Inside the bar and restaurant at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

But first things first. Those expecting epic burger menus and milkshakes with their memorabilia need to manage their expectations. Hard Rock Hotels are a very different brand experience to the group's mass-market cafes.

"There's going to be a serious education piece there," agrees Stephanie Hayes, Director of Sales & Marketing with the Dublin hotel, which is being operated in collaboration with Irish company, Tifco Ltd.

"Ask anybody in Ireland about the Hard Rock, and they immediately refer to the cafes," as she puts it.

The hotels are a different breed (30 worldwide include editions in Tenerife, London and Budapest), which she describes as "four-star or more", and "upscale" luxury operating "at a whole different level" to the cafés.

On a walkthrough, I sense similar notes to Press Up Group projects like The Mayson and The Devlin, particularly in its use of Irish art and the compact, high-end and urbane layouts of its restaurant and bar spaces, though the hotel has also benchmarked itself against five-stars like The Fitzwilliam and The Marker.

There is no Hard Rock Café on site and, despite their close proximity in the city centre, no links between the two Temple bar businesses.

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A sweater from Kurt Cobain's 'personal wardrobe' at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

A sweater from Kurt Cobain's 'personal wardrobe' at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

A sweater from Kurt Cobain's 'personal wardrobe' at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

And the price?

Standard rooms lead in from €199; Silver Suites with super corner views of City Hall start from €549 per night; and the Rock Star Suite is currently available from €650 per night (expect that to head north fairly soon).

Style-wise, the hotel retains the red brick façades of its original buildings, but completely re-imagines the interiors, with other displays from Hard Rock International's legendary Florida 'Vault' including cymbals that once belonged to The Rolling Stone's Charlie Watts, and Hozier's first ever electric guitar.

"They're always on the lookout for artists who have a bit of a history, as opposed to the flash-in-the-pans whose value isn't really increasing," Hayes says of the brand's approach to its now 83,000-strong collection.

Though there's a heavy reliance on stalwarts like U2 and Phil Lynott in its Dublin collectibles, a more contemporary approach can be seen in the hotel's art, which features prints and other pieces by the likes of David Uda (Duda), Leah Hewson, Laura Buchanan and Helen O'Higgins.

Tempted to try a few tunes of your own? A 'Sound of Your Stay' music programme allows guests to order up complimentary guitars, amps and Crosley vinyl turntables to their rooms.

"You want to see the collection," says Vibe Manager Joe Ballance, showing me a menu that includes Fender Strats, Telecasters and Jaguars. "We've got six of these babies here, and they're all mint."

What exactly does a 'Vibe Manager' do?

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A Crosley vinyl player in Hard Rock Hotel

A Crosley vinyl player in Hard Rock Hotel

A touring guitar case that once belonged to U2, at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

A touring guitar case that once belonged to U2, at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

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A Crosley vinyl player in Hard Rock Hotel

"Basically, take care of all the fun things," he laughs. "It's kind of like a fancy concierge," with responsibilities like curating vinyl and tuning guitars, booking bands and generally "getting to know" the guests, Ballance says.

If you prefer to tune out, 'Rock Om' is an in-room wellness experience that fuses "the ancient serenity of yoga with musical beats".

The hotel expects to draw guests mainly in their mid-30s to late 50s, people "who want to be at the heart of the action" as Hayes puts it, but with pillow-topped mattresses, botanical wallpapers, bespoke Ulster carpets and other luxe touches to return to during a Dublin layover.

Rooms have been heavily soundproofed, she says (to block out traffic and Temple bar buzz, as well as any dodgy guitar playing).

Communal areas mix booth seating, bare brick walls and a slick, NYC loft-style cocktail bar, with an intimate corner stage set for live music.

Zampas Restaurant & Bar is the on-street food and drink offering, where walk-in guests can join residents in tucking into South American-inspired dishes with Irish ingredients - John Stone steaks from Longford included.

And of course, you can exit through a gift shop.

As well as its hotels, cafes and casinos, Hard Rock is known for its 'Rock Shops', selling everything from branded hoodies to shot glasses. Hanging behind the Dublin till is a guitar signed by members of The Script.

And the future? You may confuse hotel and café today, Hayes says, but the team are confident that won't be the case for long.

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A bathroom at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

A bathroom at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

A bathroom at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

"They want to be the No.1 lifestyle brand in the next five or six years."

Online Editors