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Jimi Hendrix's Favourite Hotel to Become Hard Rock Hotel London

One of the bars in Hard Rock Hotel London. Image: Hard Rock Hotels / Scott Brownrigg

The Cumberland Hotel at Marble Arch has some prestige when it comes to rock and roll. And now it’s going to become the UK’s first Hard Rock Hotel. The re-branded Hard Rock Hotel London will open in spring 2019 after refurbishment.

The hotel has 900 rooms and was a place frequented by a who’s who of rock icons. Not least Jimi Hendrix, who stayed there numerous times and gave his last ever interview there, to Keith Altham for the NME on 11 September 1970. A few weeks earlier he played his last ever gig at the Isle of Wight festival. Seven days after that interview he was dead. The hotel is even on his death certificate as his last address.

Jimi Hendrix on stage at the Isle of Wight festival, August 1970. © Stefan Wallgren

Altham has said of Hendrix’s use of the hotel included both respite from the rigours of the rock and roll life, along with “the purpose of meeting various young ladies when he wanted to keep away from the various other young ladies that he was seeing.”

When at the hotel Hendrix liked to stay on the fifth floor. And it was on this floor of the Cumberland Hotel that on 11 November 1957 Shirley Bassey was held prisoner in a barricaded room by a crazed fan who had a revolver. Armed police were called and after a four-hour siege managed to overpower the guy and grab his revolver.

Madonna on stage at Wembley Stadium, London in July 1990 on the first night of the Blonde Ambition Tour. © George Jaworskyj

Other rock stars who have stayed there include Stevie Wonder, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Diana Ross, Madonna and Bob Dylan. In the 1960s Dylan found the place more tolerant of his guitar playing and weed smoking. The singer-songwriter got kicked out of the Mayfair hotel because of just those things, and ended up at The Cumberland.

But the place has changed from those days and is became a four star luxury hotel, but you can see why it’s a fitting choice for Britain’s first Hard Rock Hotel. 

"From our foundation in 1971 with the opening of the first Hard Rock Cafe in London to the many days and nights spent at the legendary Hard Rock Calling festival in Hyde Park, London has always been a special city as the birthplace of our brand," says Hamish Dodds, chief executive officer at Hard Rock International. "We look forward to completing the circle and establishing the Hard Rock Hotel in London, a legendary musical city that brought the greatest styles of rock to the world stage."

Bob Dylan performing in London in 1965. © Barrie Wentzell

The hotel will display some of the company’s curated memorabilia, becoming home to some of their 80,000 historical music pieces. The hotel’s interiors are designed by architect studio Scott Brownrigg, who did the Sky Garden at the top of London’s Walkie Talkie building. Along with 995 rooms the hotel will also have two bars and a 370-seat Hard Rock Cafe. It will also host musical performances throughout the year.

The hotel’s general manager Oliver Kahf said,  “[The Cumberland Hotel] has stood at the intersection of British music and fashion since the 1930s and when we open in spring 2019, it’s sure to become a go-to London hotspot once again. We’re very excited about the opportunity to have a Hard Rock Hotel in the cradle of music. There is nowhere more relevant to us than London.”

You can listen to Jimi Hendrix’s last interview, given at The Cumberland Hotel, below.

Rockarchive is delighted to be able to offer these iconic images of Jimi Hendrix, Madonna and Bob Dylan to buy along with many more as limited edition photographic prints.

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