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Rock and Roll Hotel Bucket List: Where to Stay to Live Out Your Rock Star Dreams

Hotels with pools and breakfast buffets are all well and good, but at these hotels, you can live and breathe rock and roll history.

“One day you’ll be cool.” — Almost Famous

Say, “Fare thee well,” to the days of using your hairbrush as a mic while staring at your reflection, practicing your best Freddie Mercury moves in your bedroom mirror. I mean, why would one pretend to play air guitar like “Keef” and “Ron” when you can actually embrace your inner rock star and travel the world like them? Yes, that’s right, stow your belongings, grab your road crew, and lock your trays in the upright position, because we are about to embark on a rock and roll odyssey.

Sadly, many of rock and roll’s most iconic dwellings are now just mere ghosts of hotels past. However, the legends of landmarks like The Continental Hyatt (a.k.a. The Riot House,) and Swingos in downtown Cleveland, are kept alive thanks to movies such as Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, and the Sodom and Gomorrah-type memories of music reporters and resident “band-aids.” But, despite what the critics may say, rock and roll is far from dead. In fact, the properties we are about to explore celebrate music history going beyond subtle amenities like Ross Halfin photos decorating the hallways, and Stratocasters in the boudoir. While quite luxurious, these hotels could very well be considered underground societies keeping the country’s Sonic Highways connected.

Tonight, you are on the show’s guest list, so grab your backstage laminates as we share with our fans the best hotels to rest your pretty little rock and royalty head.

Sunset Marquis: More tattoos per guest than any other leading hotel

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Welcome to the Sunset Marquis, otherwise known as West Hollywood’s best-kept secret when it comes to spotting high-profile celebrities in the wild. Don’t just take my word for it, there’s a reason the Sunset Marquis has a memoir called, If These Walls Could Rock.

This lush sanctuary is where award-winning celebs seek solace and refuge, nestled between L.A.’s legendary Sunset Strip and Santa Monica Boulevard, catering to even the most discerning rock stars, and their high-maintenance egos. From restringing guitars at 2:00 a.m. to romantic dinners at Cavatina in the garden, once you check into your villa, you’ll forget what “IRL” stands for. Real life at Sunset Marquis is Peter Pan’s rock and roll Neverland. Watching Keith Richards enjoy breakfast shirtless from his window each morning at 8:00 am, becoming “villa neighbors” with Ozzy, Sharon and the kids while they are living in between homes, and, impromptu birthday parties in the tiny hotel lobby where you need to excuse yourself to pass by the likes of Leonardo Di Caprio, Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, Victoria Secret models, and Rihanna in order to get to your room.

One thing is for sure, complete with its very own state-of-the-art Nightbird Studio, Sunset Marquis is more than just a retreat for the rock and roll legends, it’s home. Understated, yet luxurious, Sunset Marquis continues to raise the bar and live up to their “What happened at Sunset Marquis, never happened…” reputation. This is exactly why it remains the preferred dwelling for the biggest names in rock and roll not looking to end up on TMZ or the cover of US Weekly. How it remains so popular, yet completely under-the-radar, makes this our top-pick for the list.

Hotel Sunset Marquis

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (846 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.2 / 10
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"Bring me some healing Saint Cecilia, carry me home to your house of broken bones." -- Foo Fighters

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Austin’s most coveted reservation is scoring one of five suites, six poolside bungalows, and three studio flats at rockstar haven, Saint Cecilia. Named in honor of the patron saint of music and poetry, the connection is clear the moment you step inside. With subtle touches like original prints from the Morrison Hotel Gallery, Liz Lambert sought out to design Hotel Saint Cecilia as a secluded refuge where you can imagine beatnik writers like Jack Kerouac or Kurt Vonnegut visiting for inspiration to write On the Road, or Welcome to the Monkey House.

Each room comes complete with a turntable, and the property boasts an extensive vinyl library filled with vintage LPs. Should you feel the desire to strum along, be sure to take advantage of Saint Cecilia’s Gibson guitar loaner program. Whether you’re rolling in your amps, looking to unplug, or soul searching for inspiration to write and record your next album, do as the Foo Fighters did in 2015, and look no further than Hotel Saint Cecilia. In a handwritten letter to the fans, Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters/Nirvana) famously said, “I honestly feel like we left a piece of our band there as we were being torn away from it,” after recording their secret St. Cecilia EP which many agree is their best album in decades.

Hotel Saint Cecilia

Top rated
Austin, 2.1 miles to Downtown Austin
8.9 Excellent (24 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.1 / 10
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Thompson Nashville: "This may well be the capital of rock and roll in the United States of America." -- Paul Stanley, KISS

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The Music City, once known for its well-frequented honky tonks, Grand Ole Opry, and Ryman Auditorium, is now at a pivotal crossroads. Thanks to artists like Jack White who set up shop with Third Man Records (a must-visit for vinyl collectors,) and Nashville natives, Kings of Leon who reign from Tennessee’s music hub, the city seems to be retiring their cowboy hats for biker boots and tattered tour tees.

With its modern panache and swanky decor, the Thompson Nashville is more Steve McQueen meets Johnny Cash cool than it is John Wayne and Dolly Parton. Be sure to grab their signature cocktail, the “Don Draper Diet,” and head straight to John Besh’s rooftop bar where L.A. Jackson serves up the best Kettle Corn imaginable. The secret ingredient? Chunked cubes of bacon, complete with panoramic views overlooking downtown Nashville’s skyline, and on a clear day, all the way to Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge.

But the special touches don’t stop there. The rooms are fitted with Sferra linens, Marshall Bluetooth speakers shaped like tiny amps, toiletries by D.S. & Durga, The White Stripes on vinyl, and there’s even a denim service. Yes, you read that correctly, a denim service courtesy of Imogene and Willie who will come directly to your hotel room, or you can go to their headquarters, and they will outfit you in custom made-to-measure blue jeans. Or with the help of your concierge, you can tap into your inner rock star and arrange a special one-hour lesson with IBMA Guitarist of the Year, Molly Tuttle.

Thompson Nashville

Nashville, 0.8 miles to Amerigo
9.2 Excellent (695 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
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Edgewater Hotel: What Rock and Roll Should Be

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Coming in hot with everything the history of rock and roll should be is the Pacific Northwest’s very own, Edgewater Hotel, in downtown Seattle. Not only does it offer a Pearl Jam suite with Mother Love Bone street art, but it’s come a long way since being built for the 1962 World’s Fair. The infamous waterfront hotel rests on Pier 67, and was the only hotel in Seattle that would take a chance and welcome The Beatles as guests during their first world tour. Managers at other hotels were concerned with all the rock and roll rubbish that surrounded Beatlemania. To be fair, they had a reason to worry. Once the Fab Four checked in, the hotel had to erect cyclone fencing around the property to prevent diehard Beatle fans from swimming across Elliot Bay.

That stay sealed the Edgewater’s musical fate. Since then, they’ve hosted the biggest names in rock, including Led Zeppelin (and the legendary “mud shark incident,) The Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam, KISS, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Ozzy Osbourne, and the beat goes on. A fan of the hotel, even Anthony Bourdain stayed in Room 342, the same room as The Beatles did while filming The Layover for The Travel Channel.

Hotel The Edgewater

Seattle, 3.9 miles to Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture
8.3 Very good (9295 reviews)
Excellent Location 9 / 10
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Gramercy Park Hotel: Catering to the Most Distinguished Musicians

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Nicknamed the East Side’s “the Glamercy,” Gramercy Park Hotel has always catered to the most distinguished musicians thanks to its strict privacy policy. GPH was the swanky stomping ground where rock stars were starstruck for once. Just ask Bono, who still cringes a bit thinking about meeting Joe Strummer of The Clash in the lobby while the U2 frontman was wearing a fur coat.

The immediate mood upon arrival is seductive with works of art by Warhol, Basquiat, Haring, and Picasso looming alongside Louis XV chairs, and 20-foot ceilings. Highly credible sources have everyone from David Bowie and Bob Marley, to Bob Dylan, Sting, and Janet Jackson spending time at the place Humphrey Bogart once married.

Studio 54’s Ian Schrager and Julian Schnabel rebuilt and redesigned the hotel in 2006 with a very specific vision in mind. The 185 guest rooms each come with their own jewel-tone palette, 400-thread count linens, velvet headboards, and checkerboard tiles. These touches were chosen to highlight the original 1925 glam, but with a modern boho-chic makeover.

New York City is the epitome of a concrete jungle. Skyscrapers and subways. Taxis, and people everywhere. This is where Gramercy Park Hotel holds the key to a magic world that no other concierge in Manhattan has access. Upon check-in, you are handed the key to one of the last private parks in all of New York City.

At Gramercy Park, guests are granted access to this private tree-lined enclave who are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of New York City for a moment in time as a neo-Gothic gargoyle stands guard high over the greenery. You can get lost, alone, with your thoughts, perhaps a book, with all of the parks nooks, crannies, and walkways. One thing is for sure, it’s a nice place to “see” but not be noticed.

In a place where celebrity “hot spots” come and go quicker than ink dries, the staying power of The Gramercy Park Hotel is impressive. It doesn’t hurt that guests receive priority access to the uber-exclusive Rose Bar where David LaChapelle’s photographs of pop culture icons dress the walls.

Gramercy Park Hotel

Top rated
New York, 2.3 miles to 911 Memorial
8.5 Excellent (1829 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.1 / 10
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The Verb Hotel: Home to Rock and Roll Heavyweights

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Just a line drive away from the Green Monster, Boston’s The Verb Hotel pays homage to Beantown’s rock and roll roots and the high-holy Church of Boston: Fenway Park. The retro-vibed hotel complete with its very own tour bus was once the Fenway Motor Inn, then later a Howards Johnson’s.

In 2014, Verb owner, Steve Samuels, collaborated with David Bieber to redevelop the property, keeping it kitsch but updated enough to please the Instagrammer crowd. Bieber (David, not Justin,) can be likened to a walking rock ‘n’ roll encyclopedia and is an expert on the Boston music scene between the ‘60s and ‘90s. Bieber’s collection of music and touring memorabilia is massive and kept inside a 10,000 square foot storage facility. All of his swag from backstage passes to a signed Beatles guitar makes The Verb Hotel a music museum unlike any other on the eastern seaboard.

Crooner, Tony Bennett, and punk’s royal family, The Ramone’s are both rumored to have stayed on premise. We do however know that rock and roll heavyweight, The Edge from U2, has been spotted at The Verb Hotel.

The Verb Hotel

Top rated
Boston, 0.9 miles to Back Bay
8.7 Excellent (4336 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.3 / 10
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“If you must get in trouble, do it at the Chàteau Marmont." -- Harry Cohen

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Probably the country’s most notorious, rock and roll dwelling, Chàteau Marmont is still the place to see and be seen in Los Angeles . For decades, Chàteau was mysterious, filled with stories rock and roll decadence and mayhem. But now, even despite Chàteau Marmont’s strict no photo policy, it’s the spot where celebs looking to get caught by paparazzi book a suite or bungalow.

Chàteau is no stranger to the rock and roll world, and some would even say Led Zeppelin was the band to christen this hotel. It’s no secret that Led Zeppelin was notorious for trashing hotel rooms while on tour. It became so common that the record label had hired accountants to travel with the band from city-to-city just to reconcile the exorbitant bills. Let’s just say this especially came in handy when drummer John “Bonzo” Bonham celebrated his 25th birthday by taking his brand new Harley Davidson for a joy ride through the lobby of Chàteau Marmont.

The Chàteau bungalows, cottages, and penthouses are all built on stories that should have been handled discreetly, but still made headlines. Jim Morrison of The Doors believed he used “eight of my nine lives,” jumping off the terrace or falling from a drain pipe he’d swing from.

Chàteau Marmont will always be most famous for the night of March 5, 1982. The night John Belushi died in Bungalow 3 of a drug overdose. But what many don’t know, is that same night, “White Wedding” rocker, Billy Idol was celebrating the success of his album by trashing his room, and stripping down to his birthday suit on the balcony of his room while police handled the Belushi incident.

Things have calmed down for the most part at Chàteau Marmont, but as they say, “It’s always the calmest before the storm.”

Chateau Marmont

8.4 Very good (211 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.1 / 10
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