Music and travel go together like Hall and Oates, Sonny and Cher, or Simon and Garfunkel. When it comes to music and travel there is a real power that helps people to escape to a new destination mentally, emotionally, or physically. In fact, according to Expedia customer research conducted in 2021, 62% of people who book travel online list “music” and especially “festivals” as a major passion point. This musical connection could grow even stronger as travelers begin to seek transformative, meaningful experiences from their post-pandemic travels. New York City Hotels With a Musical Past.
When we think of music venues, New York City comes up at the top. Here are five hotels for anyone wanting to stay in and explore the musical past of this magical city.
5 New York City Hotels With a Musical Past
When it comes to music history, the New York Hilton Midtown has a slight advantage over home-area due to its location just two blocks away from Radio City Music Hall. However, the hotel itself also has notable musical moments. Elvis Presley was a favorite longtime guest of the hotel and often held press conferences from the lobby. The Beatles even booked a few rooms at the hotel when they made their famous appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. In later years, John Lennon returned to the hotel and wrote “Imagine” on Hilton’s stationery.
From the day the Gramercy Park Hotel opened its doors in 1925, it has been considered the rich, famous, and musically gifted. The Rolling Stones stayed at the hotel after their first US tour, and according to the hotel, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Clash and Bob Marley were all frequent guests throughout the ’60s. The next few decades would be no different with Debbie residing in Harry and Christ Stein’s Room 501, followed by U2, who became long-term guests in the ’80s.
If the Waldorf Astoria is good enough for Frank Sinatra, it’s good enough for you. Old Blue Eyes called the hotel home from 1979 to 1988. But, he is far from the only singer to show a little love for luxury hotels. Rick Ross and T.I. Show me a little love on “Maybach Music III,” rendition for the hotel, “Fly to NY, meet me at the Waldorf Astoria/Architecture Victorian/Ridein’ Like You’re Driving a DeLorean.” According to the hotel, Tina Turner, Mick Jagger and Ella Fitzgerald were all regulars to sing at the Starlight Roof Ballroom as well.
As far as favorite hip-hop hotels go, it doesn’t get much bigger than The Mercer. In the early 2000s, Jay-Z and Kanye West rented out an entire hotel floor to record their album, “Watch the Throne.” The hotel received a special shoutout by two rap legends over the song “Otis” when Jay-Z rapped, “I’m gonna call the paparazzi on myself / Uh, live from The Mercer.” After the album’s release, Double returned to New York and gave tickets to the entire Mercer staff for their show at Madison Square Garden.
The Plaza Hotel is steeped in entertainment history due to its many pop culture performances. The elegant hotel has everything from “The Great Gatsby” to books like “Eloise” and movies like “The Way We Were” to “Home Alone 2.” Beyond writers and movie stars, this too has long been a hotel beloved by music aspirants. As the hotel notes, in 2015, Saturday Night Live celebrated its 40th anniversary at the Grand Ballroom. Sensing the joy of the night, Prince took to the stage for an unplanned one-song performance. It would be one of his last performances before his death in 2016.