Joe Ballance: Vibe Manager at The Hard Rock Hotel

Posted November 6, 2020 in More

Joe Ballance is the Vibe Manager at The Hard Rock Hotel. He talks to us about music, making guests feel like rock stars and the autumn specials currently on offer.


Hey Joe! So you’re the Vibe Manager at The Hard Rock Hotel. Can you tell us what exactly that involves and the sort of things you get up to on a day to day basis?

It’s my job to make our guests feel like rock stars from the minute they walk in until the moment they leave. You have to be a people person and a kind of ‘jack of all trades’ in this game.

Each day starts with a coffee and a daily sound check with Stephanie, the hotel’s Director of Sales & Marketing, where we catch up on what’s happening this week and any upcoming projects. Once that’s done, I clean the guitars and record players, making sure they’re properly sanitised and ready for the next guest. Then I’ll work on the weekly entertainment schedule, do some social media updates, create video playlists for the lobby’s giant LED screen and loads of other fun tasks. At the end of all that, I’ll jump on the decks and DJ for a few hours.


What sort of vibe can be experienced by guests who opt to stay and dine? What’s on the soundtrack there at the moment? Do you have any particular favourites?

Over the course of each day, guests are guaranteed to experience so many types of music all over the hotel.

Breakfast is high tempo, I like to play Indie rock and pop to get the day started, whereas our lunch soundtrack is more of a chilled affair. Dinner is uplifting and upbeat, and late at night is when the party starts! We even have a separate vibe for the lobby and elevators, meaning you can expect to hear anything from alternative, electronic, house, tech, synthwave and of course classic rock.

At the moment I’m loving synthwave – it’s super chilled and uplifting.


What sonic treats can guests enjoy via the Sound of Your Stay programme? 

The Sound of Your Stay programme is one of my favourite elements of the hotel, allowing guests to rock out on one of our classic Fender guitars which comes with an amp and headphones.

If you’re old school at heart, with wax® guests can spin some vinyl on a Crosley record player with a case of hand crafted vinyl delivered to their room – all they have to do is contact the hotel in advance and give us their music taste and we’ll have a specially curated selection waiting for them.


You’ve a very special option for guitar heroes of all persuasions. Tell us about it.

We offer a slick menu of eight guitars to any guests staying with us. That includes a Fender Strat, Tele, Sonic, Jaguar, Jazzmaster and a Malibu acoustic. Each axe comes with an amp, headphones and cable so you can create a pop-up studio in your own room. Novice players can even follow a special tutorial on their in-room entertainment system and as our rooms were designed with the very best sound-proofing technology, they won’t have to worry about disturbing the neighbours while they play.


In addition to the music, rock memorabilia is another important aspect of the Hard Rock Hotel experience. How is this reflected in the design of the hotel and its rooms and suites?

Music memorabilia is the beating heart of the Hard Rock brand and while staying or dining with us, guests can do a self-guided memorabilia tour around every priceless piece on show.  We have some amazing pieces at Hard Rock Hotel Dublin, from Phil Lynott’s signature black jacket, the guitar that Hozier honed his skills on, to the iconic orange boiler suit that David Bowie wore in the music video for Blue Jean.

The art in our rooms and suites is all bespoke to the hotel too and we’ve got some amazing music inspired pieces from Irish artists. In the Rock Star Suite you’ll find a piece by Jim Fitzpatrick and Duda’s prints of Phil Lynott and The Edge are featured around the hotel, as well as some pieces by Helen O’Higgins. They make me smile every time I see them!

It doesn’t stop there though, even the carpets have sound waves running through them.


Any Autumn specials we should be rocking up to?

At the moment we’ve got our Dublin for Dubliner’s offer running where if you book to stay with us, you’ll get a second room free for your friends. It’s going down really well!

At the bar, ‘startender’ Michelle is adding a new selection of seasonal cocktails including the Jimi Hendrix which is ridiculously tasty. For entertainment we’re streaming DJ’s and bands from their safe zone to the hotel’s entire A/V System which you can watch from your room or anywhere in the world from our YouTube page, @ZampasAtTheHardRock.


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