For Beatles or John Lennon fans, the Orlando Hard Rock Hotel is like no other.
When our waiter overheard us talking about The Dakota and John Lennon, he casually asked if we were fans. Apparently our over-enthusiastic response must have impressed him. He mentioned there was a Lennon room in the restaurant but only devoted fans were granted access.
After dinner, Martin introduced himself as the person who’d be giving us the tour of the Lennon room. Seeing his black nail polish, dark black eyeliner, and wall of long black hair, I spuriously and erroneously assumed he’d be more excited to point out the goggles and outfit worn by Sex Pistols members or maybe even something from his generation’s equivalent of Metallica. Butdespite being the lead singer of a rock/punk band, he was a huge Beatles and Lennon fan.
After navigating the obstacle course of tables, going down some steps, through a locked door and down a hallway, we arrived at what I like to think of as The Inner Sanctum. Designed to replicate Lennon and Ono’s apartment in the Dakota, its a predominantly white room punctuated by poignant memorabilia. Here’s a little teaser of the items, for the rest you’ll have to go for yourself!
- The white suit he wore on the cover of Abbey Road
- The couch he used to compose songs — it was charming to see the wicker broken in places his elbows must have worn through while writing
- A drawing of the family by John
- One of the famous naked full frontal photos of John and Yoko
- And my favorite piece — a menu from a now-defunct airline signed by all four Beatles. Apparently, the man sitting next to them, far before they were famous, got to chatting. When they told him they were in a band he casually said something like "Hey! Sign my menu in case you get famous one day." So many days passed before they became famous, he completely forgot he even had the menu. He stumbled upon it recently and it now resides in this room.
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Samantha Chapnick is a New York writer who scours international destinations looking for what hasn’t been found.