Besides being the city’s most convenient hotel for any theme park—the two main Universal parks are both a 10-minute walk away—the Hard Rock has more perks for the money than most of the city’s similarly priced hotels. Rooms have genuinely funky furniture, tons of mirrors, two sinks (one in and one out of the bathroom), two big beds, and music systems. The ginormous pool, which imitates a beach gently descending to depth, has not only a substantial waterslide but also underwater speakers through which you can hear the party music. (They really bring out the finger cymbals in “Livin’ on a Prayer.”) Rock memorabilia (whoa! outfits worn by Lady Gaga and Elvis!) lines the hallways. The Hard Rock truly walks the rock walk: The last Thursday of the month, the rollicking Velvet Sessions ( concert series for classic acts, like Howard Jones, John Waite, and Survivor, takes over the lobby.