Whether you self identify as a Parrothead or not, it’s hard to deny that Jimmy Buffett has the right idea when it comes to chilling out and having a good time. His beachy-boozy platitudes in hit songs like “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “5 O’Clock Somewhere” and “Margaritaville”—the last for which he’s created a hospitality empire—paint a picture of the good life according to Jimmy, which, to quote his songs, involves: “wasting away again” on a tropical island, going “out on the sea for adventure” and, of course, “booze in the blender.”
It’s a fantasy lifestyle that few can live for an extended period of time, but guests at Hollywood Beach’s brand new Margaritaville Beach Resort (1111 N. Ocean Dr., Hollywood; 954-874-4444; nightly rates from $242) can step into an all-encompassing world inspired by the singer-songwriter’s life and lyrics, if only for a week or long weekend. And they’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out it’s a stylish, beautifully executed resort recently awarded the AAA Four Diamond distinction. At 17 stories high with 349 rooms, the $175 million resort was built from the ground up in the heart of the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk and opened in late 2015.
Upon entering the resort, the first signal that it’s time to unwind comes with a larger-than-life sculpture in blue lacquer of the flip-flop that Buffett famously “blew out” in the hit song that shares its name with the resort. For fans, it will elicit an immediate jolt of delight. For everyone else, it simply means vacation has begun.
The lobby, itself, is massive and inviting with a plush green and blue rug (an abstraction of a palm frond against blue sky and sea) anchoring the space where gliders hang from the ceiling. Cabana-style seating lines the area with rattan furniture and parrot paintings on the wall. Overhead, a massive chandelier composed of sparkling margarita glasses hanging upside down adds a subtle touch of Buffett whimsy. If you don’t look twice, you’ll miss the detail.
With song lyrics scrawled on the walls of the elevator banks (“It’s a fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning”), appropriated for the door’s privacy sign (“License to Chill”) and finally emblazoned on a burlap throw pillow on your plush king-sized bed where the white duvet has a subtle, texturized pattern of tiny parrots (“Changes in latitude/Changes in attitude”), you’ll fully succumb to Buffett’s world and shuffle about the resort humming his songs until the moment you leave.
The rooms are an absolute dream. With balconies overlooking either the Atlantic or the Intracoastal, they’re awash in white and natural wood with aqua accent walls and pops of coral. They feel more like chic Tommy Bahama beach cottages than standard hotel rooms. Bathrooms are roomy with turquoise subway tiles, a glass-enclosed rainfall shower and a porcelain sink with chrome whale tail faucet handles.
But let’s get to the diversions. Margaritaville is a playground for all ages. Underneath oceanfront thatch palapas, belly up to Landshark Bar & Grill or Lone Palm Beach Bar. The License to Chill Bar occupies the 11th floor adults only pool. Across the street, 5 O’Clock Somwhere Bar & Grill is a classic, ramshackle, South Florida tiki-style bar overlooking the Intracoastal with Adirondack chairs and fire pits. It’s also located right on a water taxi stop for a convenient sightseeing departure.
With two lagoon-style swimming pools, there’s an activity hut to rent paddleboards and kayaks, as well as a Flowrider Double surf simulator for both boogie boarding and surfing. The resort has taken over the longstanding Hollywood Beach Band Shell just outside for free nightly music, with the Atlantic as the backdrop, open to both resort guests and the public. That’s also where you’ll find the vintage airstream Floridays, fashioned as a fancy hotdog stand. For those who want to truly unwind, the 11,000-square-foot St. Somewhere Spa boasts 11 treatment rooms.
While the classic and casual Margaritaville restaurant is onsite with a stage for live music and an outdoor deck fashioned after a wooden schooner named Euphoria (yes—another Buffett song reference), the brand is also testing out their first fine dining concept with JWB Prime Steak & Seafood. Designed with moody lighting, exposed brick walls, luxurious deep blue drapes and large black and white photographs, the setting is decidedly sophisticated and grown up.
Flaunting fish packed on ice near the entrance, one of their specialties is a fresh catch by local spearfisherman—a method familiar to South Floridians that will no doubt sound exotic to out-of-towners. Still, the menu faithfully specifies the type of fish, where it was caught and the diver’s name on the menu daily. You’ll also find prime cuts of meat alongside all the classic steakhouse selections.
While Buffett contends Margaritaville is a state of mind, its new address in Hollywood Beach squarely positions you there on a geographic latitude. It’s a resort that will delight both devoted Parrotheads and anyone looking for a laidback, yet luxurious beach vacation with plenty of activities for families of all ages.
Shayne Benowitz is Miami.com’s Travel Editor. Follow along @ShayneBenowitz.