By Jeff & Stephanie Sylva
Immediately upon entering the spacious lobby of the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida, where a giant blue flip-flop and pop-top are prominently displayed, we were quickly taken with the “no worries” tropical vibe inspired by the lyrics of Jimmy Buffet. We knew that if the rest of the resort reflected the laid back, relaxing atmosphere found in the lobby, which sported many plush couches and swinging, hammock-styled lounges, we were in for a good time.
Parrotheads (aka devoted Jimmy Buffet fans) will revel in the numerous references, inspirations, and renditions of Buffet’s lyrics and music in the lobby and throughout the resort. A huge chandelier with hanging margarita glasses and private lobby cabanas titled with lyrics such as “Nibblin’ on Sponge Cake” set the tone for that “5 O’Clock Somewhere” attitude that pervades the resort.
The Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort is a $175 million centerpiece of a revitalization effort taking place in this classic beach community located between Fort Lauderdale and Miami that has often been described as quintessential Florida. Built on the site of the original Hollywood Beach Casino, the resort (the first Margaritaville Resort to achieve an AAA Four Diamond rating) is now a focal point of the famed Hollywood Boardwalk. In fact, the resort purchased the Hollywood Beach Bandshell and continued a commitment to bringing live entertainment to the public with a weekly schedule of free concerts.
With fabulous views of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other, the resort offers a wealth of activities. We took advantage of the complimentary bicycles to cruise the Boardwalk each day of our stay. Two beach chairs and an umbrella are included in the daily resort fee, so enjoying the expansive Hollywood Beach is easy.
Three pools provide plenty of swimming fun and relaxation. Two pools are located right at the Boardwalk and the third—the adults-only “License to Chill” pool—is located on the 11th floor and offers expansive views of the beach and the Atlantic Ocean. One attraction that gathers a crowd of spectators of both guests and locals walking the Boardwalk is the Beachfront FlowRider Double—a surf simulator that creates the “perfect” ocean wave.
FAMILY FUN IN THE SUN
The resort’s recreation staff is eager to engage kids and adults with a daily schedule of games and activities by the pool and on the beach. From family hula hoop and limbo contests to poolside bingo games and beach water balloon toss, the recreation staff looks to keep guests involved in all the fun. We challenged two of the staffers to a competitive corn hole (bean bag toss) game and ended up winning free margaritas. The Parakeets Kids Club gives parents a chance to enjoy some alone time, while the kids are entertained with a variety of games, arts and crafts, and other activities. (A fee is charged for the Kids Club.)
Accommodations at Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort are luxurious. With colors of the sea, sand, and sky creating a relaxing setting, rooms and suites reflect the tropical, maritime influence associated with Jimmy Buffet. All suites and rooms offer a balcony overlooking the Atlantic Ocean or the Intracoastal Waterway.
DINING & LIBATIONS
The resort boasts eight various bars and restaurants, many offering live entertainment. The Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Restaurant, overlooking the pool and beachscape, is a lively, fun spot for food and drink. Live entertainment nightly is an essential ingredient to this tropically-inspired venue. The Landshark Bar & Grill, which overlooks the boardwalk and beach, offers great people-watching opportunities including front row views of the FlowRider. We loved the 5 O’clock Somewhere Bar & Grill for happy hour. Relaxing in the Adirondack chairs set out in the sand, we sipped our margaritas by the fire pit and took in a glorious sunset over the Intracoastal.
A key ingredient to the resort’s Four Diamond rating is its upscale dining venue—JWB Prime Steak and Seafood. JWB (the singer’s initials) is the first of the brand’s new upscale restaurant concept. What we liked about this place was its high-quality cuisine and attentive service, coupled with the relaxed, laid-back attitude that is the hallmark of the Jimmy Buffet brand. No pretentiousness here—diners in shorts and flip-flops are more than welcome.
LOTS TO DO
Area attractions include the shopping and dining area of Downtown Hollywood, which is easy to get to on the community’s Old-Fashioned Trolley for just a dollar. Adults looking for some action can visit Gulfstream Park for its horse racing and casino. Serious shoppers will love world-famous Las Olas Boulevard in nearby Fort Lauderdale. Getting there can be fun if you take the Water Taxi which you can conveniently board at the 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar & Grill’s dock. It’s a great opportunity to take in some great sights during the ride up the Intracoastal to Fort Lauderdale.
Jimmy Buffet’s music has been varyingly described as “shrimp boat rock,” “calypso country,” and “gulf and western.” His music can be heard throughout the resort. We don’t claim to be parrotheads (although Stephanie does have her car’s XM Radio glued to the Margaritaville station), yet we marvel at the incredible marketing empire created by Jimmy Buffet. In addition to the Hollywood Beach Resort, there are five other Margaritaville Resorts with a seventh to open soon in Grand Cayman. The Margaritaville brand also operates three casinos and numerous restaurants including Landmark Bar & Grill, 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar, and Cheeseburger in Paradise in addition to Margaritaville Restaurants throughout the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and on some Norwegian Cruise Line ships. The brand also markets a wide assortment of apparel (flip-flops being a favorite item), food, drink ingredients, home goods, bicycles, furniture, and much more.
For more information on Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort, visit margaritavillehollywoodbeachresort.com.