JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Parrotheads rejoice. Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Beach Hotel has officially opened in Jacksonville Beach.
The 202 room, $50 million+ hotel opened just north of the pier Tuesday. It’s the largest hotel to be built at a Duval County beach in more than a decade.
As the famous musician said: It’s 5 o’clock somewhere. A large number of customers visited the restaurant and bar, starting before noon Tuesday.
“I’ve lived here my whole life and this is just amazing to see stuff along the ocean front come back again,” said Jacksonville resident Karen Harms, who went to lunch at the Landshark Café with her husband Jimmy.
GALLERY: Margaritaville Beach Hotel
The restaurant filled up fast with locals and tourists looking for changes in latitude.
“We’re gonna probably check in here a little later on tonight,” said JY Rowland, who was escaping the snow in New York.
The hotel’s first guests checking in at 3 p.m. for their shot at staying island style.
“We’re very grateful and very lucky to be ahead of schedule, despite COVID-19, despite delays in getting product, we’ve been able to stay ahead of schedule and open early,” said Kristin Delagado, general manager.
News4Jax watched the process over the past two years as builders turned an empty lot into a major hotel.
Mayor Christine Hoffman hopes it brings more than good vibes but also more jobs and money to the area.
“It looks great,” Hoffman said. “It’s been an empty lot for so long. We are all really excited to see not only some new construction here in Jacksonville Beach, but the construction of a beautiful hotel that I think is really going to raise the bar.”
While the resort is far from a small business, local spots are hoping guests spillover into nearby stores and restaurants like V Pizza.
“We’re a little seasonal here so any tourist comes in, it’s always a bonus,” said V Pizza manager Justin Scott. “We’d like for them to be able to come here to the bar, come to the pizza.”
A manager at Delicomb coffee shop said he was hoping that it would mean an influx of customers, a needed boost for businesses in uncertain times.
Masks are required. The restaurant and bar are open to the public, but the pool area is reserved for overnight guests. Living the pirate lifestyle comes with a cost, however. Rooms start around $399 per night plus tax with 2-room suites costing $799 a night.
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