The narrowest point of South Florida’s barrier islands is now home to one of its greatest successes. Since it opened this past Fall, the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort has been a beacon of the “new’’ Hollywood Beach wrapped around the charms of Old Florida that still draw many snowbirds and leisure travelers.
The 349-guestroom beachfront resort is bright, airy and inviting. From the ceilings to the floors to the St. Somewhere Spa and its signature “Lost Shaker of Salt’’ massage, Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort shows off the legendary laid-back Jimmy Buffett lifestyle to this area between Fort Lauderdale and Miami – and to people who previously might have thought the only Hollywood that existed is in California.
“Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort has been tremendously successful and well-received,’’ said resort General Manager Cate Farmer, as she sat underneath the margarita-glass shaped these chandeliers in the hotel lobby and only a few yards away from a giant blue flip flop. “We knew there was a lot of excitement about the project, not only locally but globally. That’s really such a compliment to this company and to Hollywood.’’
Indeed. The 17-story Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort and the city’s beachfront future are joined at the hip, or to be more precise, Hollywood’s famed Broadwalk, a 2.5 mile stretch paved sidewalk that is shared by people out for a beach stroll, joggers, roller skaters, skateboarders and bicyclists. The Broadwalk is home to more than 50 restaurants (mostly locally-owned), as well as a plethora of small, low-rise hotels, many of which have operated along the Broadwalk for more than 50 years.
“I see everything through our guests’ eyes,’’ Farmer said. “I hear what people are saying as I walk around the property and I see the feedback on social media sites,’’ Farmer said. “They have a general appreciation for what is here and for Hollywood as a destination.’’
The Broadwalk is a slice of slice of Old Florida you won’t find anywhere else in Sunshine State, which makes it even more compelling as it crosses on the back side of the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Entertainment District that includes the resort’s FlowRider Double simulated surf ride, the Floridays Airstream Café (try the Altered Boy Dog with spicy brown mustard and braised sauerkraut) and the Lone Palm Beach Bar – a great place for fish tacos and yes, a Margarita.
Those two eateries are within easy access of people strolling the Broadwalk, but each of Margaritaville’s eight restaurants is open to the public. Each has its own distinct style and menu. For example, the signature Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant features live entertainment, great burgers and craft cocktails. It also has a good gluten-free and vegetarian menu. For breakfast, the Huevos Rancheros are a must-have.
For those who don’t want a big breakfast, the Margaritaville Coffee Shop – between the hotel lobby and the Buffett-theme gift store – is the place to go for fresh pastries.
The License to Chill Bar overlooks the resort’s pool deck and Hollywood Beach. It’s a good option for drinks and light snacks. It also an ideal place to listen to live entertainment from the Hollywood Beach band shell, whose schedule is controlled by the resort.
Across the street, the 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar & Grill is a great happy hour location, Set hard against the Intracoastal Waterway, really shows off the Margaritaville lifestyle with craft cocktails, craft beers and snacks, including some of the best chicken wings in South Florida. You might even catch a SoFla sunset. It’s also a great place to people watch and catch the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi that makes the eaterie one of its stops along it route through the famed canals of Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale.
In addition, Five O’Clock Somewhere is a good starting point for the evening that follows with dinner at the JWB Prime Steak and Seafood. Located inside the Margaritaville resort, JWB is the first upscale restaurant within the Margaritaville brand and it doesn’t disappoint. In fact, SWB – named for James William (Jimmy) Buffett – produces as any dining experience you’ll find in SoFla.
The service is impeccable and where else can you get spear-caught Lion fish? It’s definitely on the “must have’’ list at JWB. Most of the seafood served at JWB, in fact, is caught by spear gun – the idea being that fish killed instantly have better flavor than fish caught by hooks and in nets. One taste of the Lion fish and I agree.
On the beef side, the Prime Bone-In Ribeye and Colorado Lamb Chops each are outstanding choices.
As Buffett sings, “It’s a sweet, sweet life living by the salty sea.’’
And from Broadwalk to Buffett, it doesn’t get any sweeter than Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort.