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South Florida's Margaritaville resort set for opening

Parrotheads, the wait for Margaritaville Hollywood is over

Parrotheads, the wait is almost over. Soon you'll be able to vacation away in Margaritaville.

The new 349-room Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort will have a "soft opening" Tuesday, welcoming a 150-person corporate group and its first leisure customers, General Manager Cate Farmer said Monday.

More people will begin arriving Oct. 1, the resort's official opening day, Farmer said. Before then, walk-in reservations may be accepted if rooms are available.

The announcement, a long-held secret, came during a media tour of the $175 million resort, which includes 178 king rooms, 155 queen rooms and 14 suites, along with the Jimmy Buffett Presidential Suite and the Coral Reefer Suite, which will occupy the penthouse level.

Rates for Oct. 1 start at $206.10 for a king room with a view of the Intracoastal Waterway, purchased in advance, according to the resort's website. A king room with an ocean view goes for $224.10. Regular rates begin at $259 a night.

A $15 daily resort fee also applies, covering free Wi-Fi, use of the fitness center, two beach chairs and umbrella, bottled water, in-room coffee and local phone calls.

As guests step through the front doors, signs abound that they've entered the laid-back, tropical and "no worries" world of Margaritaville — typified by Jimmy Buffett's 1977 hit "Margaritaville.

Among the beacons of relaxation are a giant-sized blue beach flipflop with a pop top attached, dozens of upside-down margarita glasses dangling from a lobby chandelier and cabana-style social areas dotted about the reception area.

The resort showcases many of the singer and songwriter's favorite things, including surfboards from his own private collection.

Strolling around, it's hard to miss Buffett's lyrics on display, especially on guest room floors and in meeting rooms.

Buffett has made two visits to the resort this month, first on Sept. 3 to surprise its nearly 600 employees with a pep talk as they prepared for its opening, and again last week, Farmer said.

"He's so enthusiastic about this property," she said.

The 17-story resort sits on 5 acres at Johnson Street and State Road A1A along the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk. Construction began in August 2013.

The resort includes eight restaurants and bars, three oceanside pools, a FlowRider surf simulator, a spa and fitness center and 30,000 square feet of convention space.

Restaurants and bars include the 400-seat Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville restaurant, LandShark Bar & Grill, License to Chill Bar, 5 o'Clock Somewhere Bar & Grill and an upscale restaurant, JWB Prime Steak and Seafood.

For Tuesday's opening, most of the restaurants and bars will be open, except for the 11th floor License to Chill Bar, which is expected to open by Oct. 1, and the 5 o'Clock Somewhere Bar & Grill, scheduled for late October, Farmer said.

Also available Tuesday will be the resort's Coffee Bar, retail shops and FlowRider. The resort's 11,000-square-foot St. Somewhere Spa, which will offer 11 treatment rooms, and its Parakeets Kid's Club are still getting final touches and are expected to open in coming weeks, Farmer said.

Non-hotel customers will be able to dine in all of Margaritaville's main restaurants and bars, with the exception of the License to Chill Bar, said Tim Arnold, director of food and beverage.

The resort's pool and other amenities will be for registered guests only, a hotel spokeswoman said. For now, no decision has been made on whether pool or resort passes will be sold to the general public.

During the summer, several job fairs were held seeking "exceptional people to create and deliver fun and escapism."

Among those hired as a bartender was 24-year old Cristina Martinez of North Lauderdale.

"I'm excited and looking forward to when it's busy with guests," said Martinez, as she mixed a margarita at the Land Shark Bar & Grill during final prep for opening day. "There's a great vibe around the resort."

The Hollywood Beach resort is the second Florida resort and fourth in the U.S. for Margaritaville Holdings, a lifestyle brand management business headquarted in Orlando.

Its other hotels and resort properties are in Pensacola; Bossier City, La.; and Pigeon Forge, Tenn. It also has dozens of restaurants and bars under the labels of Margaritaville, Landshark Bar & Grill and Cheeseburger in Paradise.

Margaritaville Holdings CEO John Cohlan described Margaritaville's vibe this way:

"This is fun. This is escapism. It's a high-quality [experience ], but it doesn't take itself too seriously."

For information, go to MargaritavilleResorts.com or call 844-562-5625/954-874-4444.

asatchell@sunsentinel.com, 954-356-4209 or Twitter@TheSatchreport

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