See inside Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville's $300 million NYC resort with a heated rooftop swimming pool, tiki bars, and plenty of tropical decor
Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville empire is rapidly expanding with plans to have 50 resorts open within 3 years.
The CEO of Margaritaville Holdings says the company is the "fastest-growing hotel brand" in the US.
Take a look inside one of its latest hotels in New York, Margaritaville Resort Times Square.
If you're looking for a tropical getaway, put your passports away and redirect your flight to New York City.
For the past three months, one of the latest additions to New York's skyline has been enticing guests to "waste away again" while "watching the sun bake."
That's right, Margaritaville: In July, Jimmy Buffett's themed empire expanded its portfolio into New York with one of its latest hotels, Margaritaville Resort Times Square.
New York City definitely isn't known for the laid-back tropical lifestyle Margaritaville wants to represent.
But according to John Cohlan, CEO of Margaritaville Holdings, that's the point.
"New York is certainly a tourist destination and it's a place where people from all over the world come to sightsee," Cohlan told Insider. "The idea was you ought to be able to vacation in New York as well."
The recent Times Square location is just one property in Margaritaville's greater expansion plan: In the next three years, the brand wants to have 50 resorts open.
"I would think we've got to be the fastest-growing hotel brand in the country," Cohlan said. "We're expanding very very rapidly."
The Margaritaville company first started over 20 years ago on the heels of Buffett's hit song.
And since then, the brand has grown into a hospitality giant that operates resorts, vacation homes, timeshares, senior living communities, restaurants, and bars.
It also recently began venturing into the increasingly popular RV industry with branded RV resorts, which has so far been a massive success, Jim Wiseman, the president of development at Camp Margaritaville, previously told Insider.
Besides the New York hotel, Margaritaville has opened multiple properties in 2021 ...
... including a resort and water park in Nassau, Bahamas, and a hotel in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.
Let's take a closer look inside Margaritaville's Times Square outpost, an over $300 million bet that tourism will soon come flocking back to New York.
Cohlan calls the hotel an "unplugged haven in the middle of your New York experience."
COVID-19 pushed the hotel's debut from late-2020 to July 2021 after construction was halted for two weeks at the start of the pandemic, Kori Yoran, the general manager of Margaritaville Resort Times Square, told Insider during a tour of the hotel.
And now, the 32-floor, 234-room hotel stands beside some tourist favorites, including Times Square, Bryant Park, and Broadway theaters.
As expected, the tropical branding is strong throughout the "resort."
There's a reminder of Margaritaville and its tropical getaway theme everywhere you look, whether it be in the hotel's artwork …
… product packaging …
… or restaurant details.
The hotel rooms also reflect this laidback lifestyle with their turquoise, soft wood, and white decor and accents.
Even the room slippers - which have been replaced by soft white flip-flops - serve as another reminder of the tropical themes.
The windows provide a view of the towering New York City skyline, but if the curtains were closed, the room could've belonged in a vacation timeshare.
"When you walk in here, you're instantly transported to a different state," Yoran said. "If you don't look outside, you're like, 'oh, there's obviously a beach and water.'"
However, there are still reminders of the hotel's location speckled throughout the building, like this New Yorker magazine cover shown below.
And inside the two-floor, 468-seat Margaritaville Restaurant, there's a not-so-subtle 32-foot recreation of the Statue of Liberty holding a glass.
Besides the eponymous restaurant, there are four other dining and bar options, including the rooftop "5 O'Clock Somewhere" bar …
… with an outdoor patio that has views of the One Times Square ball that drops every January 1.
There’s also an outdoor pool with views of the, well, office buildings across the street.
It may not be a beach, but at least it's heated.
The pool is located at the foot of the 110-seat Landshark Bar and Grill, which is lined with plenty of TV screens for sports viewings.
But if you'd rather hang out at a bar, there's also the License to Chill, a fifth-floor, 75-seat watering hole with an outdoor patio.
The hotel even has meeting rooms that are patiently awaiting the greater return of corporate travel.
You might not associate work with Margaritaville, but according to Cohlan, the brand's New York and Nashville locations see some corporate travelers.
As Yoran puts it, the New York hotel is a "casual-luxe corporate travel property."
The slow return of corporate travel aside, Margaritaville has seen plenty of business as leisure travel rapidly recovers.
"I think [leisure travel] came back much stronger than people think, so our business has just performed remarkably well," Cohlan said. "I wouldn't be candid with you if I didn't tell you it was surprising to me."
So far, the Times Square hotel has been seeing about 40% occupancy, Yoran said.
And lately, every room from Thursday through Sunday has been booked out, he added.
Like other local hotels, Margaritaville Resort Times Square is banking on the return of corporate travel for increased occupancy during the weekdays.
But until then, this "slice of paradise in the concrete jungle," according to Yoran, will continue catering to its weekend vacationers and post-work happy hour drinkers.
"Margaritaville really stands for an emotion because it was in the culture for a very long time before there was a product," Cohlan said. "Its product was an emotion. 'Margaritaville, that's paradise. That's where we all want to go.'"
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