Rest In Paradise

Margaritaville Hotel

The Margaritaville Hotel in Pensacola Beach

For a clean, relaxed, comfortable stay in a new modern hotel on Pensacola Beach, you definitely want to check out the Margaritaville Hotel (owned by Jimmy Buffet, who used to visit Pensacola Beach when he was a child). And yes, you gotta get their margarita recipe.

margarita tasting at margaritaville hotel pensacola beach

My family drove down to the northwest cost of Florida last summer for a quick getaway and we stayed at a really nice hotel, Margaritaville Hotel (by Jimmy Buffet). It was a wonderful trip – the beaches and clean water on Santa Rosa Island are better than anywhere else North America, about a nice as you’d find in the Bahamas or Bermuda.

The one word you keep hearing from people staying at the Margaritaville hotel in Pensacola Beach, FL, is “relaxed.”

relaxed at Margaritvaille hotel

“It’s so laid back down here”. “The staff is so relaxed” “I’m so relaxed”. “Even the fish look relaxed”.

When you take a look at reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, the majority of guests report truly wonderful experiences — everyone agrees that the property itself is lovely and in a striking, gorgeous location.

It’s right on the granite-white sands of the Gulf of Mexico, right next door to Jimmy Buffet’s Land Shark bar (must… resist… Buffett… lyrics…) which has an incredible outdoor living room laid out right behind the dunes, perfect for evening fires. The poolside bar is convenient for guests – and for non-guests, too. From reports, admission to the poolside bar is fairly “relaxed.” Must be the great service and convenience everybody seems to enjoy.

landshark bar margaritaville hotel
Landshark Bar at night

The Margaritaville is not the Ritz Carlton, but then again, you’re hardly paying Ritz Carlton prices. For the price range it’s one of the best options in Pensacola Beach.

The modern interior design is delightful, bright and attractive – it’s not a refurbished version of a refurbished hotel, it’s 100% brand new and modern – and there are more amenities than you would expect for the reasonable price.

The rooms are decorated in a colorful yet tastefully modern way. And boy, if it’s a view you want, this is your hotel. Check out the gulf frontage — one guest described it like being on a cruise ship, the water was that close.

Locals enjoy the hotel too, which is always a good sign. Many come to stay in the fall and winter.


Margaritaville hotel interiorAgain, how “relaxed” things are keeps coming up again and again in guests’ reports of their stays at the Margaritaville. One guest recounted how they stayed for a night due to a disruption in their flight plans, and the staff was relaxed enough to let them check out late to accommodate their improvised schedule — and gave them free beers in the room.

The food is highly praised by most of the guests who come to stay. It’s a definite amenity when you can eat in the hotel restaurant and have as good of an experience as in the finer restaurants in the area — too often you book a nice hotel, and find the restaurant merely serviceable, not an attraction, and have to go out to find memorable food.

Specifically, the main on-premise restaurant, Frank and Lola’s, is loved among guests — the food is interesting and well-priced, and the staff, you guessed it, is relaxed, friendly and professional.

The amenities continue in the rooms themselves. Guests describe the beds as like sleeping on clouds (which is how I’d describe it too). The rooms are so clean you can walk around barefoot, and the shower is huge with glass doors big and solid, heating lamps, all the little things that add up to a very positive overall impression.

margaritaville hotel pool pensacola beach
Margaritaville hotel pool

Price-wise, the Margaritaville is not a budget hotel, but it’s not the cheapest option in the area. It’s middle of the line, maybe a bit above the average price, but the general consensus among reviewers seems to be that you get what you pay for — in the sense that it’s worth above-average prices, and if you want a Ritz-Carlton hotel experience, well, stay at the Ritz-Carlton. We thought it was extremely worth the price.

One really bright spot among reviews is the staff service – it is compared to much pricier hotels. One guest even compared the customer service levels to Disney’s standards, which is high praise indeed. Others seem mostly impressed by the staff’s thoughtfulness and responses to specific requests and problems, not so much an overall impression of Ye High Service rules. “Fun” comes up as a frequent description of the staff, as does “above and beyond.” And yes, of course, more than once the staff is praised for their “relaxed” attitude.

In fact, the only thing that’s praised as often as the overall relaxed, comfortable vibe of the hotel is its cleanliness and overall presentation. It’s one thing to have a great location on the gulf with spectacular views out over the water, if the facility itself isn’t clean the overall effect is ruined (he said from experience traveling around the Mediterranean). The Margaritaville puts a lot of effort into keeping things clean, and guests notice.

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