Tag: Hurricane

Pensacola Beach Margaritaville Beach Hotel reopening after Hurricane Sally

Madison Arnold, Pensacola News Journal
Published 6:01 a.m. CT Nov. 12, 2020 | Updated 7:00 a.m. CT Nov. 12, 2020

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The Margaritaville Beach Hotel will finally reopen the week of Thanksgiving after being closed for two months because of damage sustained during Hurricane Sally.

The Jimmy Buffett-inspired hotel on Pensacola Beach sustained major damage to its elevators and needed all new ones before it could reopen to guests. The hotel sits on two levels of parking garage, which is where the elevators were damaged by Sally’s floodwater.

“That didn’t allow us to have guests just because we wouldn’t be able to get them up to their rooms,” said Summer Smith, Margaritaville’s director of marketing and activities. 

What won’t be reopening to guests this year is Landshark Landing bar because Sally’s winds blew in the garage doors that protect it. Smith said that meant the bar saw far more storm damage than the hotel area. 

However, the Frank and Lola Love Pensacola Café will be open.

“We’re just now deep cleaning the rooms, touching up paint, the minor stuff just to get things ready for guests to come back,” Smith said.

Smith said she didn’t know the total cost of damage sustained by the hotel.

The hotel is set to open the Monday of Thanksgiving week. Typically, Margaritaville is 80% to 100% booked for the holiday, but Smith said this year likely will be much different with the Pensacola Bay Bridge closure and the coronavirus pandemic.

People typically make bookings 30 days out, but with a spike in COVID-19 cases in the area and the bridge being out, Smith said she expects guests likely will book shorter stays and book them more last-minute than in previous years.

“We just really hope that our guests enjoy themselves while they’re here and they’re able to come and feel safe,” Smith said. “The COVID restrictions are in place. We just hope that we can provide a safe place for our guests.”

The hotel will return to the same protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as it had before Hurricane Sally. Face coverings are required for guests ages 2 years old and up in the public indoor spaces.

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Other protocols include staff temperature checks before they start shifts, hand sanitizing stations throughout the public areas and a redesign of the public spaces to encourage social distancing.

Smith said she believed most of the hotel’s staff should be able

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Buffeted by Hurricane Sally, Pensacola’s Margaritaville Beach Hotel to reopen

Pensacola’s Jimmy Buffett-inspired Margaritaville Beach Hotel has confirmed that it will reopen in time for Thanksgiving following a two-month shutdown caused by Hurricane Sally.

Margaritaville Beach is hardly the only area hospitality institution that found it difficult to reason with the active 2020 hurricane season: For example, The Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa in Point Clear reopened on Nov. 4 after a shutdown caused by Hurricane Zeta. The Grand offered a full slate of holiday activities, though construction work still lay ahead on its heavily damaged pier and portions of its boardwalk.

However, the Pensacola hotel is probably the only one inspired by a guy who has sung about wanting to go surfing in a hurricane. It’s also significant for being the world’s first Margaritaville Beach Hotel. It opened in 2010 on the former site of a Holiday Inn destroyed by Hurricane Ivan and is now part of an international hotel and resort empire including 23 properties.

It’ll reopen for guests on Monday, Nov. 23, more than two months after Sally’s Sept. 16 landfall near Gulf Shores.

“We are thrilled to be able to open our doors again, especially in time for Thanksgiving,” said Summer Smith, director of marketing for Margaritaville Beach Hotel. “We look forward to welcoming guests back to our beautiful waterfront hotel for some much-needed relaxation, great food and beautiful sunsets.”

The hotels are known for a “barefoot elegance” concept loosely inspired by the easygoing milieu of Buffett’s songs, rather than for heavy-handed personal branding. However, overtly Buffett-themed amenities at the Pensacola property do include the Frank and Lola Love Pensacola Café and the LandShark Landing open-air beach bar.

For more information, visit www.margaritavillehotel.com.

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