Margaritaville Resort taking shape in Orlando

A rendering of the Margaritaville Resort Orlando hotel complex.
A rendering of the Margaritaville Resort Orlando hotel complex.

The expansive Margaritaville Resort Orlando will serve as an alternative of sorts to Central Florida’s many theme parks, according to the project’s brand coordinator, Pat McBride.

“I think of it as an extension of theme parks,” said McBride, CEO of the McBride Co., a Vermont-based creative design firm. “But you also want those moments to escape from it all and not fight the crowds. So it’s a great antidote, as well.”

Preliminary site work and grading is already underway at Margaritaville Orlando, which is to be located in Osceola County, within sight of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The five-story hotel should start rising within a couple months, McBride said, and developers expect the first phase of the project, including the hotel, to open before the end of 2017.

A rendering of a pool area at Margaritaville Resort Orlando.
A rendering of a pool area at Margaritaville Resort Orlando.

Last week, the Margaritaville Orlando’s promotional team released the first renderings of the project; they depict the hotel as well as what appears to be retail and conference space surrounding a network of swimming lagoons, beaches and wooden piers.  Not surprisingly, considering that this is the Margaritaville brand, one rendering also depicts a shallow, lagoon-like swimming area fronted by a tiki bar.

The hotel at Margaritaville Resort Orlando will actually be of modest size: just 175 rooms. But the overall resort is on a grand scale, encompassing 320 acres, including a lake that McBride said is approximately 50 acres on its own. That’s a whole lot larger than the mere 7 acres that the Margaritaville team had to work with for their recently opened Hollywood, Fla., resort.

In Orlando, 200,000 square feet of retail space, a dining and entertainment district, a 12-acre waterpark and miles of wooded trails will augment the Margaritaville hotel, the development team said. Perhaps more notable still, the property will contain 1,000 vacation homes and 300 timeshares.

At its core, the Margaritaville brand beckons to those in search of an idealized tropical nirvana replete with rum bars and plenty of neatly shaded hammocks.

But McBride said that the space at Margaritaville Orlando is enabling that concept to be stretched further. Guests will be able to while away the day on a fishing dock, make their way around the property in a water taxi or spend an evening barbecuing.

“The goal is to really give people the sense of escapism, to define that living vacation,” McBride said. “If they are staying at the hotel, they are getting several days of soaking in that lifestyle. If they are staying at the residences, they can do it for a few weeks.”

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