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First Look: Margaritaville Hotel Opens in the Gaslamp


If you hear “Margaritaville” and think of an uber-kitschy, aggressively colorful, oh-wow-that-is-SO-Florida chain, think again. The brand’s first urban location on the West Coast just debuted in the Gaslamp, and the digs (formerly known as Hotel Solamar) were given a full, tasteful, rock n’ roll revamp. No airport restaurant vibes here.

Dawson Design Associates, the design firm behind the remodel, looked to Jimmy Buffett’s West Coast roots for inspiration during the $31 million makeover. “He used to hang out at Laurel Canyon, writing music,” says Andrea Sheehan, principal at Dawson Design Associates, pointing to his sessions during 1967’s Summer of Love tour across California.

The property’s 6,000-square-foot indoor space consists of 235 guest rooms and suites, plus three dining concepts. Add to that the 7,000 square feet of outdoor space—which includes San Diego’s largest rooftop pool deck—and you’ve got a curated, immersive experience that takes the standard Margaritaville experience and kicks it up a notch.

“It’s a little more luxury, curated in a way that’s probably more thoughtful,” explains Sheehan. Still Margaritaville Hotel San Diego–yes, there are parrots–but with iconography that’s more surfboards and VW vans than fishing boats. “It has a Bohemian undertone to it, but lots of color and a casual California vibe,” Sheehan adds.”

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San Diego, CA