Travel & Tourism

Margaritaville returning to Biloxi with a tropical fun resort

JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALDContractors work on the Margaritaville Resort Biloxi at the former Casino Magic site in Biloxi on Monday April 4, 2016. The building will have a hotel, multiple restaurants and an indoor-outdoor playground, but no casino in it's current configuration.
JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALDContractors work on the Margaritaville Resort Biloxi at the former Casino Magic site in Biloxi on Monday April 4, 2016. The building will have a hotel, multiple restaurants and an indoor-outdoor playground, but no casino in it's current configuration. SUN HERALD

Perhaps the third time will be the charm for Margaritaville in Biloxi.

The brand's latest incarnation will be as a tropical resort oasis.

In what had been Casino Magic on U.S. 90 at Point Cadet, Margaritaville Resort Biloxi will feature 373 guest rooms, many with private balconies overlooking the water and Deer Island, and 83 suites. It will also offer an indoor-outdoor entertainment center with a lazy river, the first indoor zip-line roller coaster and hundreds of arcade games.

The resort has the elements needed for a casino -- a legal site, ample hotel rooms and something new and exciting for the market -- but a casino isn't part of the project.

It's what people in South Mississippi have clamored for since 2005's Hurricane Katrina wiped out most of the family attractions along the beach, and it will be open in late spring.

The new sign will go up Monday, said Cono Caranna with Barrington Development, the company that restored the White House Hotel. Barrington's latest venture is turning the hotel, closed since Katrina, into the newest Margaritaville resort.

About 600 people will be hired, and a job fair is scheduled for May 1-3 at the Biloxi Civic Center, 578 Howard Ave.

The pool, lazy river and two water slides will be open only to hotel guests, but all of the other amenities of Escape, the resort's 55,000-square-foot entertainment complex, will be available to all. The family playground will have:

-- A four-story volcano rock-climbing wall that up to five people can climb through the ceiling into the Margaritaville Restaurant.

-- Sky Trail Ropes Course.

-- Sky Tykes Ropes Course for kids age 2-7.

-- Cloud Coaster, the first indoor zip-line roller coaster where riders will wear a zip-line harness and soar up and around like a coaster.

-- Two golf simulators so golfers can practice, play and compete on 87 world-class golf courses.

-- Six lanes of Boutique Bowling.

-- Hundreds of state-of-the-art arcade games.

-- Sweet Shack Ice Cream Shop with Dippin' Dots and fresh fruit purees with candy toppings.

--Three private-party rooms.

The resort also will have a fitness center, meeting space and two stores where guests can buy Margaritaville Biloxi T-shirts and other merchandise.

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At Margaritaville cubed -- the third incarnation -- adults will be able to keep watch on the kids and enjoy an icy tropical concoction. In Margaritaville style, LandShark Bar & Grill and 5 o'clock Somewhere Bar will be part of the resort experience, along with The Lost Key Bar.

Margaritaville Restaurant and Margaritaville Coffee Shop are among the eateries, along with Doe's Eat Place, a James Beard Award-winning restaurant renowned for its porterhouse steaks and hot tamales.

The resort and its décor will be inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of Pascagoula-born Jimmy Buffett, whose company is the licensing agent. It will have new ownership.

In 2007, Jimmy Buffett teamed up with Harrah's to build a $700 million casino resort on a lot adjacent to this new resort. Construction never was completed following the world financial crisis, and a smaller Margaritaville Casino was built off Fifth Street. That ownership group closed the casino in 2014 in bankruptcy.

Room reservations for the new resort are now being accepted for June 30 and beyond. When an opening date is determined, reservations will be taken for those nights the resort will be open before June 30 so Parrotheads can make plans for their first night in this new paradise.

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