The new Margaritaville Beach Resort Nassau is set to open in July, part of the $250 million Pointe development that also includes the One Particular Harbour residences, a waterpark, a marina and an entertainment complex. Copy editor Hector Fadraga spoke with general manager Larry Magor at the property’s JWB Prime Steak and Seafood restaurant earlier this month about the resort, cruise ship homeporting and the Nassau port redevelopment.
Q: How does the One Particular Harbour/Beach Resort combo differentiate the property from others here?
A: Our location at the entrance to the center of town is unique. The 100% of our inventory having water views of the harbor cannot be replicated, and the brand identity of Margaritaville and its following is immeasurable. The one thing we’ve tried to do is create the impression that the resort is approachable and welcoming — and it is. It’s how I explain the brand to a lot of people.
Q: The Margaritaville Beach Resort Nassau was set to open last summer before pandemic delays. Was its design or planning altered because of Covid?
A: It honestly had little effect on the planning of the resort, although we had originally envisioned a buffet component for the Vacation Cafe. However, we were able to adapt early on and create a slightly different design for breakfast service. We obviously had to comply with both our Aimbridge Hospitality (AimSafe) and Margaritaville Hospitality (Coast Is Clear) initiatives, both of which focus on the health and safety of our guests and team members.
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Q: What impact do you think homeporting will have on the destination?
A: This whole homeporting issue has never occurred here before, so we really don’t have a good sense of what’s going to happen with the cruise ship passengers when they embark and disembark. I’m concerned about the logistics of having people register here or register at the Hilton and then be transported to the cruise ships. It’s not an easy thing to do. Homeporting might change the way that we look at cruise ship passengers. Today, we think of a cruise ship passenger as somebody who’s here to spend some money at a jewelry or perfume store, get some rum and cakes and perhaps take a moped ride, and not much more than that. I think homeporting could change that. I hope that it does.
Q: Are you getting pre- or post-cruise stays from cruise ships launching from Nassau?
A: We are receiving preliminary inquiries, as our opening is scheduled around the same time as the cruise ships start to sail. I don’t think there’s any reason to believe that we won’t have pre- and post- stays here, specifically because there’s now more to do in this area. Now that you’ve got this development as well as Atlantis, Baha Mar, the development of the downtown and the port area, I think it’s going to cause people to think about staying here and then take the excursions that they want to take.
Q: What does the cruise port update mean for the future of Bay Street and Nassau?
A: It improves the entire cruise ship arrival and departure process and, more importantly, changes the entire experience for both visitors and residents in downtown Nassau, since it allows for a suitable entertainment venue for both. The cruise port development really started over a year ago. I think they’re on schedule to get it done in three years, but there’s a big element of it that’s not complete right now, and that’s the exterior area. Now [that] the project is opening up to the community … you can see all sorts of different events taking place there, cultural events, which has never happened here before. This project is really going to capture the essence of the city center here and hopefully encourage further development of the downtown area.
Q: Some resorts and hotels have experienced difficulty in hiring staff for reopening. Has this been a problem for Margaritaville in Nassau?
A: We have actually been able to select exceptional team members as a result of the unfortunate layoff and furlough situation at many of the larger resorts, which has put us in a very good position for our opening. The majority of our Margaritavilles are in the U.S., and listening to the horror stories there is incredible. I empathize with my colleagues in the U.S. who are struggling to find housekeepers and servers to work, but here we don’t have the same issue, as we are able to find talented and hospitable Bahamians to employ.
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