The new Margaritaville Beach Resort Nassau is set to open in July, as part of the $250 million Pointe development that also includes One Particular Harbor residences, a water park, marina and entertainment complex. Editor-in-Chief Hector Fadraga spoke with General Manager Larry Magor of the property’s JWB Prime Steak and Seafood restaurant earlier this month about the resort, cruise ship homeport and redevelopment of the port of Nassau.
Q: How does the One Particular Harbour/Beach Resort combo differentiate the property from the others here?
A: Our location at the entrance to the city center is unique. 100% of our inventory with harbor water views cannot be replicated, and the brand identity of Margaritaville and its following is immeasurable. The only thing we have tried to do is to create the impression that the resort is accessible and welcoming – and it is. This is how I explain the brand to a lot of people.
Q: The Margaritaville Beach Resort Nassau was scheduled to open last summer before pandemic delays. Has its design or planning changed due to Covid?
A: Honestly, this had little effect on resort planning, even though we had originally considered a buffet for the Vacation Cafe. However, we were able to adapt very early on and create a slightly different design for the breakfast service. We obviously had to comply with 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.
Q: What impact do you think homeporting will have on the destination?
A: This whole home port issue has never happened here before, so we really don’t have a good idea what’s going to happen with cruise ship passengers as they embark and disembark. I’m concerned about the logistics of getting people to register here or register at the Hilton and then be transported to the cruise ships. It’s not an easy thing to do. Homeporting could change the way we look at cruise ship passengers. Today we think of a cruise ship passenger as someone who is here to spend money on a jewelry store or a perfumery, buy rum and cakes and maybe take a ride on a moped, and not much more than that. I think homeporting could change that. I hope that is the case.
Q: Do you get pre or post cruise stays from cruise ships departing from Nassau?
A: We are getting preliminary inquiries as we are scheduled to open around the time the cruise ships start sailing. I don’t think there is any reason to believe that we won’t have pre- and post-stays here, especially since there is now more to do in this area. Now that you have this development as well as Atlantis, Baha Mar, the downtown and port area development, I think it’s going to get people thinking about staying here and then going on the trips they want to do .
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 visitors and residents of downtown Nassau, as it allows for a proper entertainment venue for of them. The development of the cruise port really started more than a year ago. I think they’re on schedule to do it in three years, but there’s one big thing that’s not finished right now, and that’s the outdoor area. Now [that] the project opens up to the community… you can see all kinds of different events, cultural events, which have never happened here before. This project will truly capture the essence of downtown here and hopefully encourage downtown development.
Q: Some resorts and hotels have struggled to hire staff for reopening. Was that a problem for Margaritaville in Nassau?
A: We were actually able to select exceptional team members due to the unfortunate layoff and furlough situation at many major resorts, which put us in a very good position for our opening. The majority of our Margaritavilles are in the United States, and listening to the horror stories there is amazing. I sympathize with my colleagues in the United States who have difficulty finding housekeepers and waiters to work with, but here we don’t have the same problem, as we are able to find talented and hospitable Bahamians to employ. .