By Georgina Cruz
Special to North Palm Beach Life
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower,” the late French philosopher and Nobel Prize laureate Albert Camus once observed. In Florida our leaves don’t turn and fall in autumn, but other things do tend to come down a bit: temperatures and prices at resorts. To my husband Humberto and me autumn is therefore a great time to take a few days to get away from our daily routines and recharge ahead of the busy holiday season. For our fall staycation this year we chose a place where vacationing is a state of mind.
The minute the traveler arrives at the AAA Four-Star Margaritaville Orlando Resort, it is crystal clear that total relaxation and escape are the order of the day here. The words, “Welcome To Paradise” on a sign above the entrance to the lobby greet guests. A giant, 13-foot-high, red flip-flop adorns the resort’s tropically inspired lobby along with a chandelier made from more than 300 margarita glasses. I knew right then and there that I would be enjoying “nibblin’ on sponge cake, watchin’ the sun bake all those tourists covered with oil…” as Jimmy Buffett’s hit song of 1977, “Margaritaville,” proclaims. Not to mention also enjoying a “frozen concoction” or two.
Inaugurated in 2019, Margaritaville Orlando has 186 rooms and suites equipped with floor to ceiling windows to enjoy the resort’s panoramas of lagoon-like pools and balconies for sunbathing and relaxing. There is a spa, restaurants and next to the resort a water park and a shopping and dining district.
In addition to the hotel rooms and suites, the resort has a collection of cottages for rent, the lodging option Humberto and I chose. The cottages, offered by Rentyl Resorts, ranging in size from one to eight bedrooms, provide the best of both worlds: the privacy of a house and access to the resort’s facilities and amenities. Painted in ice cream colors, the cottages have a tropical Caribbean vibe, and the comforts of home include a complete kitchen, washer and dryer, separate bedrooms and even a blender for the “frozen concoction” that helps Jimmy Buffett hang on. Some of the cottages have private swimming pools and hot tubs.
After settling into our two-bedroom/two bath Elite Cottage with full kitchen, living and dining areas, separate bedrooms and pool and hot tub, we headed for the Euphoria Fish House, named after Buffett’s favorite yacht. An upscale restaurant it offers a variety of seafood including delicious lobster bisque and salmon, and excellent beef fillets, chicken and other choices for non-seafood lovers. The Euphoria Fish House Lounge offers live music.
A casual restaurant to enjoy burgers and hot dogs (maybe washed down with margaritas –which as you would expect are superb here) is Salty Rim Bar & Grill, also offering live music. And Provisions is an establishment featuring sandwiches and other grab and go items.
And when it comes to meals, options are plentiful at adjacent Sunset Walk, where guests find a variety of restaurants and shops, including Estefan’s Kitchen, singer Gloria Estefan’s restaurant/club serving her famous 24-hour-marinated roast pork, delicious ham croquettes with bechamel sauce, and other Cuban cuisine specialties (that she also offers at her The Wave Kitchen at her Costa d’Este hotel in Vero Beach) as well as live music. In addition to restaurants and shops, Sunset Walk also has entertainment venues which also offer live music and a movie theater.
Our days at Margaritaville Orlando Cottages by Rentyl Resorts included relaxing time at the Fins Up Beach Club, with its tropical lagoon pool with sandy shores and palm trees that give it a Caribbean beach ambiance, a pampering parenthesis at the resort’s St. Somewhere Spa (which offers massages, facials and other services inspired in the tropics) and a fun visit to the H2O Water Park with its slides, lazy river, wave pool and other attractions (it opens from March to November). Complimentary buses take to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando, but we skipped those this time, preferring to relax at the resort.
Other options of cottage-style accommodations with access to resort amenities in Orlando include Encore Resort at Reunion with four- to 13-bedroom houses and access to a water park and sports facilities, and the Bear’s Den Resort Orlando, with four- to eight-bedroom homes and access to golf, water park and more.
Information: For information on MBO Cottages, visit MBO Cottages (https://cottagesbyrentyl.com/) or details on Margaritaville Orlando Resort, visit Our Central Florida Getaway | Margaritaville Resort Orlando (margaritavilleresorts.com). For information on Margaritaville Orlando Cottages by Rentyl Resorts, visit Margaritaville Resort Orlando Cottages by Rentyl (margaritavilleresorts.com). For Encore Resort Reunion, visit Encore Resort | Luxury Vacation Homes Near Disney (encorereunion.com) and for Bear’s Den Orlando visit The Bear’s Den Resort Orlando | Jack Nicklaus Luxury Vacation Resort (bearsdenorlando.com). For information on Rentyl Resort properties, go to https://rentylresorts.com. For details about Orlando dining and attractions, log on to www.visitorlando.com.
Exploring what to see and do in North Palm Beach and the South Florida area. Your hosts are Pam and Gerry Barker.
Listen to Chapter One of "Panama Palmer"