Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville taking over Solamar hotel in downtown San Diego
The East Village hotel will get a $20 million makeover, which will imbue the property with a relaxed Margaritaville vibe, parrotheads included
Hotel Solamar, a longtime boutique hotel in San Diego’s East Village, will be getting a Jimmy Buffett makeover as part of just announced plans to convert the 235-room property to a Margaritaville hotel.
The 15-year-old Solamar, which until recently was managed by boutique hotel operator Kimpton Hotels, will be the second San Diego hotel to get the laid-back imprimatur of the Margaritaville brand. Last year, Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, the publicly traded real estate investment trust that owns the Solamar and several other San Diego properties, announced it would be converting the 44-acre Paradise Point resort to a Margaritaville Island Resort.
The Solamar transformation, which is expected to be completed by 2021, comes with a $20 million investment by Pebblebrook, which plans to renovate all of the guestrooms and lobby, plus the hotel’s street-level restaurant and rooftop bar and terrace.
Pebblebrook Chief Financial Officer Raymond Martz, acknowledged that the Solamar and its restaurant have been underperforming in recent years despite their choice location bordering the Gaslamp Quarter and their proximity to the city’s bayfront convention center.
“When you walk up and down the Gaslamp, when there’s a convention in town, the restaurant and bar scene is strong, and that’s what Margaritaville can bring,” Martz said. “Margaritaville restaurants attract a lot of people from the neighborhood, which really makes for a successful restaurant and adds to the energy. You have the Jsix (restaurant) in the hotel now and it does OK but it’s not as open and inviting and doesn’t pull a lot from the local neighborhoods.”
While there are not a lot of specifics available yet on the design changes for the hotel, Martz said guests can expect bolder colors and a more light-filled, open feel compared with the existing Solamar.
“Now when you walk in, it’s kind of dark and heavy woods, and we want to lighten it up and make it more engaging,” Martz said. “San Diego is a fun city, it’s California and we want to make that tie-in. We’ll have the traditional Margaritaville feel with the parrotheads, the fun, the music, a lot of vibrant colors.”
The Maryland-based Pebblebrook firm was formed in 2009 and owns 56 hotels, seven in San Diego, with a total of 14,463 guest rooms. It acquired Paradise Point and the Solamar as part of a larger, $5.2 billion transaction to take over the entire portfolio owned by LaSalle Hotel Properties.
Davidson Hotels & Resorts, which manages the Paradise Point resort now, took over operation of the Solamar in January from Kimpton.
JMI Realty, a real estate firm tied to former San Diego Padres owner John Moores, was the developer of the Hotel Solamar and sold it a year after it opened to LaSalle.
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