San Diego hotels Gaslamp
The 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar at Margaritaville Hotel San Diego. Photo credit:

Margaritaville Hotel San Diego Gaslamp Quarter is now open, becoming the brand’s first city-center location on the West Coast.

The chain, inspired by the easy-going feel of Jimmy Buffett’s enduring pop hit, invested nearly $30 million in a property-wide renovation of the former Hotel Solamar on Sixth Avenue.

Offering a “distinctly Southern Californian take on the Margaritaville experience,” the building is now home to San Diego’s largest rooftop pool deck, three dining and entertainment destinations, meetings and events spaces, and multiple amenities.

The intention was to blend “the excitement of the city with the carefree feeling of the islands,” according to hotel officials.

“After much dreaming and planning, we are delighted to formally open our doors and introduce Margaritaville Hotel San Diego to the Gaslamp Quarter,” says Jim Hollister, its general manager. “With our signature ‘no worries’ easy-going vibes and welcoming service, we look forward to bringing this unique style of hospitality to our beloved city of San Diego.”

The hotel is part of the Margaritaville empire. The pop standard from 1977 has now spawned more than 30 hotels and resorts, gaming properties, RV destinations, a cruise line and more than 150 food and beverage venues – as well as real estate communities, a station on SiriusXM and more.

According to Forbes, his 28% stake in the venture is worth $180 million.

Thanks to Dawson Design Associates, in partnership with San Diego-based Rossi Architecture, the downtown hotel’s design is meant to “infuse the brand’s signature island visuals with a Californian sensibility.”

Designers utilizes raw materials like stucco and concrete for the lobby, adding custom hand-made furnishings from reclaimed wood, and creative works from Mexican artists. A signature margarita glass chandelier is unique to the region, comprised of eye-catching pieces that were hand-blown in Mexico.

The design also was influenced by Buffett’s Laurel Canyon days, evoking a new “Summer of Love” with art and décor that echoes the Golden State in the 1960s, from whimsical portraits in the vein of Andy Warhol to murals of Volkswagen buses stacked with colorful surfboards.

Visible from the rooftop pool deck, two larger-than-life parrot murals are painted across the exterior walls.

The hotel, operated by Davidson Resorts, boasts 235 guest rooms and suites with white shiplap walls, rattan fixtures and cheerful hues to mimic the sea, sand, and sky. Added touches include authentic surfboards hung on the walls alongside tropical accents and framed Jimmy Buffett albums.

Three dining venues open to guests and the public, including, on the rooftop pool deck, 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar, on the ground floor, LandShark Bar & Grill and the lobby Margaritaville Coffee Shop.

The hotel also features nine venues for larger gatherings, offering 6,000 square feet of indoor space as well as 7,000 square feet of outdoor space on the rooftop.