Is there anything better than sitting on the beach listening to the waves, while sipping on a tall margarita? I think that this is probably as good as it gets. Luckily, at the Margaritaville Beach Hotel in Pensacola, Florida this is a way of life. This laid back hotel is all about drifting into complete relaxation and enjoying your vacation, and it also happens to be very wheelchair accessible. Here are 4 reasons why I loved my stay at the Margaritaville Beach Hotel –
The real draw of this hotel is its ideal location. It is beachfront and located in a perfect area of Pensacola Beach. You can walk to several restaurants, but if you’re bringing your own vehicle then all of Pensacola’s hottest attractions and restaurants are just a short drive away. While I stayed at the hotel, we never drove more than five minutes away because everything is so close. Whether you want to go on a dolphin cruise (Portofino Resort offers a wheelchair accessible cruise) or eat at a top rated restaurant for dinner (I highly recommend The Grand Marlin), you’ll have no issues.
As I said, this is a beachfront location, but the hotel’s main path to the beach includes stairs. If you are a wheelchair user, head over toward the LandShark Landing Beach Bar (more about this bar is below). Once you see this bar, there is a smooth stair-free path to the ocean in front of the bar past the hammocks. Of course, to actually roll in the sand you’ll need a special beach wheelchair. Access Mobility of Pensacola has motorized beach wheelchairs available for rent for reasonable prices and it was hands-down the most comfortable beach wheelchair that I’ve ever used. I can’t recommend this company enough!
The Room & Bathroom
While at Margaritaville Beach Hotel, I stayed in room number 407. This was a wheelchair accessible room with two queen beds and a roll-in shower. Both the room and restroom were quite large and I had plenty of space to maneuver around. I also loved that a mobile hoyer lift could easily roll under the bed. However, if you use a manual wheelchair and need to transfer yourself in and out of the bed, these beds would definitely be too tall. They were some of the tallest beds that I’ve seen in a hotel. As a powered wheelchair user that is always transferred by someone else or with a hoyer lift, it didn’t bother me luckily, but if you transfer by yourself then request a lower bed.
The restroom worked great for me and included a large roll-in shower. The only real drawback to the room was the fact that it didn’t have a view of the ocean. There are accessible ocean view rooms, but none were available during my stay. We did have a view of a bay area, where there were paddle boarders, kayakers, and more. It was still an excellent view, but next time I’d love to be able to roll out on a balcony and see the ocean every morning.
Whenever I am on vacation, I love to plan one day to just relax at the pool or on the beach. At the Margaritaville Beach Hotel, I was able to split a day between both the pool and beach. It is an outdoor pool and has a great view of the ocean. I was happy to see that the pool was a zero-entry pool as well, which means there was a ramp to get in the water. My plan was to get in my travel shower chair and be rolled into the pool, but a couple hours before I was going to do this it started lightning. I didn’t let that put a damper on my vacation though.
Instead of getting in the pool, I visited the poolside tiki bar and enjoyed a few drinks. If you find yourself at a Margaritaville, try the “License to Chill”. It’s my favorite drink ever and I promise that you’ll be wanting a second round. There was a singer by the pool also and of course he was singing plenty of Jimmy Buffett songs. It really made me feel like I was in paradise… and I was!
The On-Site Restaurants
Pensacola has many fantastic restaurants, but if you’re looking to dine a little closer to the hotel and don’t feel like going out there are a couple options. The main restaurant at the hotel is Frank & Lola Love Pensacola Cafe, named after a 1982 Jimmy Buffett song about a couple on their second honeymoon in Pensacola. Frank & Lola is open every day and offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. I tried the breakfast one morning and was impressed with the eggs benedict. Hotel food, in my experience, tends to be pretty bland, but not this. It was actually delicious and whether you are staying at this hotel or not, Frank & Lola’s would make for a good dining choice. I can’t wait to return and try the dinner menu.
The hotel’s other much more casual option is the LandShark Landing Beach Bar. Located right on the beach, this is the perfect place to grab a drink if you get too hot in the sun. Drinks are not the only thing that LandShark has though. There are several food choices and this would be a great lunch spot. I rolled into this bar in my powered beach wheelchair and enjoyed some nachos and a drink. It was tasty and certainly hit the spot after baking in the sun for a couple hours. This bar is seasonal and open from March-October.
Whether you are a wheelchair user or a family with smaller children, this hotel has something for everyone. As they say, it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere and at the Margaritaville Beach Hotel it’s always 5 o’clock. With a laid-back beach paradise atmosphere, check into this hotel if you’re looking for the ultimate Pensacola Beach vacation.
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