From the Knoxville News Sentinel: “Work starts on Gatlinburg Margaritaville”
Rising in the Best Western’s place, on a 5-acre site including The Island in the Pigeon River, will be the seven-story Margaritaville Resort in the Smokies.
The $35 million project, with 174 rooms that can hold 500 guests altogether, will match The Island’s Caribbean-casual theme.
“We’re all part of the Jimmy Buffett hospitality family,” McManus said. It will be “the hammock” for people to relax in after “the fun” of downtown Gatlinburg’s adjacent attractions, he said, quoting more taglines from the singer.
The Island 8 miles away has been a big success in Pigeon Forge, and McManus and his partners expect as much or more in Gatlinburg, he said.
Fronting on the Parkway will be a LandShark Grill restaurant that is expected to open this spring, on the former Hard Rock Café site; and the resort as a whole should open in July 2018.
Demolition of the old hotel started Dec. 13 – only four days after Gatlinburg reopened to visitors – and construction of the new resort will start in the next few months, according to the news release.
The Margaritaville Resort is intended to become one of the few four-diamond resorts in Sevier County, Davis said.
The hotel will have another restaurant of its own, a coffee shop, retail store, 4,000-square-foot outdoor pool, water slide and splash pad, hot tub, heated indoor pool, and a “St. Somewhere” spa – named for Buffett’s most recent album.
In the entryway plans call for a fountain, featuring a colorful parrot reclining in a margarita glass. That’s McManus’ favorite touch, he said
Though it won’t completely open for 18 months (Spring 2018), the Margaritaville Resort and associated restaurants should provide 150 new jobs, McManus said.