Photo: Margaritaville Vacation Club Atlanta

Atlanta's New Margaritaville Vacation Club Brings Beach Vibes to the Center of the City

Atlanta Georgia Epic Stays
by Matthew Meltzer Oct 4, 2022

Nothing feels like vacation quite like sipping a strawberry margarita in a warm breeze. The tropical vibes crank up a notch when steel drums start playing and a whiff of saltwater hits your nose. Then life becomes one big Jimmy Buffet song when you kick back in a deck chair, take one more sweet boozy sip, and gaze out at…the Atlanta skyline?

Such is the experience at one of Margaritaville’s newest resorts, set not on the shores of a tropical island but on the edge of Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park. The Margaritaville Vacation Club Atlanta one of a handful of the franchised operation’s newest branch of offerings, set in the middle of urban centers rather than the usual beachside locales. The idea is to give people the essence of a beach vacation through colorful drinks, tropical music, and saltwater swimming pools without having to travel to the actual beach.

Creating a beach house inside an urban center

the living room in a suite at margaritaville vacation club atlanta

Photo: Margaritaville Vacation Club Atlanta

Formally known as the Club Wyndham Atlanta Resort, this urban island paradise is the third in-city Margaritaville to open. The others are the much-ballyhooed Times Square location in New York and another property in Nashville. But this is the only one co-branded with Wyndham’s timeshare arm, where people can “own” a given number of nights at any of its properties. You don’t need to be an owner to stay here though, as the suites are also rentable by the night.

The suites feel a little like a beach house in the sky, where pastel walls and whitewashed wood can legitimately trick you into believing there’s an ocean only feet away (for context, the nearest beach to Atlanta is about 250 miles away). TVs play a loop of Jimmy Buffet concerts, providing an instant island soundtrack. Margarita blenders sit on the countertop under a full rack of appropriate glassware. And little signs with Buffet-isms like “If there’s a heaven for me, I’m sure there’s a beach attached” are plastered in conspicuous places.

If you didn’t look out the window, you’d swear you were somewhere along the Redneck Riviera. So it’s a little surreal when you pull back the sheer white curtains and see passengers on the SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel staring back at you.

Restaurants and tiki bars that keep the beach vibe going

tiki bar at margaritaville vacation club atlanta

Photo: Margaritaville Vacation Club Atlanta

The tropical transportation continues inside the signature Margaritaville restaurant on the ground floor, a 400-seat behemoth with a wood motif and a menu that’s long on seafood favorites. You can enjoy your conch fritters and Landshark beer along the resort’s open patio. And though on sunny days your brain might convince you the outdoor tables sit waterside, the only shoreline you’ll find is the one bordering the Olympic Park fountains.

The restaurant patio and open air restaurant immerses you in the surrounding city, and during big downtown events like music festivals and football games it acts as a perfect transition into the urban environment. If you’re not feeling that, Margaritaville puts on an hourly animatronic parrot show around a two-story margarita glass every hour on the :15s, effectively pulling you back into paradise.

The second floor is home to the Tiki bar, which has all the classic thatched roof huts and rum-based concoctions one would expect. The big difference between it and traditional tiki bars is that this one’s completely indoors, and the floor-to-ceiling windows look out on downtown. Keep your eyes on the bar, and you’ll never know the difference.

A tropical island in the sky

pool at margaritaville vacation club atlanta

Photo: Margaritaville Vacation Club Atlanta

Though the restaurants do a respectable job of replicating the beach resort experience on ground level, the rooftop is where your mind starts really getting confused. This top floor pool deck is only accessible to hotel guests, and features a large saltwater pool surrounded by cabanas and day beds. The views, though not of the ocean, are spectacular, offering a 270-degree panorama with views out to Stone Mountain and the city skyline.

The bar – which opens at 4 PM on weekdays and 1 PM on weekends — has a menu focused on classic tropical drinks and light beers that are perfect companions to an afternoon of suntanning. Live music, typical of the soft guitar or steel drum renditions of Top 40 songs that you’d hear on a cruise ship deck, frequently accompanies the scene.
When you emerge from the pool with a slick of saltwater on your skin, and dry yourself off as you take a sip from a frozen pina colada, it’s hard to imagine you’re anywhere but the beach.

Despite the beach vibes, the urban locale is ideal

aerial view of margaritaville vacation club atlanta

Photo: Margaritaville Vacation Club Atlanta

Leaving this little corner of Jimmy Buffet’s heaven seems to defeat the purpose of staying at an urban beach resort. But if you do insist on doing stuff like “exploring the city” and “learning the local culture” you couldn’t ask for a better location. From the rooftop, you can see the Georgia Aquarium, College Football Hall of Fame, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and a corner of Mercedes Benz Stadium. So walking to some of the city’s top attractions is pretty easy.

You’re also feet from the CityView Atlanta Ferris wheel if the rooftop view at the bar isn’t quite panoramic enough. Most importantly, the hotel is two blocks from that great Southern institution known as Waffle House — especially handy since Margaritaville doesn’t serve breakfast.

The resort is also close to both the Peachtree Center and GWCC/CNN Center MARTA stops, if you’re down to explore the city by train.

So while a beach vacation to Atlanta sounds a little like taking a ski trip to Dubai, well, in 2022 both are legitimate possibilities. If Margaritaville has any say, beachy trips to city centers will be a fairly common vacation idea, especially among those in major metros looking for a true staycation. If all you need to get in the tropical mindset is a fruity drink and giant parrots, this resort will do the job. Just make sure you don’t spend too much time looking out the window.

Discover Matador