If Disney can create fun resorts and theme parks, then why can’t the great balladeer Jimmy Buffett do the same thing. He may not be as famous as the mouse, but he certainly has a worldwide following of fun-loving fans who yearn to relax and chill just like him.
Buffett indeed has several hotel and resort properties across the country that were inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of the singer, songwriter author. Guests can flip-flop around these large facilities complete with sand, water, suntan lotion, and margaritas at every turn.
I recently visited Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe | Houston, about one hour north of Houston for a weekend stay and a home base to broadcast my live, radio show (KPRC 950AM – Houston/Galveston and iHeartRadio). I had previously visited this same property when it was called Del Lago and then La Torretta. Alas, I did not recognize the property now as it is amazing what a $50 million renovation can do.
The resort is located on 186 waterfront acres on the shores of Lake Conroe – an easy drive from San Antonio, Austin, or the D/FW area. Lake Conroe has over 157 miles of shoreline and 22,000 acres of water complete with, marinas, party coves, bars and restaurants, beaches, and more.
Upon entering the spacious lobby, the first sight to catch your eye is a giant flip-flop shoe and a pop-top from a can of beer. To wit, the Buffet-theme starts right here with the allusion to a line from his most famous song, “Margaritaville.”
A friendly staff dressed in their best beachwear is at the ready to check you in and describe everything the campus has to offer. I was most interested in hearing about the bars while my girlfriend was ready to hit the sun and pool.
But first, the accommodations:
Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe | Houston is an all-suite resort with 335 guest suites and 32 lakefront cottages. The 20-story tower offers incredible views of the lake and surrounding area. Each suite is at least 600 square feet with a bedroom, living room, large bathroom, and private balcony. The living room has a bar with a small refrigerator, coffee maker and a safe. The management realizes that families are key customers, so a comfy sleeper sofa is included to accommodate more guests.
The room decorations will put you in true vacation mode with breezy colors inspired by the sky, lake, and sand. Even the bathrooms are on brand with dolphin tale-shaped faucets.
Two Adirondack chairs adorn the patio offering a comfy place to kick back and watch the sunrise or set, depending on which direction your suite faces.
Water, Water Everywhere
A three-acre waterpark adjacent to the lake is the main attraction and features a lazy river, water slides, hot tub, splash zones, and a two-level adult pool. I spent a lot of time in that area as it offers the “5 O’clock Somewhere” swim-up bar. Cold drinks and friendly bartenders await your order for frozen concoctions.
A few cabanas can be rented for shade and privacy, but we enjoyed schmoozing and drinking with other guests as the sun shined on the property.
I counted five Margaritaville-inspired restaurants on-site starting with the lakeside LandShark Bar & Grill. Try to find a spot on the western-facing patio to watch the gorgeous sunset with traditional beach fare like fish tacos and burgers.
I enjoyed the License to Chill Bar & Café as it is conveniently located on the second floor of the guest tower. It serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and nice Sunday brunch. Note: try the jerk salmon or lobster roll. You’re welcome.
Joe Merchant’s Coffee & Provisions offers a wide variety of grab-and-go items like coffee, pizzas, and snacks. The resort’s newest venue, Boathouse Bar & Lounge, is a hopping, late-night hangout with a dance floor and a golf simulator.
Golf and Spa
If the water wears you out and or should want a change of scenery, Margaritaville Lake Resort-Lake Conroe has other things to keep you busy and relaxed. The 18-hole golf course has a nice layout that winds through tall pine trees and some challenging water holes and doglegs.
While I was smacking around the golf ball my girlfriend was in a world of her own getting a massage and facial in St. Somewhere Spa. The contemporary spa is housed in an 18,000 square foot retreat with a relaxation lounge, steam rooms, and whirlpool tubs.
The wellness menu offers body treatments like the Himalayan Super Fruit Body Peel with age-reversing antioxidants and services for men like a Fitness Facial, Manly Manicure & Pedicure, and haircuts.
The standalone Fins Up Fitness Center is a 10,000 square foot facility with fitness equipment like free weights, cardio and Pilates machines, and racquetball courts.
Though we enjoyed the tower suite our next visit will probably include a stay in one of the brightly colored cottages situated next to the Lake Conroe. The front porch of each cottage has that superb view of the sunset. Boat slips are prominent there so partiers on the lake can tie-up and pop over to the lively restaurants and bars on-site.
We found the resort to be incredibly family-friendly but still designed smartly to allow for a couple’s weekend escape. The designers did a wonderful job of incorporating the Jimmy Buffet theme – from the restaurant names, the tropical music, and even the WiFi password which I won’t spoil here.
There is now no big reason to fly off to Key West to hang out in Buffett’s original Margaritaville. The laid-back vibe of this Lake Conroe location offers everything you need to kick back, relax, chill, and have fun. Then “Come Monday” you can return to your regular life.