Cover Story – Don’t Know the Reason, Stayed Here All Season- SEP 03, 2017
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Carlos and Pamela Rodríguez are the primary owners of the Flamingo Beach Resort and Miami-based Driftwood Acquisitions and Development, which announced in July that Flamingo’s top hotel was about to join the Margaritaville brand of resorts inspired by the laid-back tropical escapism of singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett.
The Howler sat down with the couple at the hotel in August to discuss what’s in the works. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Carlos: We wanted to renovate and refresh it to stay current with the times. There’s a lot of new product that has come along, and Margaritaville really represents what this property is and what Costa Rica’s all about. When you think about the brand of Margaritaville, it’s a lifestyle, it’s a way of being. When you think about it, there’s the hammock on the beach with a beer, sandals, shorts, and a Tommy Bahama. That’s Margaritaville. Margaritaville is relaxation, enjoyment — have fun, it’s a lifestyle, it’s a way of thinking.
Howler: How did this Margaritaville deal come about?
Carlos: We bought another property in Cocoa Beach, Fla., and we were looking for something to do with that, and we basically fell in love with the Margaritaville brand. And in those conversations Pam and I looked at each other and said, “You know, Flamingo would be ideal.”
Pamela: I mean, it IS our Margaritaville.
Carlos: So we talked to the president of Margaritaville, and he immediately jumped on it.
Pamela: He said, “Oh, Jimmy Buffett loves Costa Rica. We’ve looked at some things down in Costa Rica. We’ve never found the right thing but we love Costa Rica, we’ve always wanted to be there.”
Carlos: And they came here and fell in love with this — they said if there’s any Margaritaville in the world that fits perfectly, it’s this one.
Carlos and Pamela: No.
Howler: So how does this work? What’s the agreement between you and Margaritaville?
Carlos: It’s a licensing agreement, just like Hilton or Marriott or Starwood — none of them own their hotels, it’s individual owners. This is a licensing agreement; we pay them a royalty for using the name. And they consult with you on how to …
Howler: Margaritaville-ize it?
Carlos: They go through and analyze it with us and we work together as a team to develop the concept, what changes need to be made to fit the Margaritaville mode and brand.
Howler: Can you provide examples of how it will be renovated?
Carlos: Absolutely. We’re going to be upgrading the lobby, upgrading the rooms and upgrading this restaurant (Arenas) in particular.
Pamela: We’re going to repaint it white with a light blue and turquoise, a very beachy look.
Carlos: A blue sandal, flip-flop statue, that’s part of it, with a little pop-top next to it — they have one in Hollywood, Fla.
Howler: When do you expect to be finished?
Carlos: November 2018 is our target date to open as a Margaritaville.
Pamela: We went really up, up, up, and then we sort of leveled off. And now we want to take it to a new level.
Carlos: We want to up our game.
Howler: Will Jimmy Buffett put in an appearance at the grand opening?
Pamela: We wanted to put that in the contract, but they said, “Nobody tells JB what to do.” There were a lot of rumors that Jimmy Buffett bought the hotel — not true, he’s not even investing. But if he wants to, bienvenido!