• 54°

Long-awaited Margaritaville family entertainment center open in downtown Vicksburg

By The Vicksburg Post

VICKSBURG — No matter what the clock says, it will now always be 5 o’clock somewhere in Vicksburg.

The new Margaritaville Hotel and Family Entertainment Center officially opened in downtown Vicksburg Saturday morning and includes a 117-room hotel, pool area, arcade and LandShark Bar and Grill.

“It is the second game changer. This and the sports complex are going to change the dynamic of Vicksburg,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said of the opening. “It is going to change the market and it creates another economic level for the success of this city. This is what we were waiting on. I want to compliment Greg Stewart. When he came here, the city had blighted this property and for him to do all this is phenomenal. He never gave up, he kept his eyes on the prize and because of that we are celebrating today.”

Margaritaville is located in the building that was formerly the Portofino Hotel and fills the void of there. Until now, no hotel has operated in downtown Vicksburg since Grand Station closed in 2012.

“It is going to be a huge boost for downtown,” said Kim Hopkins, the executive director of Vicksburg Main Street. “The hotel is going to bring people downtown. We have been waiting for a hotel downtown for a long time. It is terrific. It will be huge because people can stay downtown and walk up to the restaurants and visit the shops. They can eat, play, dine and stay downtown.”

The hotel lobby can be accessed through the main doors off of Mulberry Street in downtown, while the arcade area and restaurant can be accessed off of the parking lot located on Levee Street.

“This is such an incredible investment to our community,” said Christi Kilroy, the president of the Main Street board. “This will spawn many, many other investments. We couldn’t be more pleased to have you right in the heart of our downtown. You will be the center of many great things. We appreciate you and want to thank you for your investment.”

The pool and the splash pad are only for hotel guests, but the restaurant and arcade are open to the public, and they are already attracting people from around the region.

Matt Gray made the trip to Vicksburg along with his wife and two kids from Meridian for the grand opening Saturday and said they see themselves coming back frequently to enjoy the arcade, especially during the hot summer months.

“We have had a great time and a lot of fun. They keep wanting to play different games and they will probably make us run out of money,” Gray said. “We come through Vicksburg fairly often and we came through today because I know they will have a good time and it is hot outside.”

The whole resort area officially opened Saturday with a ribbon cutting and general manager Steve Stricklin said their first guests were checking in and staying Saturday night.

“It is exciting,” he said. “To watch all the hard work come to fruition is exciting.”