Jaine Blackman kicks back and enjoys doing a lot of nothing

Let's clear one thing up straight away... there's more than one Hollywood in the USA, and to many Americans the first one that springs to mind is not in California.

Hollywood Beach Florida is where generations of home grown vacationers have spent some fun in the sun.

On the Atlantic coast, between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, with a 2.5-mile-long terracotta-coloured path to promenade along, it offers glimpses of an earlier era Florida... along with fabulous beaches and almost guaranteed sunshine.

I'd visited my cabin crew daughter Virginia a few times in Fort Lauderdale, where she's based, so we decided to try somewhere new.

In fact, the newest hotel there – Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort.

Inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of singer, songwriter and author Jimmy Buffett (see panel), it's a $175 million destination resort and entertainment complex which opened last year.

It's certainly an all-American destination – big, bold and eager to please, with an impressive array of amenities, including multiple bars and restaurants, three pools, gym and a spa.

And there are nice little details too. Our bright room – all of the 349-rooms in the 17-story hotel have views of the ocean or Intracoastal Waterway – was tastefully decorated in shades of blue, yellow and white, echoing the colours of the sea, sand and sky outside, and waiting on the side was a little edible sandscape of biscuit flipflops and lollypop beach umbrellas.

As you'd expect – linens were crisp and white; the bathroom sparkling – with a huge walk-in shower; there was a 42-inch TV and high-speed wi-fi but it was more of those little things, like the taps shaped like fish tails, that made it stand out for me.

The sense of fun carries on throughout, from when you walk through the door into the lobby with its the margarita glass chandelier, giant flipflop and indoor swinging sofas.

The whole idea is to create a laid-back, taste of island life vibe... albeit in a very polished manner.

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But it must have rubbed off on me, for rather than my usual manic insistence on sightseeing, I threw away the list (art deco Miami, the deserted off-shore homes of Stiltsville...) and just chilled out for the long weekend we spent there. Perhaps it was the vibe, or maybe the delight of sunshine in March after a British winter but I was quite happy to spend most of the day on the beach or lounging around the 11th floor adults-only pool with its own bar that served drinks and snacks.

It was relaxing, but not quiet. Music played everywhere – a lot of it Jimmy Buffet's or of a similar kind, so if you're not familiar with it, it's probably best to check out whether you like it before you book.

It started at breakfast, which you could eat outside or in the quirkily decorated Margaritaville Restaurant with its fishing boat booths, "ocean" floor and large screens showing music videos, and carried on through to live evening entertainment.

It was a lively place (although I'm told the demographic changes out of school holidays) and very popular with US tourists – we didn't hear another English, or even European, accent the whole time we were there. We liked it, we enjoyed watching Americans on holiday on their own shores and became horribly nosey, actually following families the length of the broadwalk to eavesdrop on their conversations.

That and watching people fall off their boards on the beachfront surf simulator (fascinating in that I shouldn't laugh but I can't help it You've Been Framed type of way) were our favourite non-lounging activities. I guess we're not the nicest of people.

We did rouse ourselves occasionally to make use of some of the hotel's other facilities and had a memorably good meal in the upmarket JWB Prime Steak and Seafood restaurant; drank margaritas out of mock blenders in the Jimmy Buffet bar and whiled away an afternoon watching the people go by from the elevated Landshark Bar and Grill.

The broadwalk (yes, they are usually called boardwalks, this one is different) was great for a stroll past motels which wouldn't have looked out of place in the 1950s or earlier, the Hollywood Beach Bandshell, which offered frequent and free live entertainment, gift shops, parks, bars and restaurants and we did wander over to the Intracostal Waterway for dinner one evening (hardly a stretch, it was just across the road).

But on the whole we did nothing but kick back and chill out... Jimmy B would have been proud.

The facts:

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort is at 1111 North Ocean Drive Hollywood, FL 33019


Nightly rates start at $206 but, be aware, when the bill comes there are resort fees and taxes to pay, something that British guests aren't used to, so check the "extras" out in advance.

Hollywood facts, figures and history

The City of Hollywood, Florida is a beachfront community located in southeastern Broward County, nestled between Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

Founded by city planning visionary Joseph Wesley Young, the original one square mile of farmland has grown to approximately 30 square miles in size with a population of roughly 143,000 residents.

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Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport adjoins the city (there are direct flights from Gatwick with Norwegian Air, who my daughter just happens to work for) while Port Everglades, the second busiest cruise port in the world, is partially within its municipal boundaries.

Joseph Young first arrived in South Florida in January 1920 to survey several parcels of land suitable for the site of his "Dream City in Florida".

In Young's vision, Hollywood "would be a city for everyone,” and was also known as “Hollywood-By-The-Sea.”

From 1925-1926, Young built both the Hollywood Broadwalk and Casino as means to entertain visitors and draw them to the oceanfront, as well as to stimulate interest in the residential lots he was selling.

The Hollywood Beach Swimming Casino located on the Broadwalk, featured 824 dressing rooms, eighty shower baths, a shopping arcade and an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort was built on the site of the former Hollywood Beach Casino.

Who is Jimmy Buffett?

For a man who has built his reputation for laid-back music and lifestyle, Jimmy Buffett has proved to be a very astute businessman.

He's also multi-talented, though mainly known as a singer-songwriter, he's also a best-selling author and actor.

Buffett, 69, whose devoted base of fans are known as Parrotheads, often portrays an island escapism lifestyle in his music – he describes his style as "drunken caribbean rock 'n' roll".

As well as the Margaritaville hotels, he is involved in two restaurant chains named after two of his best-known songs, Cheeseburger in Paradise and Margaritaville.

In 2006, Buffett launched a cooperative project with the Anheuser-Busch brewing company to produce a beer called Land Shark Lager and he has also licensed Margaritaville tequila, footwear and foods.