Where to stay in Ft. Lauderdale
October 16, 2008 12:20 PM   Subscribe

Best hotel or resort in Ft. Lauderdale?

Looking for a great hotel in Ft. Lauderdale for my husband's birthday weekend in November. We have a reservation at the Ritz Carlton (formerly the St. Regis) but it looks like despite being nice, it's in a marginal location which would require renting a car. Anyone have any favorite hotels or suggestions? (upscale but not outrageous), We want to be on or very near the beach and would love to be in walking distance to shopping, restaurants, etc. Thanks!
posted by Lylo to Travel & Transportation around Fort Lauderdale, FL (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
For my sins I have had to visit Ft Lauderdale at least twice a year for the past 5 years.
This was for me the best hotel I have stayed at.
Again its slightly marginal. I think you will need a car wherever you go. Shopping is mainly along Las Olas which as far as I know has no hotels in the league you are looking at.
posted by adamvasco at 12:35 PM on October 16, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks, Adam...........I looked into the Lago Mar, it looked great, but no availability, my guess is they have a big wedding party coming in that weekend because the other hotels have vacancies. Any second choices?
posted by Lylo at 12:46 PM on October 16, 2008

The Bahia Mar is super fancy but like most "resort" hotels now, they will nickle and dime you for things that in my opinion you should get for free, espcially if you're already paying $200 a room. For example, even Extended Stay American has free wifi and doesn't charge $18 a day to park.

But the Bahia Mar is right on the beach and even has an elevated walkway from the pool to the beach so your precious feet don't have to touch hot asphalt. In addition, it's well within close walking distance to lots of decent shops and restaurants.

If you want something a little more colorful, look at the Bahis Cabana, which is right south down the beach. It's smaller, kitsch-ily decorated and I have spent many a wonderful night there. There is a cheap restaurant with good food, a nice pool and garden and an outdoor bar. It's also withing walking distance to the same shops and restaurants as the Mar.

Right across the street from the Cabana is the Yankee Clipper, a ship-shaped hotel that also features the Wreck Bar, decorated like the inside of a boat. Sometimes they have a mermaid show there ("mermaids" swim in the hotel pool, which has underwater windows that lead into the bar). I have never stayed at the Clipper so can't speak about the rooms but I have been to conferences there and it seems nice. Maybe in the same price range as the Bahia Mar.

While in Ft. Lauderdale you absolutely MUST go to the Mai Kai. It's the oldest still-operating Polynesian review/restaurant/bar in the US and the dance and dinner show is fantastic. Not the least bit cheesy, I swear. Drinks in the Molokai Bar will be some of the best you've ever had in your life.
posted by Brittanie at 12:16 AM on October 17, 2008

Response by poster: we ended up staying at the Ritz Carlton (formerly the St. Regis) and we were extremely happy with our choice. We got a great deal on a package through their website (finalized by calling their central registration)--average night price (went up on weekend) was $299 including breakfast for two every day (value: $60/day), free valet parking (value:$30/day) and $25 resort credit per day (despite the written limitations on this, they let us apply it to anything on our bill including drinks). I am sure this price would be different in high season (we were there Nov. 6-9) or if the economy weren't so awful right now, but nonetheless, compared to other 5 star hotels in the area, it was a great price. I called in advance to tell that we would be celebrating my husband's birthday and they upgraded us to a gorgeous ocean view room with balcony and had an amazing frosted cake for him in our room. We wanted to save the cake to bring to a friend's house for dinner the following night so they brought a refrigerator (no charge) to our room. The service was phenomenal, as one would expect from a ritz carlton. No one was snotty, in fact quite the opposite. Food was excellent, albeit pricey. Although they are across the street from the beach, they do have a pedway bridge + elevator built to access the beach from their pool area, but that is not yet open while they are negotiating with the city of Ft. Lauderdale to keep this access restricted to hotel guests despite the beach being public. They stock the room with Bulgari soaps and products, the bed and linnens couldn't have been more comfy. I didn't have one complaint other than our visit there being too short!
posted by Lylo at 8:40 AM on November 16, 2008

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