The Floridian city is famed for its long stretches of palm-fringed golden beaches, Everglades, canals, rivers and swamps. So it’s certainly the place to go if you like water. But it’s also a shoppers’ paradise, is full of attractions, packed with history and plays host to many cultural festivals. Some of the world’s biggest and most respected hotel brands have properties here, including Ritz-Carlton, Hilton and Conrad. Here is a selection of great choices for top-notch treatment when you visit Fort Lauderdale.
Kimpton Shorebreak Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort
Stay right beside the beach, at the Kimpton Shorebreak Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. This was originally the Escape Hotel, opened in 1949, the first in the area to both have a swimming pool and stay open year-round. The interior design is coastal, modern and airy, with nods to its mid-century heritage and colour cues from the local ocean landscape. 96 bedrooms have Bluetooth speakers, yoga mats and pet-friendly amenities. Plus there’s a 24-hour gym, an outdoor pool, loaner bikes (to feel the Floridian wind in your hair) and La Fuga restaurant/bar with a terrace.
Four Seasons Hotel & Residences Fort Lauderdale
Offering a contemporary take on the classic yacht club lifestyle, this oceanfront property by Four Seasons opened its doors in 2022. The 22-storey building on Fort Lauderdale beach is the work of Miami-based architect Kobi Karp, with interior touches by the London-based Tara Bernerd and Partners and Martin Brudnizki Design Studio. It features 189 guest rooms and suites, a spa, multiple pool terrace, The Honey Fitz cafe and lounge (named after John F. Kennedy’s presidential yacht) and Evelyn’s restaurant (in homage to local luminary Evelyn Fortune Lilly Bartlett), serving eastern Mediterranean discovery menus and Levant-inspired cocktails.
Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale
The oceanfront location of this Ritz-Carlton property sets the tone for a more relaxed vibe than is found in some of the brand’s more formal city-centre hotels. Twelve storeys in height with a curved shape and furnished balconies attached to every bedroom, it looks and feels much like a cruise liner. This theme continues inside, with a ship-like lobby offering boutique shops, a pool table, a spa and a salon The sunbathing/ pool area overlooks the sea, while on the seventh floor, there’s a stunning infinity pool Guests staying here have access to the Grande Oaks Golf Course and can eat in the Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits or the poolside cafe.
W Fort Lauderdale
Fully renovated in 2017 to achieve a fresh and bright modern look, the beachside W accommodates well over 500 bedrooms, as well as a separate tower for residential guests. Wet East, the pool deck, is the place to be on Saturdays when the incumbent DJ plays the tuns, as the in-crowd sip cocktails on cabanas. But if you prefer a more chilled-out atmosphere, Wet West, the second pool area, provides it. However, few stay here for a quiet life and the Living Room offers the chance to party into the wee small hours. Food can be ordered at Steak 954, El Vez, the sushi bar or the property’s Grab and Go bar.
Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach
The post-modern architecture of this hotel is evocative of the area’s yacht culture. Inside, the design has been led by A++. Choice is a big deal with this brand – guests can select preferences for their pillows, bath products (namely Refinery, Shanghai Tang or Temple Spa) and their minibar treats, as well as having the option of seven different in-room dining options. Suites come with one, two or three bedrooms and beautiful marble bathrooms. And there are three eateries: Cornucopia Gourmet Market, the Spinnaker Pool Grill and Japanese-Korean fusion cuisine at Takato. Included in your daily stay are the use of two beach chairs and an umbrella, a two-hour bike rental and a discount in the spa.
The Diplomat Beach Resort Hollywood, Curio Collection by Hilton
Recently refurbished to the tune of $100 million, this Hilton hotel takes its name from the adjacent Hollywood beach. It’s a little further away from the main Fort Lauderdale action, but well-placed for access to the airport. And with so many amenities on-site, it’s perfect for those not wishing to venture far. The 36-storey property houses 1000 rooms, ten places to eat and drink, two pools (cleverly constructed on crisscrossing levels), waterfalls, a Dip + Slide splash zone, a spa and a daily programme of activities (including watersports). The Diplomat was voted one of the top 10 resorts in Florida by Condé Nast Reader’s Choice and is 4 Diamond rated by AAA.