- Photo Tours
- Carnival Breeze – Exotic Eastern Caribbean
- Carnival Freedom – Western Caribbean
- Carnival Miracle – Mexican Riviera
- Carnival Pride – Bahamas from Baltimore
- Coral Princess – Ultimate Alaska with Cruise Experts Travel
- Cuba Cruise Louis Cristal – Cuba
- MSC Divina – Eastern Caribbean
- Norwegian Breakaway – Christening
- Norwegian Epic – Eastern Caribbean
- Norwegian Pearl – Alaska RT Seattle
- Quantum of the Seas – Preview Cruise
- Zuiderdam – Alaska Inside Passage
- Hurtigruten FRAM – Antarctica
- Hurtigruten Midnatsol – North Cape
- Passing Cloud – BC’s Gulf Islands
- Passing Cloud – Haida Gwaii
- S.S. Legacy – Columbia & Snake Rivers
- Safari Endeavour – Alaska’s Glacier Country
- Safari Voyager – Mexico’s Sea of Cortes
- Schooner Zodiac – Brew Cruise 2013
- Schooner Zodiac – Wine Cruise
- Silver Discoverer – Australia to Indonesia
- Silver Explorer – Arctic Svalbard
- Silver Explorer – British Isles
- Silver Galapagos – Galapagos Islands
- Wind Spirit – Stockholm to Oslo
- Wind Star – Rome to Nice
- EUROPA 2 – Greece & Turkey
- Queen Mary 2 – Eastbound Transatlantic 2012
- Queen Mary 2 – Westbound Transatlantic 2015
- Silver Shadow – Exotic Alaska
- Silver Shadow – Southeast Asia & Myanmar
- Silver Spirit – Athens to Barcelona
- Silver Spirit- Eastbound Transatlantic
- Silver Wind – Mediterranean
- Silver Wind – Middle East
- Silver Wind – South Africa
- AmaLotus – Cambodia & Vietnam
- AmaLyra- Danube Christmas Markets
- American Empress on the Columbia
- Emerald Waterways Emerald Star – Danube Delights
- S.S. Maria Theresa – Christening
- Tauck ms Inspire – Maiden Voyage
- Tauck Swiss Jewel – Blue Danube
- Viking Baldur – Danube Christmas
- Viking Baldur – Rhine Christmas
- Viking Forseti – Chateaux, Rivers & Wine
- Viking Freya – Danube Christmas
- Viking Longships Christening 2012
- Viking Longships Christening 2013
- Viking Longships Christening 2014
- Viking Longships Christening 2015
- Viking Vidar – Grand European Tour
- Upcoming Cruises
- About FTDC
Or, how the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale Spoiled Me Rotten
Two flights, three airports and twelve hours after my journey began, I arrived late last night on the doorstep of the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale hotel, my home-away-from-home for the next three nights. Now, arriving at any hotel is great after a long day spent at 38,000 feet, but an hour at the Ritz had me feel like I was setting foot on a cruise ship again.
Perhaps I should explain. Someone immediately opened the door of the cab for me. They opened the overheight glass doors to the hotel. They took care of my luggage. Everyone addressed me by name, as if I was a regular guest at the property. But in fact, this is my first-ever stay in both Fort Lauderdale and at a Ritz-Carlton.
When I was younger, a friend and I flew to San Francisco for the weekend. We wanted to do something special, so we went from our budget hotel to the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco for Sunday brunch, which we were told was “the best.”
Since then, this luxury hotel chain has left an indelible impression on me, and the reality of actually staying here is just as fantastic as the moment I stepped through the swinging doors of the Ritz SF nearly ten years ago.
When I reached my room – jet-lagged and exhausted – I was welcomed to full-turndown service, dimmed lights, and chilled bottled water. Used to doing everything myself, I spent a good minute switching on the four lamps in the room to unpack properly before realizing my bedside clock-radio-telephone is also an interactive system that allows me to control any light in the room with the touch of a button, adjust the temperature, arrange a wake-up-call, or even ring room service.
Here’s why I’ve fallen in love with the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale: everywhere I go, it feels like I am on a ship. Hallways and public rooms curve and sweep like the sheer of a classic liner’s superstructure, and the entire property is reminiscent of the liners of the 1940’s, with an understated elegance that could also double for the “golden days” of Hollywood. If I rounded the corner to see Humphrey Bogart nursing a cigarette, I wouldn’t be at all surprised.
As a cruiser, this is exactly the kind of hotel I would want to stay in pre-or-post cruise; after all, it offers the same kind of personable service found on many cruise ships along with comfortable and elegant settings that are designed to stimulate the senses and impress simultaneously.
Every room in the hotel offers water vistas of some sort, whether it be of the Atlantic Ocean or of the intracostal waterways that line Fort Lauderdale. Often called “the Venice of America”, these waterways are lined with expensive homes and even more expensive yachts. If you like ship-spotting and people-watching, it’s tough to go wrong with these rooms!
My room is located on one of the corners of the property, giving me the best of both worlds: cityscape and the Atlantic. But it wasn’t until the sun rose this morning and my jet-lag abated that I realized that the spectacular windows that line the room actually open, leading to a wraparound balcony.
When I sat down in my deck chair to write this, the city street below disappeared, leaving just a view of the ocean. Is it just my imagination, or am I at sea again? Sitting down with a refreshing drink and the cool breeze blowing gently around the structure of the hotel, it’s not difficult to imagine!
Much like a cruise ship, the 29,000 square-foot Pool area on Deck..er…Floor 7 is a popular place, with tables, chairs, a full-service bar and even private cabanas – more on those tomorrow! Again, when you’re sitting on the pool deck or in one of the comfortable chairs, the street and other buildings disappear from view, leaving just palm trees and ocean. It’s a clever bit of design work, and one that makes a tremendous difference.
Other cool things: the hotel boasts a dedicated Wine Room, and its own wine cellar, holding some 5,000 bottles – the largest selection in the Fort Lauderdale area.
They say when you are in Rome, do as the Romans do, so I took the opportunity this afternoon to have a Hot Stone Massage at the on-site Spa on Deck…er…Floor 7. Here’s the deal: I think everyone should experience the spa here. I’m a big fan of the Hot Stone Massage, but my spa treatment therapist Robin seemed to do it just a little bit better than everyone else. It was 80 minutes that completely erased the tension from the seven hours I spent in-flight yesterday; my only complaint is that it had to end!
And I’d love to show you all what the Spa looks like, but it was the one time today that I put the camera down – really. I hope to go back tomorrow to take some proper photographs!
By the way, the Spa isn’t just the exclusive domain of women anymore; men are more than welcome here, with their own dedicated changing facilities featuring shower rooms that boast 12 jets and an overhead rainfall, and even include combs, razors, shaving cream and hair gel.
Would this be relaxing before a cruise? You bet.
In fact, the hotel even offers a pre-and-post cruise package that has a few neat twists. Including overnight accommodations in an Intracoastal View King Room, this package also includes daily breakfast for two in Via Luna, the Ritz-Carlton’s on-site restaurant. But as an added bonus, it also includes transportation to or from Fort Lauderdale International Airport, along with transportation from the hotel to the Port Everglades Cruise Terminals, or vice-versa.
The only condition: the package has to be booked a week in advance, which is pretty standard for most hotel specials.
I came here because I wanted to experience Fort Lauderdale and the Ritz-Carlton in advance of the Caribbean cruise season resuming in October. Every year I get questions about where, and even if, to stay in the area; questions I really had no idea how to answer in the past. I love finding great hotels; properties that are different, unique, and offer something special. After all, that’s what I look for in a cruise, and I have found in my personal experiences that staying in hotels that are as diverse and engaging as your cruise itself can make all the difference in a vacation.
After a single day here, I can truthfully say the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale is going to make it very difficult for me to just zip from the airport to the pier in the future without at least an overnight stay at this tremendous, ocean-liner-inspired property!
After all, who wouldn’t want to start their vacation with the taste of the good life, or end it with a well-deserved reward?
Our Live Trip Report from the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale continues tomorrow, as we spend some time in a private cabana, dine in Via Luna, and more!
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- October 2016
- September 2016
- August 2016
- July 2016
- June 2016
- May 2016
- April 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- December 2015
- November 2015
- October 2015
- September 2015
- August 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- November 2014
- October 2014
- September 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009