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Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale
1 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, Florida | Tel: 954.465.2300
Situated along the Atlantic coast, the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale offers a spectacular base from which to enjoy Fort Lauderdale pre-or-post cruise. It’s Art Deco design is soothingly nautical, and the entire property has been designed to resemble something of a classic ocean liner on land, with swooping architectural curves and elegant touches. In fact, it’s so nice that, as I discovered, even with a hurricane barreling down on you, you may not want to leave.
The hotel even refers to its staff as the “Ladies and Gentlemen of the Ritz Carlton”, which is decidedly appropriate: the service you’ll receive here is closer to that of a good friend welcoming you into their home.
The Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale was branded as the St. Regis Fort Lauderdale until the summer of 2008, when the $160-million property changed hands. Perhaps because of that, it features a look and feel that is entirely unique. Far from being a bad thing, it takes the welcoming luxury that Ritz-Carlton Hotels are known for and combines it with the property’s unique nautical ambiance and tropical flair to create a hotel that should be seen as a destination in its own right and not merely a place to rest your head.
Coupled with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean or nearby Intercoastal Waterway, it’s easy to take in all the sights and attractions of “The Venice of America” from this convenient and luxurious base.
When it comes to rooms Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale doesn’t skimp on the accommodations front. Each room and suite includes 400 threadcount Frette linens; full marble baths; hardwood flooring; LCD televisions in each bathroom; a 37-inch flat-panel television in the main bedroom; evening turndown service; and private balconies.
Another nice little touch is the décor, which reflects the Golden Age of Travel, along with historic photographs from the Fort Lauderdale area. Better still, the hotel’s standard guest suites measure 300 square feet at the smallest, and can go all the way up to a very generous 659 square feet.
During my stay, I had a corner Oceanfront Room facing the Atlantic, with a wrap-around balcony that was so large I barely ever wanted to leave the property. I appreciated the full-size desk (always good for business on-the-go) and the large balcony doors that let the cool breeze of the ocean waft through the room.
- Via Luna is the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale’s on-site dining venue, featuring both indoor and outdoor seating. Both the setting and culinary creations are sumptuous, and pricing is much better than I would have expected from a luxury hotel. While breakfast and lunch are also offered here, dinner is where Via Luna really shines, with an extensive menu of seafood and Italian creations.
- Via Luna Bar, just across the lobby from Via Luna, is one of the nicest hotel bars you’ll find anywhere, with a dramatic mural behind the bar of Neptune. Look closely and you’ll see horses riding out of the mist. Don’t leave without having the Venetian Bay Breeze Martini; with rum, pineapple and cranberry juices, it’s the perfect way to unwind after a long day in the sun!
- Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale Spa offers treatments designed specifically for men and women, with 11 different treatment rooms and a private couple’s suite. I can’t speak to the women’s changerooms, but for men there are special shower rooms that feature jets positioned on nearly every wall. You’ve never been so clean! I also had one of the best Hot Stone Massages here, hands-down.
- VIP Cabanas are on offer as a day package. For $300 per day for two guests, you get your own private cabana situated on a private balcony one level below the main pool and Pool Bar. Full bar waiter service (Cabana Captain) is provided, along with an assortment of newspapers, magazines, books, and nearly anything you could want. Fresh fruit, bottled water, an iPod docking station, a flat-panel television, and Hampton Sun products are included. Don’t let the price deter you: this is a splurge worth every cent.
- The Wine Room, adjacent to the Via Luna Bar, hosts 5,000 bottles of wine and an extensive list of scotches. Reportedly, it’s one of the largest menus in all of Southern Florida. If you’re a fan of the grape, you’ll want to spend some serious time in this gorgeous, wood-panelled room.
WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE…
- The Beach: with a prime location like this, miles of sandy beaches are located just across the street. The accompanying promenade running along Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard is also worth a stroll.
- Grand Oaks Golf Club: Not really within walking distance, but this fantastic course is accessible to Ritz-Carlton guests, with VIP treatment and access to all amenities on-site. Transportation can be secured from the hotel.
- Intercostal Waterway Water Taxi: is just a short stroll away. Go for a ride along Fort Lauderdale’s picturesque Intercostal Waterways1
AIRPORTS AND CRUISE PORTS
- From Fort Lauderdale Hollywood Airport: Approximately 20 minutes.
- From Miami International Airport: allow for 60 minutes, depending on traffic.
- To Fort Lauderdale Cruise Piers: approximately 20 minutes.
- To Port of Miami: allow at least 60 minutes, depending on traffic.
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