Fort Lauderdale has come a long way, baby.
By night the Fort Lauderdale scene is hip and happening.
By day, it’s all about the water – seven expansive miles of Florida’s beautifully manicured white sand beach to be precise. Hard to believe that during the last decade turtle conservation and on-the-beach weddings have taken over from wild Spring Break parties. Check out Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd. where a row of luxury waterfront hotels has replaced mom and pop motels. Check in at the newest and most architecturally exciting hotel of them all – the W Fort Lauderdale.
The W’s two graceful towers were built to resemble the shape of a sailboat’s curving, wind-filled sails. The result is more stunning water views from more picture windows, sliding glass patio doors and sweeping balconies. Book a corner suite, and you can see the Atlantic from your bedroom balcony and the city’s rivers and canals from your sitting room’s private outdoor space. Think water, water in every direction.
On a recent visit, I could see the ocean and watch departing cruise ships from my balcony, my free-standing bathtub, my cushy bed and even my peek-a-boo glass shower. Talk about having a sense of place!
For San Franciscans and other west coasters, I can’t think of a better spot to recover from jet leg before boarding your Caribbean-bound cruise ship. When you stand on your balcony, you’ll feel (almost) like you’re already out to sea.
Even the W’s guest room décor enhances the waterfront vibe. Fabrics are nubby and sand colored. Carpets sport beach pebble patterns. My favorite touch is the blue-eyed white alligator plush toy lounging on each and every bed. Want to take one home? If you’ve stayed at the W San Francisco, you’ll know it’s for sale. (Many items in the room are.) Get your alligator to go in the hotel’s boutique gift shop.
The W features the intimate bliss Spa with four treatment rooms for heavenly massages and facials. In keeping with the hotel’s chic, trendy theme, you’ll relax to the sounds of rhythm and blues rather than the usual generic spa tunes. Brownies, cheese and crackers are complimentary in the waiting lounge.
Moving along to the mangroves, join a Blue Moon kayak tour of Whiskey Creek, scene of legendary smugglers and barefooted postmen. If any cruise ships are in port for the day, you’ll see and hear them at close range.
After a day at the spa, beach and swamp, chill out over margaritas at Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar. The guacamole is so fresh, it’s prepared right beside your table.
Thanks to Virgin America, San Francisco residents can now fly non-stop from SFO to Fort Lauderdale. One plane. One flight. One great getaway. You’ll leave SFO in the morning and arrive in Florida in time for margaritas and dinner.