On the Atlantic Coast, just 30mi (48km) north of Miami, Fort Lauderdale was once known as an exuberant Spring Break destination. Today, that hedonism has largely given way to a comparatively easy-going atmosphere – but the seemingly endless sunshine, intricate canals, and glorious Barrier Island beaches remain unchanged. Dubbed the Venice of America, this part of town now has a luxury vibe and has become a yachting and vacation hub, drawing high-end holidaymakers from across the US and abroad. To experience it in style, check out our pick of the best luxury hotels in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, all bookable with Culture Trip.
One of the best hotels in Fort Lauderdale, the beachfront Ritz-Carlton pays homage to what is arguably the yachting capital of the world with nautical decor infused with 1940s and ’50s glamor. The theme continues in the elevated pool, whose design was inspired by the bow of a ship. Selected rooms and suites have views of either the Atlantic or the Intracoastal Waterway, and the tranquil spa cleverly incorporates elements of the sea.
Let’s start with the location: Hotel Maren sits directly across from Fort Lauderdale Beach, within easy walking distance of trendy restaurants at Las Olas Beach and less than 10 minutes’ drive from the Broward County Convention Center. To make the most of the ocean view, head to the fifth-floor pool deck and dine at the coastal Italian restaurant, Riviera, by celebrity chef Fabio Viviani. If you over-indulge, you can always utilize the free fitness room and yoga studio.
The upscale Diplomat Beach Resort sits between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway in Hollywood, Florida – 12mi (19km) south of Fort Lauderdale. Enjoy the views through floor-to-ceiling windows as you relax in your sophisticated room with a balcony. The suites are huge, offering separate living areas and, in some cases, sofa beds and dining tables. Food-wise, there’s a high-end steakhouse. Two outdoor pools with cabanas, waterfalls and a kids splash zone make this a popular option for families.
Home to one of the largest and finest spas in all of Fort Lauderdale, the Atlantic Hotel and Spa is the place to stay for sheer indulgence. The spa is an ocean-side sanctuary that uses Babor products to improve your skin quality and enhance your well-being. The laid-back luxury vibe extends to the suites, which come with spacious bathrooms and kitchenettes.
Occupying an entire beachfront block, this huge property faces a prime slice of golden sand with Atlantic Ocean views. Its imposing spaces, polished design and quality fittings scream luxury, and rooms vary from comfy classics to lavish suites. The raised, sea-facing pool has a bar and grill, and echoes the subtle nautical themes found throughout the hotel. Wellness programs include spa treatments, a fitness center and beach yoga. Takato (meaning state of extreme happiness), a Japanese-Korean fusion restaurant, is the stand-out dining experience here.
Overlooking New River, around 2mi (3km) back from the ocean, this imposing, 1930s mansion block with turquoise-roofed towers oozes Old Florida style. With the addition of a more modern executive tower, this is a substantial property with an array of elegant rooms and suites. Order a drink and a snack by the heated pool, which is beside the river and the hotel’s private boat moorings. When you crave something more substantial, head to the Boathouse restaurant, which is surrounded by tropical foliage, or explore the restaurants of trendy Las Olas Boulevard, right on your doorstep.
Just north of Hugh Taylor Birch Park, the Pelican has a sand-yellow facade that appears to reflect the powdery beach in front of it. At odds with the retro exterior, the rooms and suites exude a boho-tinged, beach-chic feel – think clean whites, pale wood and leafy plants. As you lounge on the private beach, attendants will wait on you hand and foot. For more indulgence, head to the spa.
This imposing skyscraper near hip Las Olas Boulevard represents a new breed of luxe downtown hotels. Earthy, muted tones run throughout the modern rooms, which feature floor-to-ceiling windows with city views. From the 1960s-style Sparrow rooftop bar to the monochrome Terrace Grill, the bars and restaurants here offer a bolder, more playful style. When you fancy a dip, head to the rooftop pool, which has a pergola-covered bar.
Pierre de Villiers contributed additional reporting to this article.
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