Escape to The Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
1 hotel + your pals = adult fun in the sun
By Renée S. Gordon
Fort Lauderdale is constantly evolving in interesting and unique ways. In 1960, a movie jettisoned the Florida city into college spring break culture with a bang: “Where the Boys Are” positioned the Strip the place to find love and romance. Tourism boomed. In the 1990s, the city saw a renewed surge of visitors as new, renovated structures rose along with a plethora of activities and adventures.
The Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale provides the ultimate in luxury, service and personalized indulgences that make it the optimum location for a girlfriends’ getaway. The property has earned a Forbes Four-Star rating and is the only AAA Five-Diamond hotel in the city. Located on North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard, 192 guestrooms offer Intracoastal Waterway or Atlantic Ocean views. As a destination hotel, The Ritz-Carlton offers a stunning menu of amenities, a private VIP oceanfront cabana level that’s suspended over the Atlantic Ocean, a 29,000-sq.-ft. infinity pool, concierge service, a fitness center with a waterway view (plus a series of fitness classes for those so inclined), designer décor, luxurious bath products and linens, plus evening turndown service. It’s a place to feel pampered.
You might improve upon an already good thing by upgrading to the only Club Lounge of any luxury hotel in Fort Lauderdale. The menu of amenities includes culinary experiences throughout the day, computer stations and a private concierge. That really takes the guest experience to a whole new high because odds are you don’t have a butler at home.
The recently renovated Ritz-Carlton Spa is a destination within itself, thematically tied to the history and cultures in the area. More than 40 treatments are offered, several of which change seasonally. A signature massage, Intuitive Ocean, incorporates sea salt and marine mud to revitalize, re-mineralize and generally restore well-being. This 90-minute trip to Nirvana is truly unique. The Spa boasts 11 treatment rooms, a hair salon and a relaxation room. You can even create personalized bath salts at the Spa Bar.
Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits, located on the lobby level, takes its theme from the history of the hotel’s location. The Prohibition-era restaurant is situated on the site where Florida’s most infamous bootlegger brought his liquor ashore: Bill McCoy obtained rum in the Bahamas and off-loaded it in Fort Lauderdale. He packed it in special burlap sacks filled with salt. When he neared the coast he would sink it in the water through a special hole in the bottom of the boat. After agents searched and found the boats empty he would pick up the rum when it resurfaced because of the salt. The menu of rum cocktails at this bar is long, creative, quirky and fun, thanks in no small part to James Camp, beverage manager.
Chef de Cuisine Gavin Pera uses fresh seafood, locally-sourced foods, and seasonal vegetables in creative ways. Every dish is delicious but the lobster pasta has earned the most accolades and fans. Key lime pie is, no real surprise, the signature dessert. To my taste buds, the key lime pie wonderful but the cheesecake is sublime.
No girlfriends’ getaway feels complete without at least a little retail therapy, and the good news is that you don’t even have to leave the hotel to accomplish that agenda item (unless you want to). Along with the spa boutique there’s also an Island Company on the lobby level.
The Ritz-Carlton offers easy access to all the best the city has to offer. Fort Lauderdale is one of Broward County’s six beaches, all Blue Wave Certified by the Clean Beaches Council and stretching 23-miles along the Atlantic. The Intracoastal Waterway and inland canal system provides more than 300 miles of navigable water routes and an endless number of water-related activities, including the option of diving to view reefs as close to the surface as 15-ft. There are more than 75 artificial reefs and a three-tiered living coral reef system.
Old Fort Lauderdale Village & Museum is a collection of restored structures that recount the history of the city through guided tours, exhibitions and displays. The 1905 New River Inn, now the History Museum, is said to be haunted. The vernacular-style building functioned as a hotel until 1955.
Just west of the city is the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum at the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation. The name means “a place to learn” and it lives up to its name. The complex houses a five-screen theater, nature trail and living village showcasing traditional crafts.
Fort Lauderdale is a great place to have fun with a little help from your girlfriends!
– Photo Credits: top 3 courtesy The Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale; remainder by Renée S. Gordon
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.