Chic hotels and star-studded places to stay line up along the shores of this southeastern Florida city.Less
Backed by the mangrove-lined gardens of the historic Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, Tranquilo boasts an enviable location in a quiet neighborhood two blocks from the ocean. There’s a wide range of rooms and suites with kitchenettes, plus several small heated pools. It feels like a slightly upscale motel with neat, unfussy rooms, gleaming white walls and cream furniture. Guests can rent bicycles or enjoy barbecues in the open sunny courtyards and terraces.
Beyond the northern tip of Birch State Park, the Pelican’s pale-yellow facade seemingly reflects the sands over which it looms. A refurbishment has upped its game and helped clinch several awards. The lobby and public areas exude a classy retro feel, with wingback chairs and deeply molded ceilings – almost at odds with its exterior – while most rooms suggest boho-tinged beach chic. A 500ft (150m) private beach is staffed by waiters, and there’s a good spa to help tease the sand from your toes.
On the city’s western edge by the Everglades, Bonaventure’s lush 23 acres (9ha) encompass three pools (one featuring a waterfall), several restaurants and a spa. Many guests simply rest up here for the duration of their vacation. If the space and facilities aren’t quite enough, a tennis club lies within walking distance and Fort Lauderdale’s famous beaches lie 20mi (32km) to the east.
Lago Mar sits where the Stranahan River meets the Atlantic at the barrier island’s southern tip – surrounded by a knot of canals. This expansive family-owned stay is a venerable Fort Lauderdale landmark with a clutch of accolades and awards. Wood and rattan furnishings exude an elegant Old Florida style and a host of perks, including a private beach, two pools, tennis, volleyball and basketball courts, prove popular with families, many of whom never stray beyond its bougainvillea-dotted grounds.
Few, if any, Lauderdale hotels resemble a cruise liner; fewer still offer a mermaid aqua-burlesque show. In reviving (and completely renovating) the Yankee Clipper – an iconic 1950s beachfront property – B Ocean Resort has made it their own. Stylish modern design with a playful beach-chic aesthetic and marine-inspired artwork are complemented by infinity pools, five restaurants and bars, and a fitness center. Tired of the private beach? Revive yourself in the spa or explore on free bicycles.
Framed by the Intracoastal Waterway, a marina and the ocean, Bahia Mar’s location is unique even by Fort Lauderdale standards. Then there’s the private road-crossing skywalk leading you from the hotel’s pool to the beach. The paired buildings – one a dazzling white tower with more panoramic rooms – together conjure a truly swanky resort, though its casual beach-chic vibe will make you feel relaxed and comfortable.
With its balconies’ distinctive blue-glass railings and sea-facing pool alongside a thatched-roof tiki bar, Ocean Sky pays playful homage to the ocean it overlooks. Featuring plenty of wood tones, rooms and suites are comfortable, and all have coffee-makers and mini-fridges. Children will love the mini-golf and games room, but at heart this is a casual and unpretentious hotel that embraces the beach and water sports on its doorstep.
Sonesta’s renovated interiors offer sleek crisp design – think yacht-club chic fused with natural sand patterns – in spacious rooms and suites. Their recurring blue motifs echo oceanfront views, particularly from the lofty upper floors, and the pool and fitness center tick those resort-ready boxes, too. The restaurant eschews standard fare, instead delving into Caribbean-American fusion cuisine, and there’s also a Beach Market for casual snacks and take-out.