Wednesday, December 1, 2021

    The best hotels in Fort Lauderdale

    The best hotels in Fort Lauderdale

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    Best hotels in Fort Lauderdale 4X3

    The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale; The Dalmar; Alyssa Powell/Business Insider

    • One of South Florida’s most popular tourist destinations, Fort Lauderdale is filled with a fantastic restaurant and bar scene, beautiful beaches, high-end shopping, historic sites, and more. 
    • Hotels in and around Fort Lauderdale range from newer takes on small, old Florida beach motels to luxury high rises with renovated rooms and every possible desired amenity. 
    • We curated a list of the best properties by selecting top-rated hotels based on our own travel experiences, an affordable budget of $129 to $283 per night, desirable vacation amenities, modern design, past reviews on trusted traveler sites such as Trip Advisor and, proximity to the beach, and more. 
    • Read all Business Insider hotel reviews here.

    A note from your Insider Reviews travel editor: Coronavirus has interrupted travel on a global scale forcing travelers to cancel and reassess plans in the coming weeks and months. We understand that right now is a challenging time to plan travel. But when this time passes and things return to normal, we know you’ll be eager to explore the world again.

    Whenever that happens for you, and we know it will, we hope our travel content helps you make informed, useful, and inspiring choices on the best places and hotels to book. So whether you use our reviews now, bookmark them for the future, or simply need an escape from the news, we’ll continue to share the world with you. In the meantime, we encourage all travelers to stay safe, follow guidelines from the CDC website, and take precautions.

    Just 45 minutes north of rowdy Miami, Fort Lauderdale offers a more relaxed, sophisticated take on a fun, Florida beach vacation. The cosmopolitan city is infused with old Florida soul, and is packed with white-sand beaches, standout dining, historic sites, boat shows, some of the nation’s best discount shopping at Sawgrass Mall, and more.

    The landscape of Fort Lauderdale is also wholly unique — within its 36.3 square miles, there are 165 miles of canals, rightfully nicknaming Fort Lauderdale the “Venice of America.” 

    With so many reasons for travelers to visit, the city is home to an impressive number of hotels designed to meet every traveler’s taste.

    Knowing this, we’ve combed through the masses to choose what we believe are the best hotels in Fort Lauderdale. Selections were made based on factors such as personal travel experiences, architecture and design, location and proximity to the beach, vacation perks and amenities, and past guest reviews from trusted traveler sites with ratings of 4 out 5-stars on Trip Advisor, and 8.5 out of 10 on

    From renovated beach hotels to new luxury builds, our picks range from $129 to $283 during low season, before taxes and fees. All prices are based on the time of publishing and subject to change. 

    Traveling elsewhere? Read our list of the best hotels in other popular cities:

    Read on for the best hotels in Fort Lauderdale, sorted by price from low to high. 

    Plunge Beach Hotel

    Plunge_Beach_Hotel_sits_in_a_charming_Old_Florida_neighborhood_called_Lauderdale By The Sea

    Plunge Beach Hotel sits in a charming Old Florida neighborhood called Lauderdale-By-The-Sea.

    Plunge Hotel

    Book Plunge Beach Hotel starting at $129 per night

    This modern twist on an old, vintage Florida beach hotel offers a quiet, casual beach weekend at an unbeatable price. As you’re driving down El Mar Drive, you can’t miss it — it’s a five-story, all-white building with an all-white pool deck and 163 rooms. The rooms are standard, but very clean, spacious, and (most importantly) just steps from the area’s powder-white sand beaches.

    Plunge Beach Hotel has a mix of standard guest rooms and one- or two-bedroom suites. We recommend opting for accommodations with a partial- or full-ocean views to really feel like you’re on the water. 

    The most interesting thing about this hotel is its amazing location. Plunge Beach Hotel is in a charming part of the city called Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, a Stars Hollow-esque village that looks plucked from 1960s New England, filled with mom-and-pop restaurants, old-school ice cream shops, old Florida vibes, pedestrian-friendly streets, and buildings no higher than five stories. 

    Trip Advisor Ranking: 11 out of 28 hotels in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Rating: 8.6 out of 10

    Pros: Plunge Beach Hotel’s charming Lauderdale-by-the-Sea location is a major draw, as are the spacious, beachy rooms and low-priced suites. 

    Cons: If you’re looking for a hotel with a lot of luxury amenities, this isn’t it. It has a fitness center, three dining options, a pool, and free bikes for hotel guests, but that’s it.

    The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort


    The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort connects to the beach via skywalk.

    The Westin

    Book The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort starting at $136 per night 

    Staying at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort feels like retreating to an effortless and well-appointed beach getaway. Two towering buildings in matching baby blue and white hues are perched right on the sand, with rooms that exude beachy elegance with light woods, wicker furniture, plush all-white beds, and throw pillows covered in bright green palm fronds. Rooms are spacious, with ocean, pool, or Intracoastal views, including the lowest room category, which is a Traditional Guest Room, 1 King. 

    If the weather is nice, grab a first-come, first-served pool chair on the oceanfront pool deck. The pool is small, and there aren’t that many chairs, so get there early to make sure you snag one. The hotel also has a fitness room, the Heavenly Spa by Westin™, and one of the best Mexican restaurants in town, Lona Cocina Tequileria. When you eat at Lona, start with the blue crab tostadas, end with the churros and housemade chocolate-dipping sauce, and thank us later.

    Trip Advisor Ranking: 6 out of 134 hotels in Fort Lauderdale Rating: 8.4 out of 10

    Pros: Don’t miss the hotel’s skywalk, which connects the hotel to the beach and doubles as a public art installation. Most recently, the skywalk was painted with a bright, eclectic tropical mural by urban-pop and graffiti artist, Ruben Ubiera. 

    Cons: While this hotel has a 4.5 “Excellent” rating on Trip Advisor, a handful of guests did leave poor reviews about the quality of service. The staff was criticized for being cold and inattentive, even to loyal Westin or Marriott guests. 

    The Dalmar, Fort Lauderdale, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel

    The_Dalmar_is_a_stylish_hotel_that_fuses_Palm_Beach chic_with_tropical_decor.

    The Dalmar is a stylish hotel that fuses Palm Beach-chic with tropical decor.

    The Dalmar

    Book The Dalmar starting at $136 per night

    Staying at The Dalmar is a fun, sophisticated retreat done up in a mix of mid-century modern design infused with plenty of tropical accents. Palm Beach-chic bright magenta and greens, palm frond prints, and neon wall messages all brighten the well-designed common areas. Likewise, rooms are large and comfortable with a mix of both city and, in the distance, Atlantic Ocean views. 

    The contemporary and glamorous Terrace Grill is a great restaurant, and there’s also a rooftop infinity pool with butler service that guests can request simply by pushing a button on their pool chair.

    The lobby area doubles as a trendy lounge, with a communal working table, plush cream couches with palm-printed throw pillows, a glowing marble bar with bronze accents, and a candy-pink Moet champagne vending machine. Head to the top floor and check out the Gatsby-style rooftop lounge, Sparrow, which is the highest rooftop bar in Fort Lauderdale.

    Trip Advisor Ranking: 84 out of 134 hotels in Fort Lauderdale Rating: 8.7 out of 10

    Pros: Between the stylish, Palm Beach-inspired design and Sparrow rooftop bar, this hotel feels like a cosmopolitan getaway, minus the cosmopolitan price. Rooms are spacious with expansive views of both Downtown Fort Lauderdale and Fort Lauderdale Beach, and a free hotel shuttle can take you to the beach in 15 minutes. 

    Cons: The hotel shares a building with The Element by Westin, which is a more basic Starwood Marriott Bonvoy hotel, and it makes the layout of the hotel a little weird. For example, The Dalmar has its lobby and core common areas on the sixth floor, and rooms on floors 15-24. Truthfully, The Dalmar is a gem that deserves to stand on its own. Additionally, know that it’s not beachfront, and requires a 15-minute shuttle ride.

    Pelican Grand Beach Resort


    The Pelican Grand Beach Resort is home to Fort Lauderdale’s only lazy river.

    Pelican Grand Beach Resort

    Book the Pelican Grand Beach Resort starting at $142 per night

    Drive down North Ocean Boulevard, and despite its Easter egg-yellow color and 10 story building, you might miss the Pelican Grand Beach Resort, which is set off to the side. Thanks to a $7 million guest room renovation in 2019, rooms now have a refreshing mix of whimsical Florida soul coupled with boho-chic design. The hotel is as close to the water as you can get, and rooms are pretty large and come with a private balcony or terrace that includes at least partial ocean views. 

    This hotel also has a delicious restaurant, OCEAN2000, a sprawling pool with a lazy river, and a rooftop spa with floor-to-ceiling glass windows that make it appear as if you’re hovering over the sparkling blue Atlantic Ocean. No matter how you spend your time here, post-dinner s’mores by a firepit in the sand are a must. 

    Trip Advisor Ranking: 23 out of 134 hotels in Fort Lauderdale Rating: 8.7 out of 10

    Pros: Pelican Grand Beach Resort has the only lazy river in Fort Lauderdale, and it’s fun for all ages. 

    Cons: While you can book rooms for cheap, the amenities here are not. Expect to pay elevated prices for food, drinks and spa treatments, even if they’re all worth it. 

    Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa


    The Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa sits on 16 acres of beachfront property.

    The Fort Lauderdale Marriott

    Book the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa starting at $200 per night

    The Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa is like entering a pristine compound with so much do, it’s easy to stay on-site for the entirety of your stay. The resort sits on 16 acres of beachfront property with a 22,000 square-foot spa, a tropical lagoon pool, and seven restaurants and bars. 

    The rooms are spacious, with even the lowest room category — Interior Room, Guest room, 1 King — measuring a generous 338 square feet. Standard hotel rooms all come with handcrafted wooden headboards, sheer white curtains, abstract art, plush sofa chairs, pillow-top mattresses, and glass showers.

    Because of its massive size, great room prices, and long list of amenities, this hotel attracts a mix of guests, from families and friends to business travelers, couples, bachelor and bachelorette parties, spring breakers and more.

    Trip Advisor Ranking: 29 out of 134 hotels in Fort Lauderdale Rating: 8.3 out of 10

    Pros: As previously mentioned, the resort is huge with a wide range of dining options, bars, water sports, and recreational activities. There really is something for everyone. 

    Cons: Despite its high rating, a handful of reviewers on Trip Advisor mentioned dated rooms and an impersonal feeling. With 19,000 square feet of meeting space, this hotel often hosts large business events or conferences that tend to overtake the hotel. So if you visit during one of those high-occupancy events, it may not feel like the relaxing beach retreat you’d envisioned. 

    W Fort Lauderdale

    The_W_Fort_Lauderdale_has_a_see through_rooftop_pool_known_for_its_pool_parties.

    The W Fort Lauderdale has a see-through rooftop pool known for its pool parties.

    W Fort Lauderdale

    Book the W Fort Lauderdale starting at $227 per night

    If you were priced out of Miami, know that W Fort Lauderdale is a lot like staying on South Beach. The lobby bar, Living Room, is a hot spot for both hotel guests and locals, and there’s an all-glass rooftop WET pool that’s a whole party in itself.

    The hotel has a lot of vibrant energy, from its electric pink, blue, orange and green decor to its large Wonderful, Spectacular, Fabulous, Cool, Marvelous, Wow or even Extreme Wow rooms and suites (those are the actual room categories). Wake up and walk straight to the beach or take advantage of the AWAY spa. Whether you get steak at Steak 954, Mexican food at El Vez, or cocktails at Living Room, you’ll enjoy panoramic, floor-to-ceiling views of the ocean just steps away. 

    As mentioned, the pool is the main social event here with 360-degree views of Fort Lauderdale and Fort Lauderdale Beach, and covered in daybeds available by reservation only. They fill up quickly, so make a reservation early to make sure you don’t miss out.  

    Because of its party vibe, this hotel attracts a lot of groups of young friends, bachelorette or bachelor parties, young couples, and solo travelers. It’s a fun, stylish, trendy hotel but it’s not a place for a quiet beach retreat or serene, romantic getaway. 

    Trip Advisor Ranking: 47 out of 134 hotels in Fort Lauderdale Rating: 8.0 out of 10

    Pros: Rooms come with fun perks like plush robes and a Bluetooth speaker system, and all have floor-to-ceiling windows with city or Atlantic Ocean views. At the pool, large daybeds are only $150 (which is cheap for a trendy beach hotel like this) and include four premium water bottles, a bowl of fruit, and a bottle of Prosecco.

    Cons: Some rooms have smaller balconies, so if you plan to use one constantly, make sure you spring for a room with a bigger balcony. 

    The Guitar Hotel at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood Hotel & Casino

    The_Guitar_Hotel_at_Seminole_Hard_Rock_Hollywood_Hotel_&_Casino_is_the_world’s_first_guitar shaped_hotel.

    The Guitar Hotel at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood Hotel & Casino is the world’s first guitar-shaped hotel.

    The Guitar Hotel

    Book The Guitar Hotel at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood Hotel & Casino starting at $269 per night

    After undergoing a much-anticipated $1.5 billion renovation and expansion, The Guitar Hotel at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood Hotel & Casino finally opened in fall 2019. The all-glass hotel has 638 oversized rooms and is designed to look like two back-to-back guitars, with six illuminated guitar strings on each side. 

    The lowest room category, Deluxe King, offers a super spacious 520 square feet, huge marble bathrooms, convertible vanity areas, and direct views of the Bora Bora pool area, which was designed to look like Bora Bora itself. 

    The amenities aren’t lacking, and guests can take advantage of 19 restaurants, 20 bars, a luxury co-ed spa with music-inspired treatments, a full-scale fitness center, the Hard Rock Live concert venue, a comedy club, nightly light and music shows, the DAER nightclub and day club complex, an indoor shopping mall, and of course, a casino.

    Trip Advisor Ranking: 38 out of 134 hotels in Fort Lauderdale Rating: 9.4 out of 10

    Pros: Music pumps through the hotel in cool, interesting ways. Every night, at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., the hotel itself turns into a real-life guitar with special LED lights that make it look like it’s being played to a medley of Michael Jackson, Queen, The Black Eyed Peas, and more. In the lobby, a fountain of water streams down from the ceiling and puts on a water and music show every hour. The hotel also has Hard Rock’s signature “Sound of Your Stay” amenity, where guests can borrow a guitar and headphones and learn to play guitar through digital instruction in the comfort of their room. 

    Cons: This is definitely not a quiet hotel, but rather, a party destination. The casino is open 24/7, so there’s always something going on. This isn’t really a con, per se, but it’s worth noting if that’s not the kind of hotel experience you seek. 

    The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale

    Guests_of_The_Ritz Carlton,_Fort_Lauderdale_get_a_complimentary_water_taxi_ride_every_day._

    Guests of The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale get a complimentary water taxi ride every day.

    The Ritz-Carlton

    Book The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale starting at $283 per night

    This beachfront hotel offers a pampering, luxury escape, and at certain times of the year, it’s actually pretty affordable, which is a steal for a top-tier brand such as the Ritz-Carlton.

    Even the lowest-category rooms — Intracoastal View, Guest room, 1 King, Balcony — come with a lot of space, large marble bathrooms, leather furniture, and a private balcony and view of either the ocean or Intracoastal Waterway. 

    There is a $45 daily resort fee but it offers tremendous value, including beach chairs, daily beach umbrellas, Ritz-Carlton water, two signature resort cocktails every day, daily one-hour fitness classes, high-speed internet, two four-hour bike rentals, and a daily water taxi pass.

    Spend your days at the beach or by the hotel’s private, heated infinity pool, or book a spa treatment in the 8,500 square-foot spa. If working out is a part of your travel ritual, you’ll love the Ritz’s fitness center with glass windows overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.

    Trip Advisor Ranking: 11 out of 134 hotels in Fort Lauderdale Rating: 8.9 out of 10

    Pros: The hotel’s seafood restaurant, Burlock Coast, is a must, and the Ritz-Carlton level of service is impeccable. Golfers will love this hotel, as guests receive exclusive access to the members-only Grande Oaks Golf Course in nearby Davie, FL.

    Cons: Given that it’s a Ritz-Carlton property, expect amenities to be pricey. Also, some guests complained that rooms facing the Intracoastal Waterway also face a building with air-conditioning units, which make for a lot of outside noise and a less-exciting view.

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