Hotel Review: Take a Break and Relax at The Ritz-Carlton, Ft. Lauderdale This FallPosted: Sep. 5th, 2013 | By Merilee Kern
Photos Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Ft. Lauderdale
As the first and only AAA Five-Diamond Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I had decidedly high expectations for my vacation experience at The Ritz-Carlton, Ft. Lauderdale
. From the moment I arrived I was graciously greeted by the valet personnel who eagerly escorted me to the registration. This first interaction, coupled with the litany of stellar staff interactions that ensued, made it clear that my expectations would likely not only be met, but also readily exceeded. At the hotel, a mandate of guest-service excellence, clearly reigns supreme.
“We pride ourselves on creating unique, memorable and personal experiences for all of our guests,” said Michael Chiusano, Director of Sales and Marketing at The Ritz-Carlton, Ft. Lauderdale. This is a lofty goal the property achieves on a daily basis, as attested by the hotel’s consistent exceptional ratings. Among other accolades, the property has in fact, been the recipient of the Mobil Travel Guide
four-star rating and the “Top New Hotel” on Condé Nast Traveler
’s “Hot List.”
Chiusano describes the award-winning property as “refined luxury” with a “contemporary” ambiance, and further explains the staff is “here to assist our guests with making The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale a home-away-from-home.” But, far beyond a homespun sensibility, this respite comes with an elevated array of creature comforts, such as a property-dedicated sommelier. It’s understandable why this is Chiusano’s personal favorite hotel feature, given the sommelier offers private wine and food pairings in the on-site Wine Room, which impressively houses over 5,000 bottles of wine from around the world.
The hotel sits on a prime beachfront location that was once the site of the infamous Candy Store, a spring break fixture in the 1970s and 1980s. Also of note is the structure itself. The 24-story hotel designed by Miami-based Arquitectonica, boasts tiered and glass-walled architecture that is reminiscent of a luxury cruise liner. The Hirsch-Bedner-designed interior plays homage to the seascape with stunning murals. Seashells and other beach-themed décor as well as neutral sand, wood and wave-inspired interiors throughout, set just the right tone.
Offering an unforgettable escape, the Ritz offers 192 ‘40s-inspired guest rooms and suites, a full-service spa, championship golf at the nearby members-only Grande Oaks Golf Course, sweeping Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal views, and a plethora of top-notch amenities.
All of the guest rooms and suites feature private balconies with a water view. There are seven Oceanfront Executive Suites, 15 Intracoastal Junior Suites and 26 Residential Suites, including one-, two-, and three-bedroom options. No expense has been spared when it comes to the accommodations, including 400 thread-count Frette linens, goose-down pillows, marble baths and elegant leather-wrapped and mahogany furnishings. All the latest technology is available with wireless high-speed Internet access, computer and fax hookups, multi-line telephones, data port connections, fully-integrated electronic guest control system and a state-of-the-art DVD theater entertainment system.
The property is rife with options to stay entertained and pampered. There’s the heated zero-entry pool located on a 29,000-square-foot elevated tropical pool deck replete with full service bar. Lounge like a VIP by snagging one of the 10 oceanfront cabanas that feel as though they are suspended over the sea. Each comes with its own Cabana Captain who remains ready to serve drinks, food or advice as a personal concierge. There are many cabana packages to choose from that offer varying amounts of time and service, depending on what suits each guest’s fancy.
The spa, with its minimalist décor and soothing color palette, is a great place to unwind. With 8,500 square feet of refined relaxation, including 10 treatment suites and one couples’ suite, separate lounges for men and women, and a gift boutique, it behooves you to find time to partake in some of the spa’s signature 99 percent organic treatments. It’s the only spa in the area that offers natural, “chiral” anti-aging facials. This superlative spa has a wide range of European and contemporary spa treatments, including those utilizing organic botanicals. The fitness center is fully stocked with nautilus equipment, free weights, and cardio machines that allow you to work out while overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway and downtown skyline.
The on-site oceanfront restaurant, Via Luna, is an elegant Italian eatery that focuses on grilled meats from a local butcher, fresh seafood and Italian favorites as well as scrumptious desserts. Visit the Via Luna Bar for signature libations and small bites, or eat on deck at the Poolside Café where specialty fruit drinks complement a fresh menu highlighting local staples and ever-enticing conch fritters.
Perhaps my personal favorite feature of the property was the Club Lounge, the only one of its kind at any luxury hotel in the city, which is included in all Residential Suites and a limited number of oceanfront guestroom reservations. Located on the 8th floor and boasting prime views, this 2,200-square-foot sanctuary provides access to exclusive amenities, such as complimentary gourmet breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks and dinner buffets. The Club Concierge is also eager to tend to a guest’s individual needs. The enclave also has an expansive balcony to enjoy the breathtaking sunrise and sunset.
With its perfect location to the beach and popular area attractions, unsurpassable guest service, and impeccable accommodations, I’ll definitely be returning to The Ritz-Carlton Ft. Lauderdale.
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