If you’re looking for a jet-set holiday where you can instantly don your Prada flip-flops and be poolside within moments of arrival, we recommend The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale. Just 6.5 miles from the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, the hotel is an actual resort atop all of the hubbub of Fort Lauderdale Beach, whose cafés, clubs and souvenir shops are just steps away.
|Private Cabanas offer posh packages for VIPs.|
Now, about that pool: It overlooks the Atlantic with a huge private deck. Heavily serviced by those all too willing to assist you in finding the perfect perch, the pool provides drinks and grub from a lovely café that seats 60; the sleek long bar seats 20.
Note: If you’re in Fort Lauderdale on the evening of a full moon, swing by the pool deck for a themed full-moon party, when affordable drinks and appetizers are offered up and you’ll have the option to donate to a local charity.
If you really want to lather on the suntan lotion in an even more exclusive setting, opt for one of the 10 cabanas just below the pool deck. We say this is ideal for celebrities who want to go under cover; consider as well hosting a private Happy Hour party. Five different packages provide a variety of options, including one that lets you rent the entire area for your 50 best buddies.
Contact Rochelle Figueroa ([email protected]; 954-302-6466); she’ll help you select from a variety of fun cabana packages.
|The Bar is a chic retreat from Fort Lauderdale Beach.|
When the sun begins to set, we say it is spa time and what better way for jetsetters to shake their city cares away than with the 50-minute Skin Fit Lifting Facial, which includes an anti-aging peel and a whirl with the NuFACE toning device, which “awakens facial muscles to lift, tone and contour for instantly noticeable results.” If you’re indulging in this unique treatment, ask for Sonia, who is also an expert at brow shaping and tinting.
Time Saver: There are plenty of restaurants in Fort Lauderdale, especially on Las Olas Boulevard, but if time is limited we recommend paying an additional fee to be able to partake in the Ritz-Carlton’s Club Lounge, which serves bite-sized food presentations throughout the day and loads and loads of lovely wine, too. Most Impressive: Lounge balconies have views of the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean.
Downstairs, the hotel’s Via Luna is a chic restaurant with ocean views, but be sure to call ahead if you want to dine alfresco as those tables tend to fill quickly. A private dining room is also available for up to eight.
We loved the Via Luna Bar but were also partial to the Wine Room, where Sommelier Don Derocher can prepare a customized food and wine pairing just for you with advance notice.
Cab service is readily available if you must leave the hotel, but for a fun take on transportation, we suggest Fort Lauderdale’s water taxi, a short walk from the hotel. Detlef Walenter can arrange excellent dining reservations, including ones for the highly recommended Secret Garden Society at The Pillars Hotel just across the street from The Ritz-Carlton.
|The Club Lounge has just been redone and provides ultra-luxe service.|
Care for some golf? The Ritz has a stately Grande Oaks Golf Course—a private, members-only club, home of the Raymond Floyd signature golf course. A bit of trivia: the classic 1980 hit, Caddyshack, was filmed there.
Nice Note: Jetsetters can bring their dogs that weigh less than 25 pounds and the hotel even provides a welcome amenities pack for them (think treats, bottled water and even a feather bed with Frette linens).
Top Rooms: The hotel has seven oceanfront and 15 Intracoastal suites and The Ritz-Carlton Suite, and an impressive selection in the residential pool. We loved room No. 1121, a deluxe room that was beyond spacious and had fabulous views of the ocean.
The hotel is run by General Manager James K. Oliver, but contact Noelle Perra ([email protected]; 954-302-6436), transient sales manager, with special requests for your A-listers.