The Pelican Grand Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale sits directly on the beach (not across the street from it), which is notable for this city of ocean properties. We love that the boutique-size resort has a cozy footprint, meaning it’s not a huge convention facility where you have to walk long distances to discover all its venues. This makes for an exciting vibe in the lobby and its adjacent O2K Lounge, as there’s always a sense of anticipation, with new guests arriving or gathering to enjoy a glass or two in O2K (there’s even a Happy Hour and live music several nights of the week, meaning savvy locals might be there, too).
In fact, there’s always something going on at the Pelican Grand Beach Resort, which is a member of Noble House Hotels & Resorts, a hospitality company that prides itself on being in enviable locations. For example, LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort in Naples, FL is also directly oceanfront and L’Auberge del Mar outside of San Diego is just across the street from the Pacific Ocean and one of California’s top beaches.
Back to the Pelican Grand: Just off the lobby is an outdoor seating area with rocking chairs and oceanfront views — a great place for evening cocktails and light dishes. To the left is the resort’s swimming pool with a Lazy River Tubing Ride that lets you just drift along with the current as you gaze at the beach. To the right is oceanfront seating for Ocean2000, which serves “American” fare and great wines. We had breakfast there each morning and can recommend the different varieties of Eggs Benedict, as well as the Belgian Waffles. A buffet is available, which we saw worked well for families with little ones. For dinner, we say, “yes!” to the Seafood Mushroom Risotto as an entrée and the “Creamy Tomato Burrata” as a starter. Did we mention there’s also a heavily frequented ice cream parlor just off the lobby?
The big news for Pelican Grand is that it wrapped up its $7 million guestroom renovation earlier this year. Colors are fresher and airier, think blue and cream; heavy carpeting is gone to make way for light-wood flooring. The best part? Bathrooms have a spa vibe, with soaking tubs, walk-in showers and quartz countertops.
The Sky Suite on the 12th floor has an open-plan living area, a private dining room with wet bar and a 1,100-square-foot balcony with panoramic ocean views.
There are no “bad” rooms at the Pelican Grand. City-facing King Rooms are 480 square feet in size and sport spacious sitting areas. We loved our Oceanfront King, which had even more space, measuring 510 square feet. The Sky Suite on the 12th floor sits at the very top of the resort. It’s an enviable spot, if only for its 1,100-square-foot balcony, acclaimed as the largest in Fort Lauderdale. Did we mention the private lift? We say this suite works well for that undercover VIP who travels with an entourage. The Pure Suite on the 11th floor is styled after the resort’s Pure Spa, with a light, Swedish, eco-conscious feel to it.
About that spa: It’s boutique in size, as well, with great views of the ocean, naturally. It provides Swedish Massages and Papaya Body Polishes; organic products are supplied by Maria Akerberg through an exclusive partnership. Contact the spa director, Jackie Martinez ([email protected]) to set up a program.
We escaped to the Pelican Grand Beach Resort as a couple seeking some sun and relaxation with a few cocktails and great dinners thrown in for good measure, but we say it’s great for any traveler. Children can feel comfortable roaming free as they’re always in close proximity to their parents, so everyone feels as if they’re having a great vacation. We also like the smaller size of the hotel for older people who might have ambulatory issues. No matter where they sit they’re always part of the scene and it’s easy to wander about without having to walk too far.
The Pure Spa is known for Swedish Massages and Papaya Body Polishes.
The concierge, Brian Toye ([email protected]) can recommend great dining in the area (see below).
Note: The resort is the place for weddings, thanks to its oceanfront location. The Atlantic Ballroom is 1,400 square feet and feels like it’s right on the beach, while the Oceanview Ballroom is more than 2,000 square feet in size.
For VIP stays, contact Annette McCrady, ([email protected]; 954-556-7562), the hotel’s director of revenue management.
Suggested Nearby Dining
Boatyard Restaurant has dockside dining with an “Eat Local, Be Coastal” philosophy. Visitors can get the vibe of Fort Lauderdale’s yachting culture. Marina views included. 1555 SE 17th Street/954-525-7400
Shooters Waterfront restaurant has fresh seafood and hand-crafted cocktails. It’s been around since 1942, so provides a sense of the city’s history. 3033 NE 32nd Street/954-566-2855
The Floridian is a 24-hour diner frequented by locals. Known for their huge omelets, it’s a best bet for breakfast. 1410 East Las Olas Boulevard/954-463-4041
Louie Bossi Ristorante is an Italian eatery with a number of seating options; think outdoor piazza with a fire pit and bocce ball court and a large outdoor bar facing Las Olas Boulevard. There’s an indoor dining room as well. 1032 East Las Olas Boulevard/954-356-6699