A revamped Hollywood icon realizes its full potential
As impressive as The Diplomat Beach Resort’s $100 million transformation seems on paper, it’s nothing compared to the sights and experiences awaiting travelers at a property that encompasses more than 1.6 million square feet. Everything about the renovation—including reimagined guest rooms, world-class restaurant additions and a sprawling, visually striking lobby area—speaks to a level of casual sophistication that distinguishes The Diplomat, part of the upscale Curio Collection by Hilton, as one of the region’s premier destination resorts for families, couples and businesses (with 209,000 square feet of meeting space, it’s the largest convention hotel south of Orlando). Here are just a few of the many reasons to visit this Hollywood legend.
• Rooms with a view: Hats off to Hirsch Bedner Associates, the renowned hospitality interior design firm, for infusing the resort’s 1,000 guest rooms (including 96 suites) with a clean, contemporary vibe in two incarnations—rooms facing west (the Sunset design, with its hip, chic aesthetic) and facing east (the Sunrise design, with livelier, tropical touches). For those interested in the best of both views—from more than 30 floors high—a spacious corner suite with a wraparound balcony, the four Governor’s suites (1,550 square feet) and the two Presidential suites (2,550 square feet) all overlook the Atlantic Ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway and cityscape as far as the eye can see.
• Quite the splash: Poolside at The Diplomat not only is the daytime place to be; it’s the place you may never want to leave. There’s an infinity-edge pool on the top level with two waterfalls that tumble into the 240-foot lagoon pool on the lower level. There’s also a wonderful play area for kids that sports water cannons, splash fountains and two water slides. Among the 26 private pool cabanas, there are four fashion-forward options custom-designed for The Diplomat by Trina Turk.
• Dining adventures: In addition to beloved Diplomat Prime steak house and Geoffrey Zakarian’s Point Royal (with exquisite Coastal American fare and a gourmet breakfast buffet), the inspired modern Japanese cuisine at Monkitail is not to be missed. Chef Michael Schulson’s ode to small plates, rich flavors and museum-quality presentation comes to life in dishes like the duck scrapple bao buns, tempura shrimp tacos, bacon yakisoba noodles and slow-cooked robatayaki skewers. Dramatic lighting and the artfully designed interior only add to the experience. After dinner, check out what’s behind the curtain off the main dining room—it’s a hidden cocktail lounge (Nokku) with private karaoke rooms.
• Spa side: The resort’s 14,000-square-foot, full-service spa features a halotherapy (salt) steam room, aromatherapy saunas, a spa terrace overlooking the ocean, 10 treatment rooms—and dozens of stress-busting massages, body treatments and combination packages, along with rejuvenating facials and upgrades (microdermabrasion, chemical peels, eye treatments).
• More food for thought: The quality bites don’t end with the resort’s fine-dining alternatives. Between the main property and Diplomat Landing, guests have 10 destinations from which to choose. Among the other highlights: Bristol’s Burgers, along with the obvious, touts its salads and great shakes; Counter Point is Geoffrey Zakarian’s café concept; Playa, the beachfront nuevo Latino spot, sports a heavyweight rum and tequila menu; Portico Beer & Wine Garden features light Italian fare; and Candy & Cones churns and folds its ice cream (and toppings) into custom frozen treats.
• The sporting life: The Diplomat’s tennis center features 10 clay courts and a full-service pro shop; the resort’s nearby championship golf course by architect Joe Lee plays 6,800 yards from the back tees; the state-of-the art fitness center is open 24 hours; outdoor recreation options include personal water craft, ocean kayak and paddleboard rentals; and Diplomat Landing, the dining and entertainment complex across the street from the resort, has a seven-slip marina with 350 feet of dock space—plus it’s the spot from where 50-foot luxury catamaran trips depart. If that’s not enough, the marina’s dockmaster can set up half-day and full-day fishing charters.
• Let’s make a deal: There are daily $5 happy hour specials at Bristol’s Burgers and Portico Beer & Wine Garden, as well as a daily Oyster Hour at Point Royal with discounted drinks and deals on oysters, clams, shrimp cocktails and other raw-bar items. For bigger-picture deals, check out The Diplomat’s Offers link online for various specials running throughout the year—like resort credits or fourth-night-free deals. (3555 S. Ocean Drive, Hollywood; 954.602.6000, diplomatresort.com)