Backyard Escapes

Nowhere is the staycation experience filled with more possibilities than in South Florida, where high-end resorts feature over-the-top offerings as well as summer deals

Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa (pictured above)

3030 Holiday Drive, Fort Lauderdale

VIP treatment: With 650 guest rooms and 11 room categories, Marriott’s Harbor Beach property more than covers the accommodation bases. But that’s hardly the only reason to visit this 16-acre oasis that features South Florida’s largest private beach. There’s award-winning fine dining, including 3030 Ocean and Sea Level; there’s a poolside Surf Club for kids ages 5 to 12; there’s activities from basketball, tennis and beach soccer to snorkeling, kayaking and parasailing. And there’s The Spa at Harbor Beach Resort, a 22,000-square-foot haven for rejuvenation with 17 treatment rooms, an exclusive spa pool (with underwater music) and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Check out the new Coco Crust treatment ($145), which uses pineapple enzymes and crushed coconut shells to exfoliate and unclog pores, and coconut milk to refresh the skin.

Isn’t that special: The Vacation Like a VIP program here includes a room upgrade, $100 resort credit, complimentary valet parking, a free gift upon check-in, and a summer savings card with two-for-one offers.

Contact: 954.525.4000;


Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach

801 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale

VIP treatment: Everything about the new-look Bahia Mar is about enhancing the guest experience. The DoubleTree by Hilton resort poured $15 million into a property-wide facelift that reimagined all 296 guest rooms, along with common areas, the fitness center, pool deck, lobby and meeting spaces. There’s also a renovated food and beverage program as well as a new spot to enjoy such offerings—the High Tide lounge. Fresh programming includes cabana rentals at the pool, daily happy hours at Waves Rooftop Pool Bar and High Tide (4 to 6 p.m.), Saturday mixology presentations, monthly beer tastings, and complimentary food demonstrations at noon on Sundays.

Isn’t that special: Summers at Bahia Mar means live music and drink specials on its Breezes patio (Thursday to Sunday from 7 to 10 p.m.), and poolside entertainment on the weekends—DJ Saturdays and steel drum music on Sundays. Also, check out the discounted Florida resident rate.

Contact: 954.764.2233;


Lago Mar Beach Resort & Club

1700 S. Ocean Lane, Fort Lauderdale

VIP treatment: Celebrating 60 years as a family-run, independent resort destination in Broward, Lago Mar continues to delight new generations of travelers with its postcard-perfect private beach, lagoon-style pool, detailed service and spacious accommodations—all complemented by a discernible old-school charm. Through the resort’s Vacation Like a VIP package, Lago Mar guests can upgrade to an executive suite, enjoy $100 of resort credit, receive complimentary valet parking, and take advantage of a discount book with exclusive offers at The Colonnade Outlets at Sawgrass Mills. The package runs through Sept. 30 (with a minimum two-night stay).

Isn’t that special: Florida residents can snag a 15-percent discount off the best available rates (Sunday through Thursday only). Another bonus of staying at Lago Mar: No resort fee, and complimentary self parking and WiFi services.

Contact: 954.523.6511;


W Fort Lauderdale

401 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale

VIP treatment: None other than Lady Gaga has reveled in the 24th-floor luxury of the Extreme Wow Suite at W Fort Lauderdale. The 2,600-square-foot, two-bedroom space features bamboo flooring, plush high-thread-count bedding, an oversized bathtub and a wrap-around balcony overlooking the ocean, Intracoastal and downtown Lauderdale. Add to your W experience with a tailored treatment at the new AWAY Spa—options include makeup dusting at the Glam Station, a quench body treatment or a prescription facial. The five-star vibe extends to the kitchen, where both restaurants—Steak 954 and El Vez—are overseen by Stephen Starr, a James Beard award recipient.

Isn’t that special: Florida residents can save up to 20 percent at this Marriott property (through Sept. 30). Among the other specials at the W: A package that includes $75 worth of daily credit at AWAY Spa; and a Whatever/Whenever service that provides $50 of dining credit for every two nights of your stay.

Contact: 954.414.8200;


The Atlantic Hotel & Spa

601 Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale

VIP treatment: A member of the Preferred Hotel & Resorts portfolio, this all-suite boutique property along Fort Lauderdale Beach features a fifth-floor heated outdoor pool, a 24-hour gym, and buzz-worthy dining at Wild Thyme Oceanfront Eatery, renowned for its fresh seafood and farm-raised land offerings. As for its rooms with a view, nothing compares to The Atlantic’s 2,200-square-foot penthouse suite, a two-bedroom (with king beds) space with a full kitchen and dining room, as well as a large balcony overlooking the surf. Add to your bliss by indulging in one of the many popular treatments at Spa Atlantic, a 10,000-square-foot ode to relaxation with a menu that boasts everything from a 100-minute detox clay wrap to a 50-minute vitamin C facial to a 25-minute sea salt scrub.

Isn’t that special: The resort’s Ultimate Staycation Package (through Sept. 30) wastes no time popping the cork on your discounted getaway thanks to a complimentary bottle of Champagne upon arrival. Guests receive 20-percent off all Spa Atlantic treatments and 25-percent off of oceanfront studio rooms.

Contact: 954.567.8020;

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