Summer Escapes Part 1
Sometimes, the best weekend getaways are right in your own backyard—especially when you live in South Florida. Lifestyle has selected a variety of such getaways, resorts with so many inspired amenities that you might never want to go home.
The Diplomat Beach Resort
Why go: At one time, this was the place for glitter and celebrity glam of a bygone era. Judy Garland once sang in the hotel café; years later, her daughter, Liza Minnelli, teamed up with Sammy Davis Jr. to perform for a crowd of 3,000. Today, The Diplomat (pictured above) is a jaw-dropping ode to contemporary beach chic, thanks to a facelift (completed in 2017) that took almost three years and cost $100 million. Some 1,000 rooms were updated, including two presidential suites, 515 king rooms and 484 double rooms. The place can still name-drop: Fashion designer Trina Turk put her stamp on four of the Diplomat’s 26 cabanas, and, internationally known celebrity chefs Geoffrey Zakarian and Michael Shulson are responsible for the menus and atmospheres at two of the 10 restaurants. Shulson’s is Japanese-inspired Monkitail, while Zakarian’s Point Royal serves up coastal fare such as crab, shrimp and oysters. Local boaters can leave the car at home, and dock at the Diplomat Landing’s seven-slip marina.
Summer specials: “Take a Road Trip to the Beach” includes up to 10 percent savings for Florida residents. The Diplomat also recently introduced its “Burn and Brunch,” a monthly series of workouts with local fitness instructors—followed by a buffet brunch at Point Royal.
Contact: 3555 S. Ocean Drive, Hollywood, 954.602.6000, diplomatresort.com
Fort Lauderdale Beach
Why go: Don’t feel like leaving the comfort of home for a hotel stay? The Conrad has you covered. Located on Fort Lauderdale Beach, between Las Olas and Sunrise, the resort provides all-suite accommodations, from studios to three-bedroom units. Each is equipped with a gourmet kitchen, complete with touch-screen stovetops and Sub-Zero refrigerators. The kitchen comes in handy when you hire the resort’s executive chef, Jorge Ramos, to conduct a live cooking demonstration—complete with wine pairings. If you absolutely have to cook, the culinary team can go the extra mile for patrons, providing recipe cards along with hand-selected groceries. After dinner, head to the 20,000-square-foot Sky Deck (pictured), which was designed to look like the primary pool area on a cruise ship; appropriately, the Conrad stages its share of pool parties, along with stargazing and dive-in movie nights.
Summer specials: The resort is offering its “Take a Road Trip in Florida” package throughout the summer; Florida residents save up to 12 percent on their stay. The “Vacation Like a VIP” special includes a $100 resort credit toward food, drinks, incidentals or a spa treatment.
Contact: 551 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954.414.5100, conradfortlauderdale.com
Why go: One of the original grand hotels, The Breakers hasn’t lost its grandeur in more than 120 years. Live like a Palm Beach aristocrat and stay in one of the two 1,700-square-foot Imperial suites with an oceanfront view. Summer at the Breakers means a significant discount on room rates compared to high season—there are weeknights in August where the Imperial suites go for less than $700 per night; in January, you’ll pay about triple for the same room. The suite reservation comes complete with a personal concierge, who is at your service any time of the night or day. Have the concierge book for you a pamper day at The Spa, play tennis with unlimited court time, or make a reservation to savor the artfully crafted breakfast buffet at The Circle, where 30-foot frescoed ceilings and eight oval murals make you feel as if you’re dining in Italy’s Villa Medici.
Summer specials: The Breakers’ “Complimentary Daily Benefits” package, good through Oct. 31, includes a breakfast buffet at The Circle or The Beach Club Restaurant, free meals for kids 12-under, group fitness classes (including yoga and cycling) and summer savings at The Spa. Stay six nights and the sixth night is free. On the dining front, the renowned Sunday brunch is 20 percent off, and three-course meals at three of the nine restaurants on property—Echo, The Italian Restaurant and Flagler Steakhouse—are specially priced.
Contact: 1 S. County Road, Palm Beach, 877.724.3188, thebreakers.com
Why go: As one might expect, the Ritz rolls out the red carpet for its customers—no matter where they are on the property. Beach chairs and an umbrella await Ritz visitors at the hotel’s private beach at no charge (the amenity is always included with the room rate). The 192-room property makes it a snap to get there with a skywalk that connects the hotel directly to the beach. Skip the sand, and head to the seventh floor, where a pool, heated to the perfect temperature, awaits as the main attraction on the almost 30,000-square-foot pool deck. Treat yourself to the ultimate outdoor pool experience inside a private, VIP oceanfront cabana that seems to be suspended over the Atlantic Ocean. Your cabana captain can fetch whatever you’d like, from bubbly to bites from the resort’s exceptional modern-coastal restaurant, Burlock Coast, helmed by chef de cuisine Paula DaSilva.
Summer specials: For those seeking a respite without an overnight stay, The Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale is giving locals the chance to get away for the day. Take advantage of the “Spring and Spa Day” package (pictured), which offers a complimentary enhancement per service when two or more seasonal treatments are booked. No fun to spa alone? Bring a friend and book the “Spa Along” package, which offers the friend a complimentary glass of Champagne, 20-percent off any seasonal treatment, a $30 credit for any retail purchase over $75, and two plush Ritz-Carlton logo robes to take home.
Contact: 1 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954.465.2300, ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/florida/fort-lauderdale
Margaritaville Beach Resort
Why go: “Don’t know the reason, stayed here all season” goes the 1977 Jimmy Buffett song “Margaritaville.” It’s a sentiment shared by travelers who stay at this popular resort on Hollywood Beach. The $175 million, 17-story resort opened in late 2015 with a distinct “no worries” tropical ambience that wafts through the hotel. The giant, blue flip-flop that greets visitors in the lobby and the décor inside the 349 rooms (influenced by the colors of the sea, sand and sky, with cheeky decorator pillows and private balconies overlooking the Atlantic or the Intracoastal) are reminders that Margaritaville is about leaving your troubles behind. The “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” vibe extends to bars and restaurants that range from fine dining (JWB Prime Steak and Seafood) to an 11th-floor rooftop terrace (License to Chill Bar).
Summer specials: The “Taste of the Good Life” package includes two refillable Margaritaville Booze in the Blender souvenir cups (filled with a free drink of choice) and a $50 resort credit. On Thursdays, locals can purchase a 30-minute session on the FlowRider surfing simulator (pictured) and get an additional 30 minutes free from 3 to 6 p.m. Florida residents also receive a discounted rate on their stay with a valid Florida driver’s license.
Contact: 1111 N. Ocean Drive, Hollywood, 954.874.4444, margaritavillehollywoodbeachresort.com