Best Bets for Fort Lauderdale Hotels and Activities

By Sara Borzatta,

Named after Major William Lauderdale who led the second war against the Seminole Native American tribe, the City of Fort Lauderdale is mostly famous for its sparkling coastline, and of course the cruise port. This Southeastern Floridian city used to be one of the most popular party spots for American college students celebrating Spring Break but in recent years, the city has been given a makeover complete with upscale hotels, restaurants and boutique shops lining its glitzy coastline.

You’ve scored cheap flights to Fort Lauderdale, now all that’s left to do is work out the ideal hotel and the fine details of your day-to-day…

Here we go over the 1+1+1 of your Fort Lauderdale Getaway:

  • Which Fort Lauderdale Hotel to Choose
  • What to do in Fort Lauderdale
  • What to Eat in Fort Lauderdale

 

Which Fort Lauderdale Hotel to Choose

Hotel near the Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port?

Hyatt Place Fort Lauderdale 17th Street Convention Center |

For those looking for self-catering comforts, the answer in Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood is the Hyatt Place 17th Street Convention Center. Sandwiched between the Port Everglades Cruise Port and FLL airport, you can arrive and leave to both all without the hassle of a rental car thanks to their shuttle service (for a nominal fee).

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trivago users travelling as families, friends and couples adore the spaciousness and fully-equipped furnishings of their Hyatt Place room with free WiFi and hot breakfast in the morning. Choose ‘Hotel Website’ on trivago and check out the Pre and Post Cruise Package which includes roundtrip port transfers and five days of parking.

 

Fort Lauderdale Beach hotel?

Aqua Hotel

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Located just a two-minute stroll to the beach, this Caribbean beauty keeps things fresh, simple and bright with 39 white and teal coloured guestrooms. Indulge in one of two heated hotel pools or take a sunny amble through the hotel gardens.

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Its spacious guestrooms are complete with crisp oceanic decor and hanging surfboards and palm tree views that will constantly remind you that you’re in the Sunshine State. Don’t miss out on this boutique hotel, conveniently located less than a kilometre to The Galleria shopping mall.

Fort Lauderdale Airport Hotel?

Holiday Inn Express Fort Lauderdale Airport/Cruise

Fort Lauderdale Hotels Holiday Inn Express Airport Cruise lobby modern reception

Coming and going from Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport is simple with the Holiday Inn Express’ Airport/Cruise’s complimentary shuttle. Perks like an outdoor heated pool and fitness centre are made available to guests who are keen to stay near the airport.

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Blackout curtains and free WiFi are highly conducive to deep sleeps and slow rises. When on trivago, shop on the ‘Hotel Website’ where you can continue to earn your IHG Rewards Club points while scoring the lowest rate.

 

Cheap Hotel in Fort Lauderdale?

Blue Seas Courtyard |

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Stay at a place just as colourful as the city of Fort Lauderdale with a night at the Blue Seas Courtyard hotel in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. This hacienda-style hotel is decked out in Mexican-Spanish decor complete with colourful stencilling, terracotta tiles and unique pottery. Best of all, it comes with a surprisingly small price tag!

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This is an artist’s paradise with immaculate attention to detail lavished by the owners Marc and Cristie, both of whom make sure that guests are greeted with a warm welcome. The beach is right across the street so you can wake up in your vibrant room overlooking the perfectly manicured courtyard and then head over to the beach for an afternoon snorkel!

 

Luxury Hotel in Fort Lauderdale?

The Pillars Hotel |

Fort Lauderdale Hotels The Pillars Hotel patio

There’s a reason trivago users rated The Pillars Hotel as the top four-star hotel in Fort Lauderdale. From its casual beach house vibe to its opulent dining on the waterfront, the Pillars Hotel is a relaxing oasis of Floridian charm.

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Each of the guestrooms features fluffy duvets and ultra-soft pillows plus sleek marble bathrooms and upscale toiletries. Let Chef Youssef Hammi transport your palette to exotic lands with his Moroccan-inspired dishes at the exclusive hotel restaurant, The Secret Garden.


 

What to do in Fort Lauderdale

Hit the beach

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Beaches lined with Palm trees is what you would expect right? Photo by Chris CC BY.

Head 11 kilometres north to Lauderdale-By-The-Sea for some prime snorkelling and scuba diving made possible by its natural, three-tiered coral reef that is easily reachable by a short swim from the beach. This quaint little beach has an old-school beach vibe to the town with cute ice cream parlours and a quiet contentedness.

 

Tour the Everglades

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Explore the vast marshlands of the Everglades. Photo by Lisa Jacobs CC BY

If you’re looking to make the most out of your trip to the Everglades, definitely invest in a guided tour. The Everglades Day Safari is by far the most comprehensive tour and includes a nature walk through Cypress forests, a scenic boat cruise through the Ten Thousand Islands area, and a 40-minute airboat ride where you’re sure to see some gators!

 

Shop your heart out


Give your style a revamp! Photos courtesy of the Lilac and Lilies Facebook page

Shopping in Fort Lauderdale is an art, with gigantic shopping malls and streets lined with boutiques -down a straight avenue to any shopper’s heart. For fashionistas on a budget, head to the Sawgrass Mills, the largest outlet shopping mall in the US with 350 outlets including Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue and Tommy Hilfiger.

Feel like a local and head to The Galleria for a day of shopping and eating, all within steps of Fort Lauderdale Beach. This 100-shop mall has all the usual suspects you’ll want to stop into on your shopping day from Macy’s to Pottery Barn. Make sure to check out upcoming boutique Lilac and Lilies for a mix of East and West Coast. Here, fresh-faced designer pieces are hand-picked by the store owners to provide a carefully curated fashion journey for visitors.

Perhaps the most popular street in Fort Lauderdale, and the most charming is Las Olas Boulevard. The Las Olas shopping district stretches from the beach for ten additional blocks saturated with luxury shopping venues and al fresco eateries. Enjoy an iced coffee at a sidewalk cafe and then drift into a quaint gallery for a glimpse of local and international artistry.


 

What To Eat in Fort Lauderdale

Morning Coffee

Warsaw Coffee Company | 815 NE 13th Street

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Cinnamon, cloves and a fresh cappuccino at Warsaw. Photo courtesy of the Warsaw Coffee Company Facebook page.

Enjoy a freshly dripped brew from the Warsaw Coffee Company at their uber-hip location on 13th St. The coffee is locally roasted and the pastries are made in-house each day to assure that buttery, flaky freshness is unmatched by most. Pair your espresso with a butter croissant or opt for a warm breakfast featuring the Bacon Egg Burrito. Bon Appetit! 

Lunch

The Foxy Brown | 723 East Broward Blvd.

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Are those chicken wings on pancakes? Yes! Photo courtesy of The Foxy Brown Facebook page.

Whether you decide to lunch or brunch, The Foxy Brown is the restaurant that will hit the spot. For lunch, enjoy a Stracciatella salad comprised of juicy mozzarella cheese, green peas and fresh prosciutto or opt for a hearty meal like the Chicken Little (herb marinated quail with a cornbread andouille sausage stuffing). Make sure to top of your brunch with a BLT Bloody Mary.

Dinner

Coconuts | 429 Seabreeze Blvd.

Enjoy a colourful meal! Photos courtesy of the Coconuts Facebook page

Owned by the same crew as The Foxy Brown, it’s no wonder that Coconuts is the top spot for a dinner on the water in Fort Lauderdale. Its prime location on the main beach strip makes it a popular spot with tourists, but its decadent, home-style cooking is what makes it a local favourite. Make sure you try the conch fritters, a favourite Caribbean dish, and follow it up with a Comfort Bowl made up of pasta shells and sriracha cheese sauce with your choice of lobster, chicken or sausage. The best part of Coconuts is not limited to its amazing oceanfront view or its spectacular menu — but rather the restaurant’s motto ‘Be Nice’ is unbeatable and much-appreciated.


 


Photos by Llima Orosa and  Vince Alongi CC BY

Fort Lauderdale has a lot to offer visitors and locals alike, this is just the beginning! Stay tuned for more information on what to see, do and most importantly where to sleep in Fort Lauderdale! In the meantime have a look at our other Florida-related content for some fun in the Sunshine State.

This article was adapted from a piece originally published on Room5 US.