Travel & Life

Things To Do In Fort Lauderdale

Discovering Sunny Fort Lauderdale through the Lovebug eye

After our super comfortable 16 hour journey in the Emirates Boeing 777, we landed at Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood International airport from Dubai. “Welcome to Sunny Fort Lauderdale”, were the first words we heard once we got out of the airport, said by Minor, our driver for the rest of our trip. That’s when one of our most memorable holidays began…

 

 At first glance…

BRIGHT, SUNNY and BLUE, are the first words that came to mind, as we began our ride to our hotel. Tan-skinned beach bodies laying in the sugary sands, drinking beer, playing ball, it was like a scene right out of a Hollywood film.

Right of the bat, you could tell that this underrated beach destination is not very popular among Indian vacationers, especially since Miami is only a 40 minute drive away, sadly it’s more popular for it’s airport than the place itself.

Purely from a tourists point of view of course, people there seemed to relaxed and happy! Content in their sunny lives, doing what they do.

 

Where to stay?

Irrespective of your tastes and preferences, Fort Lauderdale’s stretch of hotels has something for every kind of traveller. From boutique hotels to the international chains, modern to old fashioned ones, the options are plenty. Amongst them, here’s a list of our favourites:

SONESTA BEACH HOTEL

Centrally located, the modern hotel met all our expectations. Our all-white and blue rooms had ceiling to floor windows overlooking the beach. Waking up to that view every morning gives you a different kind of high.

W LUXURY HOTEL 

Resembling the sail of a sailboat, it’s glitzy yet cozy. Having a glam and upbeat vibe, the property was bursting with colour. Apart from providing impeccable service, breath-taking view and more, they organise a weekly line-up of parties, theme nights which include a Bollywood one too. Fun!

PC: W Fort Lauderdale Instagram


LAGO MAR BEACH RESORT AND CLUB

It’s our favourite beachfront getaway! With a unique feel, everything here is mint green, pastel and so visually easy on the eye. It made us happy! The boutique stay offers an exclusive beach with a private entry. Plus, their quaint restaurants, superlative amenities and the old-school American soda shop are undoubtedly its hallmarks.

MARGARETTAVILLE HOLLYWOOD BEACH RESORT

Literally a town in itself, it has multiple restaurants, activities, shows, performances and a theme running through. Inspired by country artist Jimmy Buffett’s track – Margarettaville, they have beautifully incorporated that state-of-mind. We could tell that the legendary space had paid incredible attention to detail as the merchandise, fit flops all over alongside quotes from the track on walls were all one-of-a-kind. Essentially, it stole our heart.

 

HILTON BEACH RESORT

If you are looking for a relaxed family-friendly place, then it’s apt. Located in the heart of Fort Lauderdale, the hotel is quite popular. Predominately, their main attraction is the incredible deck, ocean front view and personable service. In addition to that, the accommodation and pool are impressive too.  Overall, we liked its clean and classy vibe.

 SEMINOLE HARD ROCK HOTEL AND CASINO HOLLYWOOD 

We won 9 dollars here! wwoohhoo! Yes, their grand casino is a notable feature as it seemed like it came straight out of Las Vegas!   An immaculate property, its concerts, shows and other entertainment activities are also spectacular.

THE B OCEAN RESORT

Built in 1956, this iconic ship-shaped hotel was best known for its mermaid shows. Back in the day, Hollywood bigwigs such as Marilyn Monroe, Robert De Niro to name a few, stayed here. It also got featured in the movie – Analyse this. Recently, the premier property has been transformed and is now equipped with state-of-the-art technology, B signature elements etc.

What & Where to eat?

While Fort Lauderdale took things a notch up with its array of activities, it made us work up quite an appetite. In fact, there are umpteen restaurants that are a part of the fabric of it but these are our favourites. Just a heads up of our vegetarian friends, you might find fewer options. But hey, there’s always PIZZA! Seafood lovers, this is your heaven!

#1 The signature seafood at Naked crab, B ocean blew us away! Brain child of chef Ralph Pagano, this modern eatery at the beachside served us the best produce of fish in every bite.

#2 Steak 945 at W Hotel, is an esteemed chophouse serving dry aged beef from hand -picked ranches and is really hard to miss for a fine dining experience.

#3 Using fresh ingredients, the delightful food at Hilton is a go-to spot for us. Their Menu boasts quite a few options to choose from and the carrot cake here, is a must-try!!

#4 JWB Prime steak and seafood at Margarettaville provided exceptional service. Besides the chef recommending specialties, their contemporary menu and handcrafted margarita’s are outstanding!

 #5 Nothing beats the barbeque dinner at the Jungle queen

 #6 The food at beautifully decorated Japanese eatery – Kuro in Seminole Hard Rock is best we’ve ever eaten. Also, their chef’s table, sushi bar along with a lounge are so impressive!

#7 The Capital Grille at Galleria Mall is great if you’re looking for something slightly more upscale, although the quality of food in terms of taste and presentation was top-notch. Desserts were to die for!

My love affair with cheese 🧀 ❤️ #shereenlovebug #loveandotherbugs #cheese #food

A post shared by Shereen Sikka Bharwani (@shereenlovebug) on

 

Where to shop?

 #1 Director of Tourism – Victoria Ramani passionately took us through Sawgrass Mills. A shopper’s paradise, it’s the world’s largest discount and entertainment mall that has everything from activewear to high fashion luxury labels, cinema’s and never seen deals too. What’s interesting to know is it takes 5 days to explore the space. Whoa!

 

Saw Grass Mills Mall

 #2 Galleria Mall: Anchored by 3 major department stores namely Macy’s, Neiman Marcus and Dillard’s you can shop to your heart content here. Not to forget our all time favourites like H&M, Victoria’s Secret and many more.

#3 Las Olas street aka the “style mile”. We love a place with some character. With its charming boutiques, bars and cafes, this boulevard is a go-to for all things – fashion, food and art. A nice place to spend the evening walking around, or sipping on cocktails.

PS- The National Geographic photo gallery there was the highlight for us.

Las Olas Street

Mercedes River

Other activities…

#1 The Red Door Spa by Elizabeth Arden pampered us to perfection. A quintessential beauty and health hotspot, its beyond perfect for spa savvy lovers to relax and rejuvenate.

#2 If you’re more of an adventure sport or outdoor activity kind of traveler, FLL does not let you down.  Rent a cycle or a segue and explore this port in your own way.

#3 Lauderdale is said to have one of the most beautiful coral reefs, making it extremely popular for snorkeling, scuba diving and free diving. If you prefer staying over the water, try your hand at some paddle boarding, surfing or even parasailing 

#4 For the luxury traveler, charter a yacht for the day and cruise along the inter-coastal waterways. You might even spot a few celebrity homes along the way!

#5 Filled with art studio’s, galleries, fairs etc, Fort Lauderdale is exemplary for those who love art . For dynamic exhibitions the NSU Art Museums is worth taking a look at.

#6 At the Everglades National Park, take a tour and go alligator watching or join a park ranger to walk through different paths of the biggest wetland areas.

Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park

#7 Being the “Venice of America”, you can take the 90 minutes intercostal tour around canals called the Jungle Queen. While sailing through Millionaire’s Row – home to millionaires, professionals and Hollywood celebrities alike, it’s exciting to see their extravagant mansions, yachts etc.

Jungle Queen

All in all, it’s not so often that you find a place that has just the right mix of people, places and things to do. A week in Fort Lauderdale is perfect to leave you feeling relaxed, refreshed and even a little sun kissed.  In our case, it also left us with fond memories and a whole lot of instagram pictures <3

 

Also, here’s a big shoutout to Emanuel and Natasha and Dhiram for being amazing company.   This wouldn’t have been as much fun without you guys. Until next time!