Tag Archives: AAA Four Diamond

Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel

Overlooking Fort Lauderdale beach, Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel features 240 modern guest rooms, many with panoramic ocean-front views. Guests of the hotel can savor daily treats from the kitchen, such as spicy peel and eat shrimp. Pair with a happy hour Coco Loco cocktail and you’re on island time.

Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Lobby
Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Lobby

The Sonesta Lobby has been refreshed, the groovy waves with a colored light show have been upgraded to simple wooden panels and contemporary lighting.

Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach Pool

Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach is an AAA Four Diamond-rated hotel providing accommodations for all group sizes. Business travellers looking for breathtaking views can book their event in the Penthouse level, with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the beautiful beaches of Fort Lauderdale on the Atlantic Ocean.

Steelpan Restaurant at the Sonesta

While there are no shortage of Jamaican restaurants in other destinations, Carribean fare hasn’t made the same impact in South Florida. Sonesta has brought in Jamaican-born chef, Kevin Baker to bring a taste of the Caribbean to South Florida in the new on-site restaurant Steelpan.

Steelpan’s vision is to make sure everyone gets to experience the culture of the Caribbean infused in American cuisine, says Executive Sous Chef Kevin Baker.

Coco Loco at Steelpan, Sonesta Beach Hotel

Rum is the spirit of choice in the Caribbean and Steelpan’s Coco Loco is the perfect cocktail, a tasty blend of coconut cream, Mount Gay rum and orange juice, served in a giant blue cocktail glass, complete with a paper parasol.

Burrata Salad at Steelpan, Sonesta Beach Hotel

Starters like chicken wings get the traditional jerk spice treatment accompanied by a papaya and jicama slaw. A burrata salad starts with a large ice cream scoop of burrata topped with a pomegranate glaze and placed on a bed of heirloom tomatoes.

Ceviche at Steelpan, Sonesta Beach Hotel

Shrimp and fish ceviche is served in a coconut shell and yes, you can even eat the fresh coconut meat, possibly as a palate cleanser for the next course, a perfectly baked whole snapper served on a banana leaf with mixed potatoes and pickled vegetables on the side.

Also open for breakfast from 6:30am and lunch from 11:30am, Steelpan has a cool indoor/outdoor feature – you can sit outdoors at the bar near the pool or inside at hi-top tables.

Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach  

999 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Fort Lauderdale
On the corner of Sunrise Blvd and A1A,  across from the tranquil Hugh Taylor State Park.

Diplomat Beach Resort & Spa Hollywood

The Diplomat Beach Resort Hollywood is at the top of upscale resort destinations in South Florida. Situated on the beach between the Atlantic and the Intracoastal waterway in Hollywood, the Diplomat is a member of the Curio Collection, a select group of luxury hotels under the Hilton imprimatur.

By the Pool at The Diplomat Beach Resort & Spa
By the Pool at The Diplomat Beach Resort & Spa photo credit: John Cameron

The AAA Four Diamond  Diplomat features 8 different culinary destinations and 209,000 square feet for meetings and events, the largest hotel convention space in South Florida. The Diplomat was voted one of the top 10 resorts in Florida by Condé Nast Reader’s Choice, 2019.

Diplomat Fitness Center
Diplomat Fitness Center

The compact, fully equipped two level fitness center is adjacent to the spa which features floor to ceiling windows that overlook the Atlantic Ocean.  Try a Diplomat Spa + Wellness signature massage –  any massage from the menu at the Diplomat Spa is available for couples.

Diplomat Beach Resort & Spa Governor Suite
Diplomat Beach Resort & Spa Governor Suite

All 1000 rooms have a warm, contemporary palette with a nod to surfer culture – a pleasing blend of upscale with casual. Guests have a choice between rooms facing east with beautiful views of the sunrise over the Atlantic or facing west with a view of sunsets over the Intracoastal waterway. The corner suites have 180 degree views of both.

Diplomat Beach Resort pools
Diplomat Beach Resort pools photo credit: John Cameron

If the ocean is too rough or too cold, swim the Diplomat’s two beautiful pools, a shallow rectangular infinity pool with a unique glass-bottom window and a large, elongated kidney-shaped pool at beach level.

Where to Eat

Monkitail Sushi Bar at The Diplomat
Monkitail Sushi Bar photo credit: John Cameron

Whether you’re staying at the Diplomat or just come for a meal, you have great options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Restaurants Point Royal from celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian and Monkitail from Chef & Restaurateur Michael Schulson complement the luxury steakhouse Diplomat Prime and beachfront patio cafe Playa.

There is also Counterpoint, an all day grab and go, featuring specialty coffees, sandwiches and pastries, open seven days a week, Candy & Cones for your sweet tooth and a secret, intimate karaoke bar, Nokku, where you can drink and sing your heart out until 2am.

Point Royal at The Diplomat Beach Resort
Point Royal at The Diplomat Beach Resort photo credit: John Cameron

Point Royal has an appetizing array of breakfast buffet choices and a custom omelet chef. Choose your ingredients and the chef will magically create one of the best omelets you have ever tasted. Tip: if you’re not that hungry, ask for a one or two egg omelet. Point Royal is also open for lunch and dinner.

Michael Schulson & Chef Taek Lee
Michael Schulson & Chef Taek Lee at Monkitail photo credit: The Diploma

Michael Schulson’s Monkitail has a beautiful Japanese themed sushi bar, main dining room and private speak-easy karaoke, all conceived by design team Rohe Creative.

Start your meal with a cocktail – the Monkitail – a great variation on a Manhattan with extra visual pizzaz – our waiter placed cinnamon and cloves on a barrel stave, torched it until it smoked, then captured the smoke in an overturned glass. Once the glass was filled with smoke, our waiter filled it with the cocktail. The smokiness remains for the entire drink and takes the ordinary Manhattan to another level. 

As it was our first visit, we chose the chef’s tasting menu – a perfect introduction to Monkitail’s take on the classic Izakaya.  Some favorites: the big eye tuna special roll, the lobster tail, neatly split in two, the Duck Scrapple Bao Bun – duck confit with maple teriyaki syrup wrapped in a home-made steamed bun covered in black sesame seeds. Ice cream sushi was the perfect finish to our meal.

When you want to celebrate a special  occasion head to Diplomat Prime, featuring both steak and seafood. Stone crabs, found only on Florida’s gulf coast, make a great appetizer. Two large claws, perfectly cracked, arrive at the table. Eating them is 100 percent satisfaction, zero effort. Tip: Florida stone crabs are only in season from October to May.

Diplomat Prime at The Diplomat Beach Resort
Diplomat Prime at The Diplomat Beach Resort photo credit: The Diplomat

We enjoyed a crisp wedge salad followed by the walnut crusted halibut and a buttery melt-in-your mouth salmon.  And since this is one of the best Miami steakhouses, we couldn’t leave without tasting the delicious Japanese certified A5 Kobe NY Strip. Attentive service and a great sommelier with spot on wine pairings made this dinner a memorable one.