Tag Archives: accommodations

Hello Sunny Fort Lauderdale

Mention Fort Lauderdale and the first thing most people think of is spring break. But if you’re worried about being caught in a hazing ritual in a hotel elevator, fuggetaboutit. The spring break crowd has long graduated, gotten jobs and moved on.

Not that Fort Lauderdale doesn’t have a youthful vibe. Fort Lauderdale’s arts and entertainment area, known as the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District, has the impressive NSU Art Museum.

Frank Stella at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale
Frank Stella at NSU Art Museum photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Highlights of  the permanent collection’s 6000 pieces include the largest US collection of William Glacken’s work, avant-garde CoBrA artists from Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam and works by leading Latin American artists.  

Its distinctive modernist building, designed by the renowned architect Edward Larrabee Barnes is a short walk to the shops, restaurants and galleries of vibrant Las Olas Boulevard as well as to the picturesque Riverwalk waterfront promenade.

The district runs east-west along Las Olas Boulevard, from the beach to the heart of downtown, easily traversed aboard a cute trolley.

Homes along canals Fort Lauderdale
Homes along canals Fort Lauderdale photo credit: John Cameron

Another fun way to see Fort Lauderdale is by water taxi. Often called the Venice of America for its extensive network of canals, Fort Lauderdale has Venice beat with its 165 miles of waterways compared to Venice’s 26 miles of waterways and canals.

Fort Lauderdale has something for history buffs as well. But If you’re hoping to see forts here, like the 315-year-old Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, you’ll be disappointed.  At the end of the conflict the forts were abandoned and it took 50 years before the development of the city began. Fort Lauderdale is named for William Lauderdale who built the first fort during the Second Seminole War in Florida.

Bonnet House Museum & Gardens
The Bonnet House Museum & Gardens photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Instead, for a rare glimpse into old South Florida, visit the colorful Bonnet House, listed on the National Register of Historic places. Hugh Taylor Birch gave the house and property to his daughter Helen and her husband, Chicago artist Frederic Clay Bartlett as a wedding gift in 1919.

Hugh Taylor Birch came to Florida in 1893 and purchased ocean-front property for a dollar an acre. Wishing to keep the natural environment from development, he donated his estate to Fort Lauderdale with the proviso that it remain a public park.

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, is a 180-acre island of trees and greenery in the middle of urban Fort Lauderdale. The park features nature trails, canoeing, camping and picnicking areas, and features the Terramar Visitor Center, with exhibits about the ecosystem of the park. The on site outdoor tiki-type bar makes a fun happy hour stop after a warm afternoon of hiking.

For swimmers and fans of the sport, there’s The International Swimming Hall of Fame, that houses a large aquatic complex as well as a museum, theater, and research library.

Where to Stay

Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach

Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach
Lobby Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Overlooking Fort Lauderdale beach, Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach hotel features 240 modern guest rooms with on-site amenities, open to guests throughout the day and night. Guests of the hotel can sample daily happy hour creations such as Taco Tuesdays.

The “ beachy chic” Bistro at Sonesta Fort Lauderdale is the perfect blend of contemporary casual and a professional full-service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in a recently redesigned space with white-washed wood floors and cool blue, leather furnishings and walls.

 Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort

Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort
Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort photo credit: John Cameron

Just steps from the beach, the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort features spacious guest rooms with great ocean views from private balconies.

Guests have three great options for dining at the Hilton, the casual and contemporary S3, Ilios and Marche. At S3 try the burrata salad with faro, the chili-rubbed bavette steak perfectly grilled medium-rare and the grilled octopus sitting atop giganda beans and salsa verde. For dessert, try their panna cotta served with strawberries and blackberries.

Atlas Lobby Bar at The Conrad
Atlas Lobby Bar at The Conrad photo credit: John Cameron

Next door to the Hilton Beach Resort, The Conrad, the Hilton’s hip younger sister offers a cool, contemporary cocktail bar.  Try the Old & Smokey if you enjoy an Old Fashioned – the great presentation matches the drink. WOW. We also enjoyed the swordfish empanadas and the smoked salmon pizza.

South Florida Food Tours

Tailored for small groups of foodies, South Florida Food Tours offer a great introduction to local ethnic restaurants. The tour operates on a “dine-around “ system so that different course and drinks occur at different venues punctuated with lively commentary and fun facts on the scene.

Fort Lauderdale Travel Planner

Visitors have the option of flying direct to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport or into Miami International. From the Miami airport Fort Lauderdale is a 40 minute drive north on I-95 with Sunpass tolls – or catch the new Tri-Rail train in the Miami airport to Fort Lauderdale, about an hour’s journey for $5.

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.

Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort

505 N Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Fort Lauderdale

 

Going Green in Clearwater Beach: Sandpearl Resort

Just what makes the Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater Beach, Florida an activecitytravel.com favorite?

For starters, the Sandpearl Resort is the first luxury property on Clearwater Beach in 25 years. Newly opened in August 2007, the Sandpearl occupies 700 feet of white sand on Florida’s Gulf Coast next to a new mile – long beach boardwalk.

Part of the “Florida Green Lodging Program”, the Sandpearl is made of eco – friendly building materials and uses green cleaning products so guests breathe easier in the 253 rooms and suites set on eight floors.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design hotels adhere to strict guidelines regarding environmental protection and sustainability. To this end, the Sandpearl Resort incorporates an aggressive recycling program and energy conservation measures using chilled water and heat recovery exhaust systems for temperature control. To fully appreciate these measures, guests are offered back of the house, LEED tours.

Guest rooms have high ceilings, and most have balconies with gulf and pool views, full gulf views or bay views. The two and three bedroom suites have two balconies and full kitchens. These accommodations rates range from $200 to $400 per night. But it’s worth it to check the website often for deals.

Dining at the Sandpearl Resort:

The three restaurants include:

  1. Caretta on the Gulf (fine dining) has indoor and outdoor gulf view seating and specializes in fresh, local and innovative seafood sushi.
  2. Tate Island Grill (casual dining) sitting pool side on the beach serves burgers and veggie dishes in a laid back, beach bar atmosphere.
  3. The Marketplace (casual) has fair trade, organic coffee and healthy sandwiches and pastries

 Special Activities and Amenities at the Sandpearl Resort:

  • · Beach front, lagoon – style, ozone pool and five private cabanas
  • · 11, 000 square foot full service thalasso (ocean) therapy spa with ocean side massage using crushed pearl paste
  • · Beach campfire and storytelling evenings
  • · Guided evening beach walk/nature tours/ astronomy nights
  • Near The Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Good to Know About The Sandpearl Resort:

  • · Avid hikers (and cyclists) can reach Caladesi Island State Park via a two-hour beach hike from the Sandpearl Resort
  • · The $ 25.00 all you can eat sushi at Caretta’s is the best dining value in Clearwater Beach
  • · Children’s theme camps/childcare available
  • · Air conditioning cuts off automatically when balconies doors are left open

Getting to the Sandpearl Resort

The Sandpearl Resort is 21 miles west of Tampa International Airport and 12 miles north west of St. Petersburg – Clearwater International Airport.

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Contact the Sandpearl Resort

500 Mandalay Avenue, Clearwater Beach, Florida 33767

  • Local Phone: (727) 441-2425
  • Reservations: (877) 726-3111
  • https://www.sandpearl.com

For more Florida vacation ideas see:

WWW.VISITFLORIDA.com