Casually Chic Fort Lauderdale

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Those beaches, by the way, have earned the National Blue Wave Certification, meaning they are among the cleanest, safest and most user-friendly in the country. As Grossman points out, “That means we care about the beach, it means we care about the people who go to the beach, we care about the environment.” In other words, a perfect complement to the Westin philosophy.

The hotel is offering a New Beginnings package with accommodations, valet parking, breakfast buffet for two at Shula’s on the Beach, beach chair rentals for two, and beach umbrella. Rates for the package, available through Dec. 31, are $199 per night dbl.

The Atlantic Hotel, meanwhile, was one of the first high-end properties to settle oceanfront and still has one of the area’s nicest spas, the Spa Atlantic. This member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts built to resemble a stately Italian palazzo, comprises 124 guestrooms, including 54 suites ranging in size from 581 to 3,800 sq. ft. Of course, for the ultimate in luxury there are the hotel’s Penthouse Collection suites with two and three bedrooms and wraparound terraces, but tell clients who don’t want to delve too deep into their pockets that all rooms here have terraces offering ocean or Intracoastal views and isn’t that what a vacation to Fort Lauderdale is all about? Well that, and a pampering spa—a 10,000-sq.-ft. spa, no less, with two couples suites, relaxation rooms, and dedicated men’s and women’s areas. Here, guests can choose from an array of “journeys” to destinations that include Arabia, India, the Mediterranean and the Orient. The hotel’s Spa Package, good through Dec. 31, offers 20 percent off all spa treatments and a $100 spa credit for each night. Rates start at $259 per night for an oceanfront deluxe guestroom; package code is PKSPA.

“A luxury traveler here,” says Grossman, “wants to take part in some of the spa and relaxation programs. They are very luxurious.” Also, tell guests Fort Lauderdale will continue with its highly successful Spa Chic promotion in fall 2010, a month-long promotion offering spa treatments for $99.

The Ritz-Carlton brand has also brought much cachet to this gleaming destination, offering one of the most beautiful resorts on the boulevard and one which harks back to the 1940s golden age era of yachting and luxury travel. It has it all—from the fabulous dining and gorgeous lobby bar, to guestrooms that will have your clients swooning, not to mention a 99 percent organic spa, a beach concierge, a skywalk from the property to the beach, as well as a 5,000-bottle wine cellar and wine room. They are also planning to implement the Ritz-Carlton’s renowned Club Level amenity. For now, the Peace of Mind package, running through Dec. 31, starts at $289 with complimentary nights based upon length of stay: 3-night (pay for two), 5-night (pay for three) and 7-night (pay for four). It includes deluxe overnight accommodations, American breakfast for two in the Cero Restaurant, Internet access, local calls and overnight valet parking.

Take note, agents: this sun-drenched beachfront boulevard is also home to such notable properties as the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort and coming on board soon is the Trump Fort Lauderdale with 298 luxury rooms and suites.

“Fort Lauderdale is one of the few places where you can stay at a Ritz-Carlton on the ocean and feel like you’re getting a good deal,” says Grossman, “and I think that’s what’s become so important and so impressive about our destination. We have over 33,000 hotel rooms and you can choose from just the absolute top of the line, or stay in a 1-bedroom B&B unit and all of the amenities of Greater Fort Lauderdale are available to you.”

go to town Those amenities Grossman refers to include everything from the aforementioned spa services, to a bevy of high-end dining establishments—the destination, in fact, has developed a healthy dining reputation in the past five years—as well as shopping opportunities. Although, Grossman is quick to point out, “What’s interesting about the way Fort Lauderdale grew and developed was that the first thing that changed was the hotel landscape and I think that we are now beginning to be explored by high-end retail. I’m not saying Coach and Louis Vuitton are opening up in Fort Lauderdale next year, but I will tell you the demand for that kind of shopping—[with the type of clientele these hotels are attracting]—is going to bring those businesses to the Fort Lauderdale Beach area. The ultra-high end is going to be the next partner in the major, major transformation of Greater Fort Lauderdale.”