48-Hour Escape to the W Fort Lauderdale
By Kimberly Wilson
When you travel quite a bit, finding a great hotel is important, as it becomes your “home away from home.” Needless to say, I’m picky about my options when I have to travel to different destinations, whether domestic or abroad. Hotels have ratings for a reason, and not all of them live up to the rating that may have been provided to them. When I had the opportunity to stay at the W Fort Lauderdale, I jumped at the opportunity, because I’d had a magnificent stay at the W Hollywood (in Los Angeles) just months before, and I was convinced this would be one as well.
Are all hotel chains the same? No. Are all cities the same? No. Is Fort Lauderdale the same as Miami? No. To be honest, I’d never quite ventured the 30 minutes (or so, depending on traffic) outside of South Beach to Fort Lauderdale, so this was truly going to be an experience of firsts. But indeed, I was still excited about my upcoming stay, as the recommendation was provided by a good friend.
As a proud luxury hotel lover (or hotel snob as I like to call it), the W Fort Lauderdale lived up to all of my expectations from the moment I walked through the door. The room in itself was great – a modern, contemporary design and well appointed space (which is rare, because I typically think the W hotel chain has smaller rooms then most other hotel brands). For me, it’s always the little things that make a difference. In this case, the note from the hotel manager, the assortment of cheeses, the complimentary bottle of water provided every day, Bliss amenities, and spotlessly clean in all areas of the property.
If you’re traveling with a group, it’s important to note that the shower in the bathroom does not allow for privacy. While this was no issue for me, as I was traveling alone, it’s important to realize if you don’t want all of your “business” out there when traveling with a group of friends, or during a business trip with a shared roommate.
After I settled in my first night, I only had one plan for the following day: working on my tan. Centrally located right across the street from the beach, you have the option of a beach day, or simply lounging by the pool. Insider tip: get to the pool early. You don’t want to end up like me: arriving to the pool by noon, disappointed about having nowhere to sit, because the pool was completely packed.
Here’s the good news about the hotel being so centrally located. You have the option to walk most places – from the beach, to restaurants/shops to the marina. Now, on to the bad news. The traffic is completely terrible should you decide to drive. This may have just been my experience, since I traveled at the peak of “spring break” in March, but it was a headache to deal with.
What really makes this hotel is the quality and friendliness of the staff. From the reception, to the ladies who serviced my room, to the concierge and pool attendants (though they were unable to find a seat for me) every request is met with an eager to please professional response. You really feel like a welcomed guest from the moment you check in, which I can appreciate as a person who’s had my fare share of negative encounters with rude staff.
Let’s face it, is Fort Lauderdale the same as Miami. No, But every now and then you need a break from the hustle and bustle of Ocean Ave and South Beach. If there is anything I can take away from my experience at the W Fort Lauderdale is that I would gladly come back and visit.
Kimberly is a NYC-based editor, writer and social media strategist. She also moonlights as the editor of Travel Noire.