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It seems like just yesterday we were playing Guess The Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, but fast-forward five years and we’re back—and we’re talking yet another renovation. The ship-shaped hotel formerly known as The Yankee Clipper has been doing its things in Fort Lauderdale for years and years, and after a stint as a Sheraton it has been turned over and turned into the B Ocean Resort.
Upgrades and improvements are scheduled to wrap up early next year, so all those spring breakers will be able to check things out during their ins and outs of sobriety. The Sun Sentinel has all the details, but it sounds like new colors and fun furnishings are just part of the plans.
The Pearl in Rosemary Beach, Florida is boutique perfection that opened in 2013. With 55 rooms and a gorgeous interior and exterior, we practically had to be dragged out of there. While we didn’t stay overnight, we toured the property and spent quality time on site this year and last, sipping cocktails at the bar, eating in the Cuban-themed onsite restaurant Havana’s Beach Bar & Grill and gazing at the ocean from the rooftop lounge.
We recently wrote about our affection for the resort community of Watercolor on the Northwest Florida coast – and that includes the array of cocktailing options on the property. This contributor has sampled some of Watercolor’s watering holes and here’s what I found:
The Gathering Spot: Offering sushi and cocktails with a view of the adults only pool at the Watercolor Inn & Resort, it’s an intimate spot to enjoy drinks and appetizers or a full dinner. In addition to sushi it serves a variety of options such as flatbreads, salads and shared plate options. For cocktails the strawberry drop martini, whiskey splash and sake are delicious options. Although not on the official libations menu, our bartender made a terrific spicy Bloody Mary on request and brought out some free pita chips and dips.
Hotel Rooftop Bars / St. Pete Beach Hotels / Boutique Hotels / Florida Hotels / Hotel Happy Hours / → All Tags
What could be more Summer Friday than talking hotel rooftop bars? One of Florida's newest happens to be the only rooftop space of its kind in the area. You'll find the sprawling 360° Rooftop at The Hotel Zamora, where you can enjoy unobstructed, panoramic views of downtown St. Petersburg and the Gulf of Mexico.
The place hasn’t even been open ten years, but it’s already time to get some work done. They were the first property in town to score an AAA Five Diamond rating, so we guess they don’t want to just rest on their laurels. All in all they will be spending $8 million to upgrade and improve the place, as they work with the architecture and design group over at Streetsense.
Miami Hotel Mambo / Miami Hotels / Florida Hotels / Golf Hotels / Trump Hotels / Hotel Reviews / → All Tags
There's more to Miami than people-watching and partying in South Beach.
A world away from the hectic scene of the beach, and just a few minutes from Miami International Airport sits The Trump National Doral Hotel, an oasis for golfing and relaxation. The actual resort has been open for over 60 years, attracting some of the best golfers and spa-goers, but in 2012 Trump purchased the property and brought the entire 800-acre resort firmly into the 21st Century.
Once we pulled into the private drive, we knew we were gearing up for something a lot more extravagant than just being surrounded by four PGA-level golf courses. The drive circled around an impressive fountain and ended at the equally impressive clubhouse for check-in. Once we were handed our key card and given a map to find our way to one of eight villas all named after some pretty renowned golfers; incidentally we were led to the Tiger Woods villa.
For some hotel properties, bidding fond adieu to the minibar is part of the new and improved way of operating efficiently. For others, they've gone different routes--like Kimpton and Andaz, who include certain minibar items in the room rate. But as for the cream of the crop, some luxury hotels are going overboard and stocking some of the coolest stuff and, subsequently, charging out the nose for them.
Take for instance a recent stay of ours at the Trump National Doral just outside Miami. After exploring the comfy Ivanka Trump-designed interiors accented with lots of signature gold trim, we opened up the minibar drawer and almost had to catch our jaw from smashing down into the immense selection of gourmet treats that rolled out of the cabinet.
As one of the only beachfront resorts in the Palm Beach area, The Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa is a popular spot for Northeast vacationers, especially during the winter months.
We toured the hotel during a busy Spring Break season and were amazed at how much was going on from the poolside activities for kids to the fun games set up on the beach, tropical drinks served at the bar, and relaxation treatments offered at the spa. To say nothing of the rooms upstairs, which start at one-bedroom suites and come with a separate living area, a mid-sized kitchen, a washer and dryer, and two balconies that offer partial ocean views and views of the intracoastal.
To put how busy the resort gets into perspective, we asked them for a "By the Numbers" sort of report on the daily happenings at the hotel, including the spa and the restaurants, with a few other bonus figures thrown in. And here's what they sent us. Hotel nerds, this will make your day.
Spring Break Hotels / Panama City Hotels / Florida Hotels / Holiday Inn Hotels / Holiday Inn Resorts / → All Tags
When you think of Spring Break, you normally think of non-stop partying, bikinis, tank tops, shots, beer, drinking games, red Solo cups, instantly regrettable hook-ups and...The Lion King?
That's what's on the "playlist" for the college Spring Break guests at the Holiday Inn Resort on Panama City Beach, as the hotel's owners have been blasting the "Circle of Life" song from the movie soundtrack every morning at 11am. Conveniently, that's also check-out time.
At first, we thought this hotel was doing it to deter Spring Breakers from staying at the hotel, or at the least, getting them to wake up so that they could check-out.
But the resort is actually very Spring Break-friendly and their unusual wake-up call is now a bona fide Spring Break ritual, almost a siren call to begin a new day of partying.
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Hotel Design / Hotel News / Florida Hotels / Key West Hotels / → All Tags
The furniture’s arriving, paint is setting and staff is training: preparations are well underway to herald the opening of the 245-room
boutique lifestyle property, The Gates, in Key West’s New Town.
Scheduled to open in April, the property is aiming to be the sophisticated design hotel that hasn’t been seen in these parts before. It will combine “refined luxury, modern design, organic touches, and Floridian flare to recreate the verve of Hemingway's ‘old school Key West.’ " What that means, in less marketing speak, is that you should expect lots of white and grey, whitewashed wood, blue sky- and ocean-colored accents, and some contrasting modern design touches just to make it interesting.
The Gates is designed by Andrea Henzlik of AHD in Atlanta and her goal was to make the property feel home-grown, chic, convivial and relaxed. To this end, the hotel will have a residential feel without the traditional front desk and has partnered with locals including photographer Jorge de la Torriente of De La Gallery, whose work will be found in the public spaces and rooms, the Key West First Legal Rum Distillery will be supplying their farm-to-bottle craft-distilled blends at Rum Row, the hotel’s bar, and Rodriguez Cigar Factory, the oldest cigar maker on the island, will be providing its premium cigars to be savored in the hotel’s Cigar Garden.
Just When You Thought Hotel Charges Couldn't Get Any More Ridiculous, Enter Orlando's 'Safe Charges'
Up this week is reader J Jacobson. From the horse’s mouth:
It seems like the tony beach towns found along the nearly 30-mile stretch of scenic Highway 30-A in Northwestern Florida’s Walton County are a sort of well-kept secret. Outside of Florida and select southern states like Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, this area doesn’t seem to be on the radar of many travelers, especially those from the East Coast.
But it should be.
Gleaming white sand beaches -- better than those in many Caribbean destinations -- and coastal dune lakes are a beautiful setting for the hip towns they occupy. In areas like Rosemary Beach, Watercolor and Seaside, funky beach bars, oceanfront eateries and cool boutiques dot the coastline. A bike path runs along 30-A, and for many visitors biking is the main mode of transportation.
Gorgeous beach houses are available for rent by the week, but if you prefer a hotel or your visit will be a short one, these are three favorites: