Perfect Weekend: 48-Hours in Fort Lauderdale, AmericaBy Alicia Grimshaw
Hey, you. Fancy hitting up the sun-drenched East Coast of the United States? Course you do. And we know just the place. Sandy beaches, stella food, and a tropical climate makes Fort Lauderdale the ultimate holiday destination. Buy your travel insurance, grab your bikini and board a flight to the Sunshine State. Here’s what you need to know:
Fort Lauderdale: Where to Stay
The Lowdown: Pelican Grand Beach Resort is unlike any other hotel in the Fort Lauderdale area, because its main draw has to be that it’s on the beach. You don’t have to dodge beach front shops or busy roads to dip your feet in the sea. Think white wood panelling, traditional decor and, the best attraction – their very own in-house ice cream shop.
The hotel flaunts old school glamour, and transports you back to yesteryears with its outdoor terrace and timeless decor. Sitting pretty on the Atlantic Ocean, Pelican Grand Beach Resort has its very own stretch of beach, its own lazy river and pool. It’s a hotel that has everything under one roof, but, thankfully, doesn’t replicate the big resort feel. It’s homey, has bags of charm, but most of all; the staff are super helpful and cordial.
Accommodation: Rooms range from guest rooms to premier suites. The guest rooms have a choice of either a city or beach view, and your own balcony to lap up the Florida rays. The rooms are clean, beach inspired, and have ample space, complete with a king size bed with Egyptian cotton sheets, and the most cloud-like mattresses.
Where: 2000 North Ocen Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305
The Run-Down: Hot dang. Who knew Fort Lauderdale was home to a swanky Ritz-Carlton Hotel? Well now you do. Effortlessly chic and beautifully furnished, The Ritz-Carlton completes any trip to the Golden Coast. Whether you’re looking to explore the waterways of Fort Lauderdale, or simple kick back and relax – the hotel is home to a variety of restaurants, a spa and an mega outdoor pool.
Accommodation: The oceanfront view room has everything you could want while holidaying in Fort Lauderdale; premium bath essentials by Asprey, full balcony with direct Atlantic Ocean views, flat-screen LCD TV and iPod docking station, and the comfiest bed. If you really want to blow the budget, The Ritz-Carlton Suite can happily accommodate 3 adults, and has its own living room, master bedroom, balcony and marble furnished bathroom.
Where: 1 N Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
Fort Lauderdale: Where to Eat
Eat and Drink: If you’re on a foodie pilgrimage around Florida, Kuro is your mecca. Housed in the Seminole Hard Rock Cafe and Casino, this Japanese haunt operates at a different pace to the roulette tables and slot machines found outside its entrance. Relaxed, laid back, yet refined – the restaurant is the new kid on the block at Hard Rock Seminole. The menu pays homage to classic Japanese methods and ingredients, whilst also boasting modern and comtempoary bites thanks to Creative Culinary Director and Executive Chef, Alex Becker and Executive Sushi Chef, Shuji Hiyakawa who have sprinkled their magic over the menu.
Where: 1 Seminole Way, Florida 33026, United States
Eat and Drink: Hyde Beach Kitchen is found in the up-and-coming district of Hallandale Beach. This waterside pitstop looks fresh off the pages of a holiday brochure, with the clientele as clean looking as the nautical interiors. The menu boasts a fine selection of brunch classics. The menu has amazing choice – French toast, eggs and bacon, steak and eggs, and assorted fruit, along with heartier dishes of lobster pasta, fried chicken and waffles, and lobster mac n’ cheese. Come for the hangover burger alone – a stomach busting meat patty topped with eggs, bacon and cheese. Any place that has sea views, killer cocktails and great food to boot gets our vote.
Where: 111, S Surf Rd, Hallandale Beach, FL 33009
Eat and Drink: Ask any Fort Lauderdale native where to go for dinner, and we guarantee the first option will always be laid-back bistro, Coconuts. What this place lacks in modern furnishings, they make up for with their seafood dishes, and all round great grub. The food here will make you happy on the inside; portions are large and the food is top quality. The fish tacos are a local favourite and the local mahi sandwich is equally delicious. Meat fanatics, rejoice in the glory that is the jambalaya with chicken, shrimp and andouille sausage. It’s spicy, packs a punch, but overall it’s a bargain.
Where: 429 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Eat and Drink: Yogurt Ur Way is exactly what it says on the tin – it’s yogurt, your way. And we aren’t just talking about the plain variety. This shop is on par with Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, except everyone has won a golden ticket. There’s mad flavours such as cake mix, key lime pie and carrot cake. And don’t forget about the toppings. We’re talking about Reece’s pieces, brownies, sprinkles and anything else your heart desires. Opened back in 2011, there’s now four outlets across Florida, with the branch on Las Oslas Avenue in Fort Lauderdale the go to.
Where: 806 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Fort Lauderdale: What to Do
What to Expect: Sawgrass Mills makes Westfield’s look tame. This sprawling mall is the biggest outlet and value retail shopping destination in the United States. Don’t think you can come for a few hours, this is a whole day military operation. There’s over 350 shops – ranging from high-end designers to budget buys. Take our word for it, plan where you want to spend your cash as you can easily spend over an hour in the Nike store alone (discounted leggings makes us feel all warm inside). And no mall would be complete without a food court.
Seek restbite in California Pizza Kitchen for Italian eats and pasta dishes, before hitting up Dairy-Queen for frozen ice cream goodness. The Reece’s Peanut Butter Blizzard is off the chain. And the shopping ain’t too shabby either.
Where: 12801 W Sunrise Blvd, Sunrise, FL 33323-4020
What to Expect: The Everglades in Florida is one of the states national treasures. America’s Everglades once covered almost 11,000 square miles of South Florida, until there was a movement to drain the Everglades to make the land suitable for agriculture and development. Although the Everglades isn’t as large at what it was 50 years ago, the mosaic of ponds prairies and forested uplands are still considered to be just as extraordinary as the Grand Canyon and the Great Lakes. The Everglades is home to rare wildlife including large wading birds such as the roseate spoonbill, the wood stork, the great blue heron and a variety of egrets. The mix of salt and freshwater makes it the only place on earth where alligators and crocodiles exist side by side. The 30 minute airboat adventures are an excellent way to see wildlife in their natural habitat. The custom built airboat skims on the grassy water, and can travel up to 40mph. During the ride, the captains will educate you on the history of the Everglades, with a few antidotes thrown in for good measure.
Where: 1006 US-27, Weston, FL 33327, United States
What to Expect: Relive your school trip to PGL with a spot of kayaking on the open waters. The hour-long lessons can either be booked as a group excursion or a solo lesson. If you’re not confident on the water, grab a mate and book a tandem kayak. Rather stand than sit? Get yourself on a paddle board. Once you’ve mastered the art of standing, you’ll be moving down the canal in no time. Remember: pack suncream. The baking sun and reflection from the water is a sunburn disaster waiting to happen.
Where: John U. Lloyd Beach State Park, FL
Alicia was a guest of Pelican Grand Beach Resort with room prices starting at $159 night. For further information on Fort Lauderdale please visit here.
British Airways is launching a new service to Fort Lauderdale from July 6th 2017. It will be the airline’s third route from Gatwick to Florida, and its fourth service to the ‘sunshine state’.
Norwegian fly a year-round direct service of three flights per week between London Gatwick and Fort Lauderdale ideal for both leisure and business travelers. Economy adult fares start from £159 one way on a LowFare ticket.