Hyper modernist design, elevated dining and breathtaking suites make a staycation at the W Fort Lauderdale something special. This high-rise beach front hotel has undergone a $60 million renovation and every bit of it shows, from the soaring 2-story Living Room lobby to the new Away Spa to the glass bottom – and glass sided – pool at WET® Bar & Grill, high-end design and unexpected touches abound.
The hotel rooms and amenity uncover the perfect romantic escape. The wave patterned rug and dark to light blue ombre curtains in the suites lead to welcoming balconies with couches, lounge chairs and a table set for two.
As a glass wall allows for a seamless view of the Atlantic Ocean, endless skies and the line of cruise ships glide in and out of Port Everglades, one of the largest ports in Florida. The hotel reflects the cruise ship aesthetic with slanted bow, sailboat-shaped buildings, raised pool decks, and nautical touches that include hanging rope sculptures and glass lanterns.
Feel and smell amazing! Amenities in the glass walled bath is filled Bliss products, lemon scented and refreshing, but soon to be replaced by the W brands Away line. A box of snacks, beach kit, full bar, Nepresso machine (!) and other goodies complete the welcoming vibe.
Speaking of luxury, there are suites to stay in and to buy that are full two-bedroom apartments with a full kitchen and large balconies. One of the suites, called the Wow Suite, has been the site of some reality TV show filming. And the price? Well if you have to ask it’s…not cheap. A girl can dream, can’t she?
Food experience at its best!
Sauntering into the main floor lobby, the tropical Mexican aura of Stephen Starr’s El Vez restaurant lures with the promise of either indoor or outdoor dining, booths, a lively bar, and a decorative wall of Mexican beer cans. For guacamole lovers the menu is a delight with options of flavors, for example the Verde Guacamole made with leafy herbs and Meyer Lemons, is a tangy-rich twist on the jalapeno/tomato/onion standard—they have that too.
El Vez Fort Lauderdale is a festive dining space with a spacious patio with ocean view where mahi mahi tacos, burritos, ceviches, saladas, and a nacho pizza hybrid —layered with beans, cheese, olives, and peppers— pay tribute to the classic Mexican fare offered to celebrate the fresh seafood of this South Florida region. The restaurant serves breakfast (huevos rancheros and frothy cappuccino are a must-try), lunch and dinner, featuring an extensive menu with emphasis on baja-style cooking.
Other restaurants at the hotel are the classic steakhouse at beachside Steak 954 that serves dry-aged meats with delectable sides and the WET Bar & Grill which offers a variety of fresh salads, mouth-watering burgers and other casual fare.
From the Outstanding Restaurateur of the year in the 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards winner, Stephen Starr, Steak 954 looks like wallpaper that turns out to be a large tropical mural of leaves and flowers by French artist Cyprien Chabert who drew the whole work with a Sharpie marker. Past that beautiful touch is a 15-foot-long aquarium swirling with 175 jellyfish. These bizarre beauties are fed-brine shrimp and cared for by local aquarium staff. The food is exceptional with dry-aged meats and fresh caught seafood. A one-of-a-kind restaurant experience that wows guests with its tropical feel, selection of fine wines and cocktails, and exotic food.
Debuted in January 2019, W Fort Lauderdale’s brand-new AWAY Spa is the first AWAY spa location, with a full beauty menu in addition to a lineup of massages and facials. As a big wedding and special event destination, the Spa has it covered. AWAY Spa is injected with amenities and treatments to detox, retox, and repeat.
After an Elixir refreshment of secret fruit juices (each spa experience begins with a complimentary Bright Elixir), a Go Deep Massage is the most rewarding treat.
The Wet East deck, where you literally walk up into the pool from the 4th floor after watching swimmers from above, is the perfect oasis to settle into lush daybeds and sip on frozen hand crafted drinks. The Wet East can get pretty lively with a DJ and lots of people soaking up the sun and the view. For a quieter swim there’s the Wet West in the back of the hotels second tower with private cabanas, a Jacuzzi and gorgeous views of the intracoastal’s boats and homes.
One of the main attractions while at W Fort Lauderdale is kayaking the intracoastal. To do this tour, guests can use the hotel’s cruiser bikes to pedal a few scenic blocks up A1A to Blue Moon Adventures. The calm waters are an easy cruise past mega yachts, mega mansions, mangroves, birds and bridges. The tour explores the area’s most exciting attributes, focusing on history, architecture and natural developments.
On the way back from the tour, lunch at Coconuts —a nearby restaurant— proved to be a magnificent experience. The restaurant has expansive, uninterrupted views of Fort Lauderdale’s intercostal waterways and it is open 7 days a week and providing an upscale dining experience, including brunch on Sundays. Coconuts is a classic-on-the-dock eatery with vintage signs and an outstanding seafood menu. The Scoobie starters – little crab claws in a warm garlic herb broth are very delicious. The grilled swordfish steak with white bean salsa and sautéed spinach is one of the best I’ve ever had.
Cinema Paradiso, Escapology (one of the hardest escape rooms in Florida), The Classic Gateway Theatre, jet ski, segway, parasailing, and scuba diving are among other nearby attractions to enhance your stay at W Fort Lauderdale.
The W brand is proving to be insanely popular, with a hotel opening somewhere around the globe every 16 hours. It’s a world away at the W Fort Lauderdale, and summer is as good a time as any. Maybe better!
If you visit, W Fort Lauderdale is on 401 N Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, 33304. The hotel offers seasonal deals that can be found here.
W Fort Lauderdale: Oceanfront Luxury With An Edge