Driving into the beach area of Fort Lauderdale always brings back memories. It calls to mind my college years when I got to take off for spring break with a group of friends. The sunny beaches and warm water were only part of the attraction back in those crazier days. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Fort Lauderdale quite a few times and I’ve had the chance to experience the more laid-back seasons of the year, to enjoy taking a water taxi through the Intracoastal Canal, to shop, take in a theatre production and tour historic sites. So, these days, I think of Fort Lauderdale as more of a peaceful place on a beautiful stretch of beach rather than a wild party town.
In mid-June, as I left the freeway and headed into the beach area, I was full of anticipation about the place where I would stay. I had read about and seen photos of the Pelican Grand Beach Resort, which is a short ways north of the town’s famous city beach. Even though I was expecting a lot, I was still very impressed with the property.
Part of the Noble House Hotel and Resort portfolio, the hotel’s design, which is elegant but understated, reminded me of older, classic beach hotels or even a large beach house. Painted yellow and white, with cupolas and balconies projecting from the sides, the 156-room boutique property stood out in pretty contrast to the clear blue sky. After being welcomed by the parking attendant (valet service is available and pretty much necessary), I entered a lovely lobby, which again gave the feeling of an older, elegant hotel. There are several seating areas that encourage interaction among guests as well as games and tables for playing them.
Eager to see the beach, I stepped out onto a long, sweeping porch that is used for outside dining as well as enjoying the view from rocking chairs. The property occupies a nice stretch of beach and the water was turquoise with gentle waves rolling in, a pleasant breeze off the water keeping things quite comfortable despite the hot June day.
Rooms With Awesome Views
My accommodations were wonderful. I had a large one-bedroom suite overlooking the ocean, with a living room, private balcony and all the amenities I could ask for. Recently reimagined, the guestrooms and suites all have new carpeting, paint and wall coverings, new linens, upholstery and artwork that provides a beach-chic look. With the ocean such a short distance from the hotel, it was easy to get some work done and then go out and enjoy the beach chairs and umbrella that come with the room.
During a tour of the property with Catherine Cumings, director of sales and marketing for the property, I found that nearly all of the meeting spaces also have excellent views. The newly-renovated Atlantic Ballroom features large French doors that open onto the Atlantic Terrace, which has solid glass railings so that there are clear views of the ocean even when seated inside. Cumings said it is popular for receptions and can hold 70 guests. However, this elegant room, with coffered ceilings and crystal chandeliers, can also be darkened for presentations, with built-in speakers and screens. Just outside the Atlantic Ballroom, the Atlantic Garden provides a tropical beachfront setting for special ceremonies.
Additionally, there is the Ocean ballroom, which offers a slightly different angled view of the ocean and also provides views of downtown Fort Lauderdale. Cumings explained that this space, which has its own large, curving terrace, can accommodate 100 for receptions, and offers easy access to the new restrooms and breakout areas that have recently been added to the hotel. An executive boardroom, a large hospitality suite and the Everglades Room, which features a cupola-shaped covered terrace, are other options for meetings and events; the Verandah and pool deck can also be reserved.
Dining In Style
On one side of the lobby, the O2K Lounge offers signature cocktails and light fare, while Ocean 2000, on the opposite side of the lobby, is an elegant fine dining restaurant with seating indoors, on the porch and right on the beach. I was treated to a fabulous beachside dinner, enjoying several courses of gourmet food and excellent service while the waves lapped against the shore nearby.
For those who want to grab and go, there is a small store, which offers coffee and soft drinks, baked goods, souvenirs and beach necessities. So, while the hotel is within walking or short driving distance to other venues in Fort Lauderdale, those who don’t want to leave the property can find anything they need.
Pamper, Rest and Relax
Among the many things I loved about this pretty property was the new PURE Spa, which features organic skin care products and offers a full range of services. I received one of their latest treatments, a Hydra-Facial. Located on the 11th floor, the Swedish-style spa provides sweeping views of the coastline and has a room for couples massages as well as individual treatment rooms.
While I am a big fan of beaches, I also enjoy some time at the pool and this property provides a nice mid-sized outdoor pool and adjacent lazy river, both offering nice views of the ocean as well as recreational fun.
Based on my experience, the Pelican Grand Beach Resort is an excellent place for small training sessions, incentive trips, corporate and association retreats, award ceremonies, fund raising events and various other celebrations. Just seven miles from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport and a short distance from city’s attractions, it feels like a world apart from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
By Marcia Bradford