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Where to Stay in Fort Lauderdale: Best Areas & Hotels

Once considered a hot spot for spring break college students, Fort Lauderdale has gone through a major transformation. Often called the Venice of the United States, the extensive canal system for boating combines beautifully with white sandy beaches. In reality, nothing is too far from the waterfront. Hotels are centered around The Strip, a section of A1A that runs from Las Olas Boulevard north to Sunrise Boulevard along the Atlantic, and this is the best area to stay. Also known as Central Beach, a pedestrian walkway here is filled with joggers and walkers, a great spot for people watching from one of the many cafés dotting the area. Las Olas, running east/west, is a popular destination for specialty shopping, galleries, restaurants, and entertainment. More than 300 miles of waterways, sunny skies, and the sparkling seas draw visitors from around the world to this year-round destination.

Where to Stay for Luxury

Fort Lauderdale skyline and beach
Fort Lauderdale skyline and beach
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The Ritz-Carlton is always synonymous with glitz and glamour, and its beachfront location in Fort Lauderdale is no exception. The upper floor rooms offer spectacular views in all directions, and elegant accommodations are appointed in traditional style. Find rejuvenation in the spa's sea-inspired treatments, including a large wooden steam sauna. On-site dining features a modern menu with an accent on local seafood. Las Olas boutiques are less than a mile away, and the hotel's carefully curated activities will delight guests of all ages.

Old Florida style and grandeur greets guests at the Pelican Grand Beach Resort. The 500-foot private beach comes complete with complimentary umbrellas and chairs. For additional family fun, the city's only lazy river is a standout. Enjoy a massage in the beach spa cabana before moving to a poolside lunch. With two thirds of the rooms being oceanfront suites and offering phenomenal views of the water, this will be a vacation to remember.

The award-winning Lago Mar Beach Resort & Club is a secluded property covering 10 acres in the exclusive area of Harbor Beach. Known for its deeply rooted hospitality, the hotel features understated décor that combines the influence of the Mediterranean with a bit of Key Largo. On-site dining options are many, from casual to more formal. Resort amenities include a private beach, two swimming pools, tennis courts, a putting green, full-service spa, and fitness center.

Where to Stay for the Best Value

Fort Lauderdale beach
Fort Lauderdale beach
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Clean, fresh, and conveniently located, snooze is considered a hidden gem for value, with a view of the ocean. Many of the rooms offer a kitchenette, and the open-air roof deck lounge is a favorite spot with guests for reading or relaxation away from the surf. A nice perk are the towel, sunscreen, umbrella, and water toys provided for no extra charge.

The general consensus for a stay at the centrally located Premiere Hotel is a lot of "bang for your buck." Free parking, umbrellas, beach chairs, and Wi-Fi make this three-story, smaller property a good mid-range choice. Lush greenery and umbrellas decorate the pool area. Intimate interior public space is warmed by wooden accents and shelves lined with books. Rooms are simply decorated in white. Steps from the beach, it is close to popular Fort Lauderdale attractions and seven miles from the airport.

A beachy vibe and state-of-the-art amenities are a signature of The Aqua Hotel. Located in the unique North Beach Village collection of mid-century modern architecture, this family-friendly spot has two pools and easy beach access two minutes away. Palm trees provide shade in the inviting gardens, where you can have a picnic or barbecue. Port Everglades access makes it ideal for cruise passengers.

A short stroll to the white, sandy beaches at the southern end of Fort Lauderdale Beach is the Bahia Mar Doubletree. Bright and sunny interior accents reflect the Florida weather. Stroll along a marina of million-dollar yachts parked on the Intracoastal. For a change of pace, take a water taxi to shopping and restaurants on Los Olas Boulevard.

Where to Stay on a Budget

Sandy beach in Fort Lauderdale
Sandy beach in Fort Lauderdale
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Travel a few miles north on Ocean Avenue and it's possible to find a budget property on the beach with a pool. Ocean Manor Beach Resort Hotel has many loyal guests returning year after year. Efficiency rooms have full-sized kitchens. Watersports and cabana rentals are available. Their Bamboo Tiki Hut has a relaxed menu and offers live entertainment on the weekends. After yoga on the beach, indulge in a massage to the sound of the ocean in a beachside thatched roof pavilion. Just keep in mind you'll pay for all the extras.

The Galt Villas Inn is a vintage motel property, set back across the boulevard from the beach, with a Tommy Bahamas feel. Complimentary internet along with a fridge and microwave are in all the rooms. Fort Lauderdale Beach is four blocks away, and long-term guests will appreciate the on-site coin-operated laundry. A small pool and decorative murals brighten the outdoor space.

The reliable quality of La Quinta, approximately two miles from the beach, makes it a good budget selection. Comfortable rooms are equipped with the usual amenities, and a complimentary breakfast is provided. Las Olas and Galleria areas are a short drive, and guests can also relax by the on-site pool.

Situated two miles from the airport, The Comfort Inn is another option in this category. Rooms are brightly decorated, and guests will appreciate the pool and hot breakfast.

Photo courtesy of The Bridge at Cordova

Where to Stay for Romance

Sun chairs set up on the beach
Sun chairs set up on the beach
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For a romantic setting, especially as the sun goes down and the lights start to sparkle on the water, look no further than The Pillars Hotel. Located in an elegant garden setting on the Intracoastal, this 18-room property is part of the independently minded Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Gourmet dining takes advantage of nature's bounty and is only available to hotel guests and members of a private club. You'll find comfortable luxury in a boutique hotel setting just a short walk to the oceanfront.

An Instagram-worthy rooftop pool and the luxury Bliss spa make The W Fort Lauderdale a favorite with couples. This modern beachfront resort offers boot camp and yoga on the beach to start your day and dog-friendly accommodations for those traveling with their four-legged friends.

The seventeen-story Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six is a contemporary building on the Intracoastal. Well-equipped guest rooms offer amazing views of the surrounding area. Arrive by boat and book a spot at the 142-slip marina. Golfing couples will enjoy the guest privileges at nearby Grande Oaks Golf Club and can return for treatments at the hotel's full-service spa.

Active couples will find a romantic spot poolside at the lemon yellow Atlantic Hotel and Spa. The raised facility looks directly out over the ocean and is steps away from the beach. Private balconies are in all the rooms. Kitchenettes, complete with a two-burner stove and microwave, allow for a cost cutting meal in the room. The spa offers natural treatments and a romance package; the fitness center is open 24hrs.

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