The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale
Travel Blogs from Fort Lauderdale
Arriving at 6.00am the plan was to grab a quick hire car and head to Florida Keys but after the stress of driving last night we decided just to head to Fort Lauderdale and chill out .... But it is Holiday season and everynoe was sold out of hire cars, finally Gang managed to get us aDodge for 2 days.. Bit expensive but ok, then it seems that it is …
... near the cruise terminal. Once checked in to our hotel, we walked to CVS to buy 8 bottles of wine to bring on board the ship tomorrow. I kinda doubt the 8 bottles will suffice! But have no fear, there are 13 bars on board, so somehow I think I'll survive. After dinner, we'll climb into our bed for a restful sleep, I'm ...
So this is starting out well. Arrive in Fort Lauderdale on time, nice flight, no difficulties at customs, no problems right.
LOST LYNNE'S BAG - GOING ON 37 DAY CRUISE WITH NO CLOTHES, SHOES - THE WORLD IS GOING TO END.
No not really, United knew exactly where the bag was - didn't make the connection in Houston and they delivered the bag later that evening. Lynne ...
... it's another pass through Immigration, and again it's quite quick. The excursion of the day is a city tour on one of the double-decker busses, and our guide, Ashley, is waiting just outside the cruise terminal with the bus. With 90 people staying over for the next cruise, we really expected more than 40 people on our tour, but apparently some ...
... to, not to mention knowing that in less than a week I could be on one of them; I'm so ready to go!
Wish me luck!
Oh, and how could I forget, an innocent day trip to the beach becomes a group of us at a beach front bar. The waitress hooked it up, giving us a 2 for 1 coupon! I'm noticing a trend here. They have MASSIVE clam shell buckets, for lack of a better word, filled with a blue rum punch concoction, finished with fresh fruit. Delish.
How has this hotel rated in the past?
- Swimming pool
- Room service
- Free High-Speed Internet
- Fitness/Health center
- Wheelchair accessibility
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Historical Traveler Reviews The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale
Working out the kinks....
I have stayed in countless St. Regis properties around the world, and this one has a ways to go before it can be on par with its "siblings". Agree with another poster who suggested the hotel may have been better served waiting a few more months to open as there are many kinks that need to be worked-out.
Finally, however, there is a respectable hotel on an otherwise tacky stretch of beachfront property.
Nicely equipped, QUIET room in a soothing palette. The typically, fabulous St. Regis bathroom is always appreciated.
Service was seriously lacking, which is atypical for St. Regis. Although I was the only one at the registration desk, it took more than 20-minutes to check-in. Beachgoers strolled in and the attendant trying to check me in wound up speaking to people pulling their igloo coolers. Neither of the TV's in my room worked. While engineering did come up to my room, they said they have been having ongoing signal problems and he could not remedy. The valet lost my car for 1 hour the morning I was checking out.
I am hopeful that the aforementioned service deficiencies will be addressed, resolved, and refined over the upcoming months. The spa was still not open the first week of July.
Kitty Carlisle Would Have COnserns
When I was 8 years old my Aunt Ann took it upon herself (she was the brightest in the family) to throw me into a taxi and whisk me off to the St. Regis in New York for tea. Imagine how I felt seeing all those delicious and fabulous tea sandwiches and pastries made- as only an 8 year old can think - especially for me. The focal point that day was not the large floral arrangements dead center or the unusual for New York Palm plants adorning the room but the New York Socialite and actress Kitty Carlyle, who was sipping tea with a lady friend of hers. As she glanced into my eyes and smiled, I knew then at that moment in time that I was approved as a socialite and I would
carry the Kitty Carlyle seal of approval throughout life. In latter years the St. Regis became a place to have a meal, some drinks, and while I never had tea service there again, I did have one too many MARTINIS at the King Cole bar and that was just as fabulous. So imagine when a personal business trip brought me some 35 years latter to Ft. Lauderdale of all places and the new St. Regis there.
Something was not right with a St. Regis in Florida imagined that the
pool at the St. Regis would be filed with Kitty carlisle looking woman in one piece bathing suites and pearls who's husbands, pot bellied, hairy chested in spots with bald heads and named Manny or Frank scurry around arranging fishing trips. After all, the St. Regis in Florida HAD to be the antithesis to places like the Delano and Setai in Miami. Those pools were filed with Paris Hilton Types and their boyfriends arranged designer drug deals and club entries.
If I have learned anything over the years of travel and travel products its that the product is the product is the product. A traveler should be cautious when comparing a $700 room at hotel A to a $700 room at hotel B. Both may make claims of grandeur and indeed they can be, but in very different ways. For example, a $700 room at The Delano or at the Setai in Miami may be super chic, white, composed on tones of bamboo, and have the added effect of a background DJ, standing wall walk in Shower, and goodie baskets that include condoms...staff can be more into themselves than picking up a
phone...and forget service unless your Madonna.....Yuppies are thrilled to pay big bucks and do so on a continuous basis...quiet rooms are NOT what they want and hold no value to them. On the other hand, the client who checks into a St. Regis would check right out if they found those same items and attitudes at their hotel and in their room. I as a member of the Kitty Carlyle social register, I owed a visit to this place and inspect its offerings. Kitty would not have it any other way.
I made my reservation and choose my rate on line. I was absolutely amazed at the number of choices for very similar rooms. It is advisable as with any hotel reservation to carefully read the amenities and choices that come with various room rates. For example,
one corporate rate was the same as a package rate, with the latter including breakfast and taxes and the former including nothing. My reservation came emailed to me with a nice note from the Hotel Manager and his email and phone number should I require any services.
I must say the reservation on line was painless and the added touch of including additional contact information was top notch. It was Kitty Carlisle all the way. I noted in my reservation that I required
four extra bath towels in the room as well as two extra foam pillows on the bed. My celebrity status was solidified at the age of 8 after all with this company, and anyway they graciously ask you if you need
anything when you make the reservation. I also emailed ahead and asked them to arrange to have a car and driver pick us up at the airport (like they would send the car and not the driver). Look, they
said they provide unsurpassed service, and I am not the one with army of butlers running around south florida, so I decided to ask for things that people may require. After all, if I was a latin americas soap opera star who needed some down time at the St. Regis, I would ask to be picked up at the airport...at my expense of course.
Upon arrival, the car door was opened and we were welcomed sd our luggage was being hoisted out of the trunk by a caring team of luggage hoisters painstakingly trained at the art of hoisting. We were escorted to the check in desk at the lobby by a man who immediately knew my name. I felt as if I was at a Hilton Hotel off the Garden State Parkway. The Lobby is too bright, barren, and unwelcoming. If I did not know I wa s in a hotel I would think I was in Newark Airport. The overall mood was schizophrenic, and that would
be the theme throughout the entire stay. The design of the Lobby is Modern but not chic the way an Ian Schraeger lobby would be. There are no seating areas near the check in desk, and the closest seating areas in the lobby are what seems miles away from anything, tucked into corners in a hallway en-route to the bars and restaurants with extremely uncomfortable bench style seating and chairs (See pictures). You would never think to sit all the way over here unless you were reliving your days as an 8 year old being punished by your parents giving you time out.
The check in process was uncomplicated enough (although our package and its details were not discussed) and we were introduced to our Butler - a young attractive and extremely competent man named Patrick. he took us on a very brief tour of the stark lobby and introduced us to the two bars and the restaurant, Cero. Patrick escorted us to our room and needed to open the door with his key since the automatic keys given to us upon check in failed to work. The schizophrenia continues in the offerings and accommodations.
We reserved an ocean front deluxe room with two double beds with that commanding view thing and all that as described on the hotel's web pages. Knowing that nothing ever looks remotely like it does in hotel promotional pictures, the rooms at the St. Regis can very well resemble rooms at a Marriot in Columbus, Ohio and I was not appalled but somewhat disappointed. A long hallway with a large closet to one side opens into a space with two full beds with large but thin pillows that proved to be utterly uncomfortable and seemed to disappear into the bed the moment you place your head on it removing any notion of playing cushion for your dreams. There is a large floor
lamp to the right which tilts since it cannot rest evenly on the carpet that blankets the room. The amoire houses the standard TV offerings. There is large nicely stocked Honor bar before you reach the beds stocked with bottles of high end liquors, sodas, chocolates,
other noshes, playing cards and breath strips, and there is a desk and a small table and two chairs (see pictures). The bathroom was nice enough with a tub, separate shower with two schizophrenic shower heads and a separate W.C. for the toilet. You have the enclosed toilet area, a separate enclosed shower with two shower heads, a tub, large vanity and two sinks. One of the shower heads - the email strong water pressure variety type, was too large to fit into its hardware and constantly fall down cracking against the tile
- no doubt that tile will be broken in two months time as countless guests try to make their own repairs or try to figure out why they cannot get the shower head to stay on. The other shower head has very low water pressure and again, it would have been smarter just to have one adjustable high quality shower. Mysteriously missing in the otherwise grand room is bath tub amenities that could generate income for the hotel while providing an elaborate feature for guests.
How cool would it be to have your butler - you know the guy who is walking around aimlessly throughout the hotel - draw you a bath and pour exotic mineral salts and aromatherapy fragrances and perhaps a few rose or flower petals in the mix? You would pay $15 for that, and many people would use that or other similar offerings as treatments after a day in the sun. Its another no-brainer that they missed and one that would make them higher than a Hilton who simply has a bathtub sitting in its bathroom.
While there were bars of soap and again some high end lotions, they simply laced on the counter with little arrangement. Sliding glass doors did open up to a fairly large balcony facing the pool and the Ocean. The balcony was equipped with two chairs and a small table. The room lacked and warmth. There was extremely limited and poor lighting and the two black and white portraits over the honor bar of strangers in bathing suits made me feel like I was looking at an advertisement for a clothing store - It was an attempt to set a vacation tone but one that is fairly misguided. Ft. Lauderdale in the
1950's was not au courant glamorous, and given that this is not cape cod or the Hamptons, the photos of old strangers in old fashioned bathing suites seemed - well, farty. The photographs of two strangers did little to create a mood and seem silly and extremely pretentious while the two abstract wall hangings resembled art one might find at Wall-Mart or IKEA that is pre-framed and on sale for $9.99. The walls were otherwise barren. The room lacked the comfort warm features that are standard at such places as the Haluekulani in Honolulu or Wynn in Las Vegas. Not to say that you need those features or that those features need to be standard in a luxury room, but the hotel does promote top luxury accommodations, and these may not meet your notion of luxury if you frequent other places.
One of the rooms greatest features, and the one that the hotel is most proud of, is the bedside computer that contains everything from light, climate and phone operations to a clock, alarm and calling buttons to get ahold of various staff members as well as a call button to your Butler. The console is cumbersome and takes some time to learn to use. In fact, it is simply easier to turn the lights on manually as the "all lights on/off" commands do not truly turn all the lights on or off. The butler button is dangerously close to the emergency button sending security to the room in minutes even if you make a very slight mistake for a split second. The console does not swivel, so you truly need to look at it standing up, and most of all, it fails to operate the curtains. The curtains are operated manually a no-no in a very high sunny beach resort.
A Security Concern
After unpacking and checking email, a strange butler with two strange
woman entered my room. Apparently they were checking in and the front desk assigned the same room to both of us. While mistakes happen, that was a serious problem. They were checked in my the same person that checked us in only fifteen minutes beforehand. My luggage
arrived a full 45 minutes latter because it was sent to another room
- along with a very nice tray of wine and chocolates the hotel gave as their compliments. Not only was my room key given freely to strangers, but my belongings were placed in another room - strange problems to occur at a hotel that prides itself on exceptional service. This was a security issue, and its ugly head surfacing in this instance had no place. The manager did send a bottle of wine with his apologies.
The Pool Area
Another schizophrenic feature was this area of the hotel, which while
beautiful to look out is obviously poorly planned. For a hotel of this size, there are a total of 58 lounge chairs (I counted) making again, your chances of getting a chair by the pool slim at best. While the area is well taken care of by a young and ambitious pool staff, there is little they can do to accommodate persons number 59 and 60. There is an additional sun deck below the pool but overlooking the beach (and chairs and lounges are not cushioned) This
area is then sectioned off by the pool bar smack in the middle of the pool deck, with additional seating and lounges on the other side clear across the bar. In other words, instead of having the pool the feature of the deck allowing for greater traffic flow and accommodations, the large pool bar becomes the focal point. Guests number 59 and 60 have to set up swim shop at the bar or its tables, complete with drinks and TV and dripping bathing suites and schlep to the pool. You will, however enjoy the best service on A-1-A as a team of competent pool boys and bartenders flutter around providing for your comforts.
While the spa was not yet opened, the gym was interesting enough allowing me to get in a few runs and work out routines. Elaborate tread mills with TV screens are propped up against glass windows overlooking the inter coastal. There was an impressive array of free weights and machines for a hotel gym, and its use os complementary. WHile the facility was not staffed on my visits, one does need a room key to access the facility.
The Business Center and Services
The hotel features several large halls used for business conferences and has an extremely poor business support staff and even less support features that a hotel of this caliber should have. This again becomes part of he Schizophrenia that the St. Regis papers to be suffering from - if this is more of a business and conference hotel than it should have amenities and features that business would routinely call upon to complete tasks. If the hotel is primarily a resort and spa destination than it should focus its efforts on those services. Neither personality is strongly evident at the St. Regis.
The hotel staff was unable to provide a fax or printer to my room even though the hotel literature and directory states that it can. The concierge staff admitted that they never used any of the business
features the hotel was supposed to offer and directed me to a business center on the fourth floor so I could print some documents off my laptop. The unseated and difficult to find room consisted of two pay for use computers and printer that would be appropriate in an airport or library. The cost to print on a color printer was $2.50
per page - an insulting and ridiculous option in a hotel that touts business services in 2007. There is no reason outside of very poor design and planning that a hotel like the St. Regis could not provide
reasonable access to printers and basic business services. My printing task resulted in a charge of $47.00.
The design schizophrenia became even more elaborate as Patrick showed
us Cero - the upscale expensive eatery. The restaurant sits in the lobby without any walls with just bars separating your $150 dinner from people pushing luggage, curious onlookers, the army of maintenance and service personnel doing their business. Instead of a relaxing, perhaps elegant dining experience, your subjected to lobby traffic, onlookers and the bright lighting of the stark lobby. The dining experience would be enhanced if the restaurant was separated from the lobby - a real no brainer. The restaurant is also the breakfast place. One reviewer noted correctly that the restarant could not get a simple egg order right. In fact, more attention is placed on silverware, plates, cups, staff running around, smiles, pouring, smiles, and again smiles than providing simple breakfast. Salmon comes draped around breadsticks - a very bizarre and unappealing concept. A simple garnished plate with a bagel would be better received. My tropical fruit plate - which should be a health alternative in a hotel like this, came drenched in syrup as it was latter explained by the manager on duty that it was in fact
"marinated" ie: canned fruit with a fresh berry or two thrown in. I latter found out that the server - a wonderful young man who had English language issues - got my order wrong. Instead of providing me a tropical fruit plate he had delivered the fruit soup - and the staff was trying to drain the syrup that must make up the soup. I left the fruit. He got the order wrong, and this kind of service was noted in another review on this site. Likewise breakfast would be a far more enjoyable and thereby elegant experience if the kitchen stayed with basics of high quality. This is all not to say the restaurant is bad because its not, and it is generally a pleasant experience if unremarkable and I wanted this place to be truly remarkable.
Directly across from the lobby are the two bars - the wine bar and the - LOBBY bar. The wine bar is the one that is enclosed. Again, the spaces and seating of these two establishments were bizarre, uninviting and uncomfortable. Bench style seating combines with very large, heavy and clunky chairs at tables that make you feel your at a business meeting in a conference room that enjoying a libation. This bar should be hoping or at least lend itself to savory enjoyment
of drinks. Instead, you feel as if you are in a library waiting for Sister Mary Ignacious to start prayer services. Don't get me wrong - I get elegant drinking places. One of my favorites is the Four Seasons in New York. Yes its a formal room, but it is more inviting and interesting. For example, the Four Seasons places a wonderful tray of four or five nibbles on your table of interesting nuts bakes with herbs and spices as well as wasabi peas, and other exotic treats, At the St. Regis Ft. Lauderdale, you are served vinegar potato chips, salted almonds, and green olives on a silver serving tray - again bizarre, and taste combinations that are strange.
Service, while warm and friendly, is slow and spotty - the bars do not have appropriate and sufficient staff. Waits of ten minutes before you are approached is not uncommon, with another ten to fifteen minutes before your drink arrives. The bartender is expected to service the bar as well as service the table patrons, and the result is a backlog of endless orders.
The wine bar is behind closed doors and has the exact opposite problem that Cero has - instead of being out front in full view of passers by it is hidden behind very high walls and large intimidating
doors making people think two and three times before entering - a bar no-no in the email world. It is beautiful to be sure, but again it only serves wine and while your server will bring you anything from the sister bar you may not know that thereby avoiding the place entirely if anyone in your party does not drink wine. It would have been smarter to have opened the space next door and simply served liquor in a new opened space.
While entertaining some associated at the bar one night, tired of noshing on vinegar potato chips, I was floored to learn the bars do not have a menu of food items to have with your drinks. There was no selected cheeses, no caviar, no little tea sandwiches. I knew the hotel had caviar, so I asked the waitress for a caviar menu. She returned with a hand written list of the various caviar and explained
they did not have such a menu. However, I did place an order and about 30 minutes latter (of course) arrived a wonderfully presented caviar tray for my guests. These are things that the hotel already has, and I was amazed that they could not put the concept together. Wine...Cheese....Caviar....It is in fact these detail that separate a high end bar - which is what the St. Regis says it wants to be - from Joe's bar and Grill down the street.
Service is quick and efficient if you pre-order breakfast the night before, but can take 45 minutes if you just order through room service. The items do come beautifully presented and over serviced. We typically ordered a pot of coffee and some fruit at 7 am to get us going before breakfast, the gym etc. Every time the order came, it was served with a speech. The server would roll in the tray, ask me how I am and where I would want the food, and how the weather was and what I was going o do that day (Chatter, chatter, chatter) and point to the coffee and proclaim" this is coffee". Then he or she would point to a banana and proclaim "this is a banana". Yes, it was always reminiscent of a scene from rompa room. There was a point that I wanted to start showing them articles of clothing to see if they could label them appropriately but I did not do it.
One reviewer also noted the constant phone calls from the staff to see how things were going and she was not kidding - it is no fustrating and annoying. An example, after your breakfast, they will call you an hour latter to pick up the trays and they you will get another all to see if you liked your breakfast. It's over service.
Attentive, friendly and warm, the concierge staff at the hotel did their very best to provide exceptional service - and they did! Ok, there were mishaps like not being able to work the printer function supposedly available to guests. The hotel touts a car service (in house) available to guests, and while they were reluctant to engage it (I don't know, I have to see if....I am not sure) they did take us to a restaurant one night. They also changed my return flights for me and arranged for airport transfers again.
They were pedestrian in their restaurant referrals but that may be a function of Ft. Lauderdale which is truly trashy. The only wonderful place we went to was Chamber, a fabulous Brazilian steak house that our Brazilian Butler Patrick recommended. When asking for Japanese, the concierge staff recommended an all you can eat buffet which sounded, well - filling for $14.95. We gave up on the Japanese concept and asked for seafood and were referred to a place called
"Fish". It was the worst - absolutely worst place I have ever in my life eaten in. The cost was about $100 per person and was nothing more that frozen reheated nonsense that airlines used to pass off as food. It was over sauced garbage. A carpenter could have used my lobster tail as a hammer, and an order of simple grilled diet salmon came with a dripping disgusting horrible sweet barbecue sauce. Of course we should have immediately left when the special of the day was flat bread with pineapples on it. However, as everything else in Ft. Lauderdale, the waitress could not have been sweeter and we were so embarrassed at not eating anything on our table we took some of the food in the bathroom and threw it away s as to look like we enjoyed it (we were having fun at that point). Had we in fact reported the truth to this waitress, it would have traumatized her for life and caused her to go into therapy. Our actions were heroic.
I saw Kitty Carlisle giving a nod to the entree ordeal, sipping her tea in the corner.
This is a St. Regis tradition, and I am afraid one that should simply
go away. As a marketing ploy it sounds wonderful to have a butler but the truth is they are not needed. Back in the day when there were
no concierges and no true hotel management staff a butler was a wonderful thing. Today, if you need to have laundry washed you call up and they take it away. If you need food you call room service, if you need reservations you call the concierge. If you want a cigarette, a slurpee, a mariachi band, contact your butler.
Two very annoying policies that the hotel needs to address is its travelers check cashing and smoking. I am a nonsmoker and this is a nonsmoking hotel with a fine provided of $250 if there is evidence that you smoked anywhere. You can smoke by the pool. The small contingent of Europeans at the hotel (and because of the horrible sagging US dollar, Europeans will grow as tourists in the US) were shocked and very disappointed at the rule. I am not sure if this is a Florida code and it may be, but being sequestered to a small area by the pool is simply wrong - especially since a majority of your customers - the Europeans- will be smokers.
The other issue is the $300 a day limit in cashing travelers checks.
yes folks, they are back for a number of reasons. Credit cards are often unreliable alone as some companies at their whim may stop your card for security concerns when used outside your home area. ATM's have daily limits, and walking around with wads of cash - especially in Ft. Lauderdale is asking for trouble. The hotel needs to reevaluate that email amount (drinks here are $20 a pop - my bar tab for the entire stay was just shy of $1000).
Ft. Lauderdale, and in particular that A-1 strip has for the last fifteen years been the vacation capital of trash. Ever watch "Dog the Bounty Hunter ' AND WONDER where the people he caught would go on vacation? Ft. Lauderdale of course. Think of the strip as the miracle mile, the fifth avenue, the rodeo drive of Ft. Lauderdale and you get tattoo parlors, trinket shops, booze babes places like hooters, and cheap clothing stores that sell shirts with sayings on them that could get you arrested in many of those bible states. However, a wave of change is happening which includes a new W, a Trump Hotel/Condo, a Ritz Carlton (Kitty Smiled at that one) and of course the St. Regis. However, this is going to take years and for now, the St. Regis is a weird place to be in Ft. Lauderdale. For lack of a better visual, it would be like placing a young heiress in a Los Angeles prison.
Services here are simply the reason why you stay. Rooms are better elsewhere, but I am not so sure you can ask for better service,
What's more, the staff seems together, friendly to each other, and they always seem like the are enjoying themselves and I truly appreciate that. The deficiencies noted will most probably be ironed out before the start of the high end season- and they must be - because if not this hotel will suffer great. This is not the company that Kitty Carlisle knew and loved.
The St. Regis is wrong on many levels but great on others, and i give
it four stars for service to be sure, but when the other properties open it will need to distinguish itself if it is going to prosper and at the mom. For all the money and countless training this corporation engages in, the hotel was unable to get my room correct, allowed strangers to duplicate my key and walk into my room, could not recommend an appropriate restaurant, could not provide lounge chairs by the pool for al the guests, had a broken shower, poor lighting, inappropriate control features in the room, and slow if not kind over service, could not provide a printer or offer the basic business features this hotel should boast. In short, it got the thing wrong. One of the reasons there is this construction boom in Ft. Lauderdale is to capitalize on the aging baby boomers that will retire, they hope, to places like Ft. Lauderdale but that are also very demanding and want more to do in an upscale atmosphere. Our friends in their 70's are retired business people, and they eat good food, drink wonderful libations (If not over doing it sometimes) listen to rock and roll music (the are children of the late 50's and 60's) and perhaps party too much. What they don't want is canned tropical fruit, a monastery atmosphere for a bar, much on potato chips, eat in a lobby and feel insecure in their rooms. This hotel will be reviewed when I return - in about six months from now.
Leaving the hotel, there was a stretch limo with an older woman dressed to the nines in Puce wearing extra large dark sunglasses. She paused to remove her glasses, looked into my eyes, and ever so gently nodded a "no". She placed the glasses on her head, and headed into her car. I was convinced it was the society police - no doubt the Kitty Carlisle division doing an inspection.
Who is this Hotel For?
Latin America soap opera stars, and Brad and Angelina, Who would enjoy the over-service and certainly sophisticated pampering. Prince Philip and Broome Hilda, Older folks that enjoy dressing up on cruise
ships. Anyone in the gay community. People who have to have Butlers buy slurpees for them. Honeymooners of all types. Divorcees needing rests. Men named Manny, Frankie or Joe that look like Benny Hill and call their wives Doll. Kitty Carlisle Wanna Bees.
Who Hates this Place?
The young and trendy, the yuppie sophisticate, the late night reveler, any Brazilian, Cruise ship passengers that think they are dressing up when they go to their 6pm seating, The French. Call girls and drug dealers. Any car passengers en-route with children in the back seat heading to Disney. Smokers of all ages.
Beautiful hotel with some minor flaws
Just got back from a 4 night stay . The hotel itself is beautiful, and the rooms were very nice as well. Booked an intercoastal room; received complimentary upgrade to ocean view. Was greeted by the butler upon check-in, where she escorted us to our room, and told us about the features of the room, etc. The few things that I was not impressed with were 1.) $30/day parking, but that is to be expected in Ft. Lauderdale (next time we will forgo the rental car, as we didn't even use it once during the entire stay 2.) The hotel staff called our room on a minimum of 3 times a day, every single day (seeing if we are enjoying our stay, etc.) which I found INCREDIBLY annoying, as the LAST thing I want to hear while on vacation is a phone ringing 3.) I realize that it is all about the almighty $$, but I feel that the resort would have been better served having waited until it was completely finished before opening. No spa, no gift shop, no bridge access (as advertised) 4.) The staff seemed uneducated on the workings of the hotel, as the same question asked to 4 different staff members resulted in 4 very different responses. Overall, however, once they work out the kinks, I have no doubt this will be a top-notch resort, like their sister property down the road, The Atlantic.
Just returned from a 5 day stay at the St Regis and loved it. My husband and I were there celebrating our anniversary. We arrived early and were able to check in without a problem. The butler showed us around and took us to our oceanfront room. We paid for an intracoastal view and were upgraded. The spacious room was decorated nicely. I enjoyed the robe, slippers, and amenities. The view was fantastic from the 12th floor!
We ate breakfast daily at the restaurant, Cero, and each meal was great. Beware, the menu is pricey, but the food and service were fabulous.
We lounged by the pool each day and had great service out there as well. Two of the days we were served complimentary smoothies. Another day we were brought ice cold lime-scented towels. The waiters came by frequently but not annoyingly so, to see if we needed anything. Each day the pool attendants set up the padded lounge chairs with towels and brought us ice water. We had lunch several times by the pool and the food there was excellent as well. There isn't a huge selection but probably something for everyone. They only have maybe 5-6 large umbrellas, so if you want to stay out of the sun, you need to get down to the pool early to get one of these. The pool area was only crowded one day due to a wedding held at the hotel. There were plenty of lounge chairs, though.
We ate dinner at Cero one evening and it was incredible. Our service was excellent, the food presentation lovely, and the food delicious. The sommelier made a terrific wine selection as well. We ordered dessert, and "Happy Anniversary" was written on the plate.
Overall, we were extremely happy with our stay and would definitely return. It will be even better when the spa and beach walkway are open. We were treated so well and can't wait to return!!
Beautiful Hotel & Great Service
We spent the weekend of June 1-4 2007 at the St. Regis Fort Lauderdale Hotel and I have to say this hotel is magnificient. The hotel itself and the rooms are impeccably clean. The service is nothing short of superior. All of the staff that we encountered were friendly, sweet and willing to help in any way possible.
The spa is not finished yet, but they offer to shuttle you to the Atlantic. The pool is beautiful. It is where we spent our time, instead of the busy beach across the street.
A staff member who works at the pool told us that they designed the hotel to feel like you are on a ship, and thats exactly how you feel especially on the 7th floor pool deck.
Cero - the only restaurant was fabulous. Please try the cappucino brioche ball dessert - divine! I have to say the white chocolate key lime lollipop dessert was a close second. Also be sure not to miss the homemade gnocchi. Their in-room dining choices and service was the best I have seen in a long time
The hotel is definitely a "diamond in the rough" as you will see if you decide to take a walk down the surrounding A1A walk.
Un bonito hotel con un servicio estupendo
Pasamos el fin de semana del uno al cuatro de junio de dos mil siete en el hotel St. Regis Fort Lauderdale y tengo que decir que es un lugar magnífico. El hotel en sí así como las habitaciones están limpísimos. El servicio era de una calidad increíble, de hecho todo el personal que encontramos era amable, cariñoso y dispuesto a ayudar de cualquier manera. Todavía no han acabado el balneario pero ofrecen servicio de transporte hasta el Atlantic. La piscina es preciosa, de hecho es donde pasamos nuestro tiempo en vez de atravesar la calle para ir a la playa tan concurrida. Un empleado que trabaja en la piscina nos dijo que habían diseñado el hotel de manera que el cliente se sintiera como en un barco, y es exactamente así como te sientes allí, en la cubierta de la piscina del piso séptimo. Cero, que es el único restaurante, es fabuloso. Te aconsejo que pruebes el postre "Cappucino Brioche Ball" porque es divino, también el chupachús de lima con chocolate blanco es impresionante, pero tampoco te pierdas los gnocchis caseros. La selección de alimentos para comer en la habitación así como el servicio eran de lo mejor que he visto en mucho tiempo. Definitivamente, este hotel es "un diamante en bruto" que tu puedes comprobar si decides dar un paseo por el paseo A1A de las inmediaciones.
Great Stay with a Caveat or Two
We stayed for 5 days from May 16th. It's a magnificent property without a doubt. The entrance to the hotel is very understated and was a bit difficult to find. There are more valets waiting to welcome you than I've seen at other 5 star properties. Once past the front doors every staff member greeted us like dignitaries. Immediately a "Butler" approached and escorted us to the front desk for registration. Our Butler was a gentleman named Santiago. He was a constant for our stay and couldn't do enough to make us happy or correct any difficiency we experienced. He escorted us to our room and gave us a tour of the property. Note: he called us by name everytime we saw him. Nice touch. The room was "crisp", great lines, comfortable. The bed excellent, the bath opulent. The TV was a pain in the [--]. There's some sort of delay everytime you press a button on the remote control. The bellman told us about it immediately upon entering the room for the first time. Oh, if you want ice in the room call room service - no ice machines.
We ate our first dinner at the hotel's Cero restaurant. It was excellent. Their wine sommilier, Christopher, was excellent. We were escorted to their wine 'vault' and he made some terrific recommendations. We ended up selecting a red and white. As a note, we didn't finish them the first night and he stored them for us. We subsequently enjoyed them in the hotel's wine bar another evening. The food was excellent. Our waiter Al was perfect!! We had a very leisurely dining experience - we asked to be served slowly and to pace the evening. They listened and responded.
The first full day we went to the beach across the street. You have to ask for beach towels to take with you. Since it turns out that Ft. Lauderdale beaches are public, the concessionaire on the beach charged us $10 each for the chaises and $15 for the umbrella. That was the only day we went. Why pay $35 when the hotel's pool on the 7th floor had wonderful BIG lounges, great panoramic views of the ocean and full food service. The staff at the hotel's pool area were incredibly service conscious and couldn't be more delighted to help you. Don't order the mojitos at the hotel pool. UGH. Two bloody mary's there set us back $28+. Their menu is a little eclectic but the food was good, served promptly.
We enjoyed their beautiful cocktail lounge in the lobby a number of times. Be aware of the $14 martinis. Made great but again pricey.
Breakfasts were an experience. While the Cero Restaurant waiters knew the menu well, it was incredible to us that the servers at breakfast, with one exception, couldn't get a simple egg order right 3 times in a row. Finally the restaurant manager comp'd us for the meal. Eating outside on the terrace is a combination of people watching and dealing with the constant flow of the street traffic right in front of your table.
Since the hotel was only open a few weeks when we stayed there was construction work going on: pounding, drilling, painting - real distraction when you are relaxing at the pool and hear a jack hammer.
Speaking of noise....on Friday and Saturday nights when we retired for the evening - our room was on the 10th floor (Ocean View is a MUST) the local bars next door at street level had pulsing and pounding music that could be heard through our room windows. Not bad but a surprise. Of course if you go out to the terrace it was invasive and detracted from the experience.
It's a non smoking property with a $250 penalty if you smoke in the room or on the terrace. When asked the bellman brought me an ashtray for the terrace even though that was a no-no.
If you don't want to go for the pricey breakfasts, there is a little cafe a block south of the hotel with good eggs and lousy coffee. We ended up getting directions to a Starbucks about a 10 minute drive from the hotel.
All in all I left favorably impressed. If I want a truly beach vacation I would still pick the Ritz on Key Biscayne. If the beach doesn't matter then the St. Regis would be fine.
The spa wasn't open when we stayed. They never told us that before we arrived and that was a disappointment!
I had an excellent 4-day stay at the brand new St. Regis over Memorial Day. It is a very contemporary, elegant, but informal and inviting environment. The decor of the rooms has very clean lines, and is understated and contemporary. I had a large corner oceanfront room with a terrace. The frontprint of the room, as well as the modern decor is very reminiscent of the St. Regis San Francisco room where I've previously stayed. The service is warm and well-meaning, and includes butler service. The pool is on a large deck on the 7th floor, which has a beautiful view of the ocean. The large canopy over the bar looks like a sail so the entire pool deck can pass for an elegant cruise setting. There was a nice breeze so sitting under the canopy was a fantastic respite for lunch or to get out of the sun. The restaurant, Cero, which I ate 2 dinners at, as well as had an after dinner dessert/drink serves excellent food. I highly recommend sitting outside on the terrace for dinner, if the weather is nice, as it was last week. There is also a wine bar. The beach is right across the street.
Having just opened, I would've expected a few minor glitches, which I did find. The spa was not ready yet (they said it would open in July). I was told that for the time being guests may use the spa at the St. Regis' sister hotel nearby. Also, the private above-ground walkway to the beach is not yet completed. Thus, there is no service (food etc.) on the beach. Not having spent much time on the beach other than going for walks, I think the beaches in Fort Lauderdale are all public. There was also a minor issue with them not delivering the newspaper I requested (NY Times) and giving me the default option instead. The biggest annoyance was the TV system which oddly operates with a 10-20 second delay when using the remote control (turning on/off, changing channels, adjusting the volume) -- they really need to change this.
In total, I thought it was a wonderful stay and I'm sure the hotel will get even better over time. It's a classy, contemporary, and inviting place to stay in an area that previously didn't seem to serve the high-end of the market.
5 Star Luxury in Fort Lauderdale
Ok, so let me admit that I didn't say over night, but I along with some friends spent most of Saturday night lounging, eating and drinking at the new St.Regis in Fort Lauderdale (A staff member said the property was 10 days new).
The common areas are absolutely beautiful The property is a terrific addition to Fort Lauderdale (and I have to think that this isby far the nicest place to stay in ALL of Broward County - maybe even Miami-Dade too.)
Service in the wine bar and the restaurant Cero were outstanding. Just walking in off the beach we were greeted with white-glove service. In the lobby there was a myriad of white-gloved staff waiting to attend to our needs. Even a request for the mens' room was met with the staff member walking me over to the facilities with a smile.
The hotel has an architectural theme of a "wave" which is carried throughout the property. The baker's marble floor in the lobby is gorgeous and the main bar has a stunning oversized painting of a wave as the main backdrop.
Before dinner, In the wine bar, the wine steward offered us a small cheese tasting with our drinks which was delicious and a classy touch.
Food in Cleo was excellent (and expensive but worth it) - try the Red Snapper and the Cod dishes. The Eggplant appetizer (not on menu) was the highlight of the meal.
All in all, this is the classiest place to stay in Fort Lauderdale. We are planning on booking a stay soon.