Sun and Service at The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale
Written by Kristi Marcelle – Ciao Bambino
There are many family hotels to choose from on the Fort Lauderdale beach but as I found out on a recent stay, The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale stands out for its exceptional service. Fort Lauderdale is all about fun and sun, and at The Ritz-Carlton you get all that plus a bit of pampering.
I have to admit that before my stay, I was curious how staying in the heart of the Fort Lauderdale beach scene would be with a family. I had two concerns: 1) Would the hotel be noisy? and 2) Would I mind that access to the beach is via a pedestrian bridge over the road? … As it turns out, I had nothing to be concerned about!
From our ocean view room, the vista was pure blue-green ocean and outlines of distant ships. The cantilevered design of the hotel makes the road virtually disappear from view and with it any road noise. And the beach access is a breeze. The secured skywalk from the pool deck proved to be a shorter walk to the beach than if we had been in a large resort. Chairs, umbrellas, towels and water are complimentary and available at the beach.
Rooms with a View
A great advantage of staying in Fort Lauderdale is the endless water views. There is water everywhere here with the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal waterways; a system of residential canals running throughout the city that are perfect for lazy days of kayaking or boating.
At the Ritz-Carlton, there isn’t one perfect view. The full ocean view is in-your-face gorgeous but the view at night is of a dark ocean. On the other hand, the Intracoastal view has something to look at all day because it’s a residential area and lighted at night. What’s the best view? Maybe a little of both!
Note: All Residential Suites and certain ocean view King rooms have access to the Club Lounge with a dedicated concierge. This is a huge perk and very convenient for families as it serves high quality light meals, snacks and drinks throughout the day – with a view of course. There are also board games and computers available. It’s very comfortable with kids.
The hotel is compact and while there are no large open spaces for kids to run around, there are programs and amenities available for kids which my 6 and 8-year-old children enjoyed. This is a fun scavenger hunt that ends with a very decadent surprise.
Kid’s Meal Plan.
This is a great deal. For $30 a day, kids 12 and under can order breakfast, lunch and dinner off the children’s menu, which offers the standard chicken fingers fare but also includes healthier options. The standout feature for my kids was unlimited beverages (parents beware). It was a huge treat for them to be able to order smoothies at the pool.
Perfectly Sized Pool for Kids.
It’s not a kid’s pool, but it’s very easy with a baby, toddler or small child. It has large graduating steps which are a perfect hangout for little ones that aren’t confident swimmers. Did I mention the ocean view from the pool area? Between 4:30 and 6 PM you’ll see a parade of cruise ships leaving the port which is just a few miles away.
Funky Fish Craft Program.
The Ritz Carlton offers a complimentary 2-hour mini-Funky Fish crafts program during peak season where kids make tie-dye t-shirts and other crafts. (If you want the full day Funky Fish ocean camp the concierge can help you arrange this.) Parents need to be in the pool area but the staff manages the kids during the program.
Additional Holiday Activities.
During busy school holidays there may be additional activities for the kids. During our holiday stay there was always something going on; ice cream sundae making or a craft project at the pool and even a game room set up on another floor for the older kids.
Walking Distance to the Water Taxi.
While not onsite, the water taxi is a fun way to see Fort Lauderdale with kids. Take it North to see the iguanas hanging out under the bridge.
If you are looking for a mother daughter spa date or a relaxing day, the view alone in the spa will put you in the right mood. The entire spa has gorgeous ocean views and the pedicure — well, I can’t rave enough. For an hour, I sat in a very comfortable chair with a foot rest and looked at the ocean. All this was possible because the attendants were so accommodating and patient with my inquisitive 6-year-old who finished her little girl manicure early. A very relaxing way to end our stay …
Editorial Note: Kristi received a complimentary night stay at the Ritz-Carlton. She was not asked to express any particular opinion
View more Family Friendly Hotels and Activities on Fort Lauderdale Beach on the MyFortLauderdaleBeach.com Blog