*Note – This lengthy review is for the hotel itself: the location, service, and staff.
Beware!!!! Do Not Book A Unit/Room At This Hotel Through An Individual Owner, unless you prefer to be treated like a second class citizen(s). This was our first and ultimately biggest mistake.
My friend’s fiancé stumbled upon this hotel when trying to find a place (preferably a suite) to accommodate six women to stay for 3 nights for her bachelorette party in Ft Lauderdale, FL. She sent me the listing they found via a VRBO link – the price seemed decent, the pictures looked great (2 queen beds, 1 king, a gorgeous ocean front view) and the listing said it slept up to six. As the Maid of Honor, I wanted to make sure the Bride To Be got what she wanted, so I booked this unit (or what I thought was the unit we saw online) through an individual owner(s) at this hotel. This would be Mistake #1.
Since most of the issues we encountered had to do with the owner(s) of the unit and their complete incompetence, I plan on writing a separate review just for that (it was a nightmare); aside from the owner(s), the hotel (staff) was not very understanding, despite our trials and tribulations – the most common response we received all weekend long was, “we really can’t help you/there is nothing we can do, the reservation was through the owner; you’ll have to contact him directly.” They really were not very helpful; how do they know we wouldn’t come back and book directly through the hotel next time? Needless to say, they won’t have to worry about that, as I will likely never return to stay at this hotel. I’d rather take my money to the W hotel down the street and be treated like a paying guest.
For now, I’ll try to keep this review limited to the pros/cons of the hotel itself (as difficult as this may be):
- Location – location was great, and the hotel itself was nice enough. Our unit/suite had one large bathroom, and a kitchen with a fridge, microwave, and sink. Hotel is right across the street from the beach (hotel provides beach towels at the front desk; chairs and umbrellas are extra to rent for the day, ranging anywhere from $10 - $20), and about a 15-20 min cab ride from FLL airport. The hotel is also within walking distance (maybe half a mile – mile) to CVS, liquor stores, and some great restaurants and bars - Casablanca Café was delicious, Mexican Cantina was good, and the best meal by far was in the actual hotel restaurant, Beauty and the Feast. Food was amazing, more on that later.
- Amenities – even though we booked through an individual owner, we did still have access to the hotel amenities (shocker). The pool was very nice (on the 5th floor), with a great ocean view; like most places, you should get there early and secure a chair and an umbrella, as those tend to go fast. Adam was the lovely gentleman at the pool who helped find us chairs and bring over umbrellas for us when needed. He works incredibly hard and he was extremely helpful. Give that man a raise! All the pool staff we came in contact with were great actually – bar tenders, servers, Adam, etc. Gym was nice, as was the women’s spa area (we didn’t render spa services, but the bathroom area was very nice). The lobby also offers complimentary coffee up until 10 am or 11 am I think – this is always nice.
- Restaurant – We had 6:00 pm reservations on a Saturday for Beauty and the Feast, the restaurant in the hotel. This was definitely a highlight of staying at this place – the food was delicious, the red velvet cake was probably the single best dessert I’ve ever had (it was so good, we went back just for the cake the following day, but it was all gone), and our server (I think his name was Chris) was phenomenal. The bill came to $400 for six people; that included drinks, apps, food, desserts, tax, and 18% gratuity. Even if you don’t stay at this hotel, I would definitely recommend the restaurant.
- Late check-out – this was the only good thing about renting a unit through an owner; we were able to get a late check-out (4:00 pm), since our flights didn’t leave until 6:00 pm. I just hope there was no one else coming in after us waiting on that unit, or they would experience the same issue we had at check in.
- After arriving around 11:00 ish am on a Friday, we ended up not being able to get into our unit/room until 6:15 pm, and no one would give us a straight answer as to why. They apparently guarantee check in at 4:00 pm, so 6:15 pm was even worse, and horribly inconvenient. They kept our luggage for us and we ended up hanging out by the pool to kill time, but 6:15?!?! It was a little ridiculous, and a good thing we didn’t have reservations or anywhere to be for that first night. At first the hotel said they would credit us with a $50 voucher for food, drinks, or something else at the hotel. Then they said, “we can’t give hotel credits if you booked through an owner” but they were able to offer us breakfast vouchers for the following morning in the hotel restaurant instead. This came out to be more than $50 worth, so I can’t complain about that. I didn’t actually eat the breakfast, but the other girls did and said it was good.
- Once we finally got up to our room, we realized it was not at all what we thought we booked, given the pictures and listing online (this is not necessarily the hotel’s fault, I recognize). Our suite had one 1 king bed, and 1 pull out sofa… that was it. How that adds up to sleeping 6 people, is beyond me. We ended up having to get 2 additional cots to accommodate everyone! The owner said he would take the $50 cot fees off our payment to him, but we still got charged by the hotel, and of course, “there was nothing they could do, since we booked through an owner” – noticing a trend here? The hotel should have billed the owner directly for these cots. It was infuriating, given the false advertisement online – had we known this suite comfortably slept 4 people (5 at the most), we would have likely stayed elsewhere or gotten 2 adjoining rooms. Additionally, some of the pictures listed online looked like the room had an ocean view – nope, not ours.
- There are no ice makers on the floors. If you want ice, you have to call down to the front desk and they have someone bring the ice to you. Why?!?! This is inconvenient and we ended up having ice brought to our room several times a day/night.
Overall, the hotel was ok, but the service (the way we were treated) and the owners of our unit left a horrible taste in my mouth. if you must stay here, I would recommend booking straight through the hotel itself; anything other than that, you run the risk of being (not pleasantly) surprised, not getting what you paid for and being treated like a huge inconvenience; also, be prepared to hear “sorry, nothing we can do, you booked through an owner” as an excuse for Everything. I understand it may be a hotel policy, but maybe the hotel policy should also include some kind of mediator or third party to assist in contacting the unit owners and resolving any guest issues. At the end of the day, we were still paying guests, staying at the same hotel as those that booked directly through the hotel.
Bottom line – the hotel itself was nice enough I guess, but given our overall weekend experience, I would not choose to stay there again.