We stayed here Sept. 3-5, 2005 after a week aboard a five-star Caribbean cruise. Although no hotel compares with the all-inclusive nature of cruise vacations, the Riverside Hotel was very nice and we will stay again.
After the cruise, we decided NOT to rent a car since so many hotels charge extra for parking (this one too) and we had both the Water Taxi at our disposal (a short block away in either direction and just $5.00 a day). Unfortunately, the Riverside does NOT provide free shuttle service to/from the airport/cruise terminal. This is unfortunate since the tax drivers are a bit dim (at least the ones we had). However, upon checkout, the concierge arranged to have a van to drive us to the airport -- no stress, just a bit more $'s than the taxi drivers (approximately $6.00 pp plus tip).
We booked directly on the site since the online travel sites weren't offering any better prices at the time (I don't know about Priceline since I don't like the crapshoot reservation aspect of it). The person taking our reservation was pleasant and seemed like she carried a smile the entire time whilst on the phone.
The concierge(s) were attentive. We had a lot of bags (two couples and two rooms) so they seemed a bit winded after delivery of our bags to the room (maybe for effect, but I planned to tip anyway). We appreciate good a concierge.
We reserved a king bed with balcony in the NEW tower - we can't speak for the renovated one or the old rooms (although from afar, getting a peek thru some of the windows, they seemed nice). The room was spacious, the bathroom almost too spacious -- probably could have put a second vanity in there instead of offering so much floor space. The bath seemed wheelchair accessible even though it wasn't designated as such.
The room was above average, but I can't give it top rank since I have stayed in better. But it was very clean, with the usual niceties in the bath, CATV, lounge chair, table and chairs, etc.
Now, this is the one odd thing to be conscientious of... the REFRIGERATOR. This is actually a wet bar stocked with a wide variety of beverages and next to it, a wide variety of snacks, hard spirits and such. Both the fridge and snack area are placed within a cabinet in the TV armoire and requires access by key... and I believe whenever you open it, the front desk has it monitored since I saw a little red pin light turn on (located on the cabinet frame) every time I opened it. The front desk clerk offers a key when you check in by asking if you want access to the mini-bar. We said yes.
Tip: Make sure you ask them if "access" to the mini-bar is free. We were only interested in the use of the refrigerator because I'm a big milk drinker (someone who, say, needs insulin or medication refrigerated may want the fridge). The reason I say ask, is that upon check-out, even though we did not use a thing in the prestocked mini-bar, we found a mini-bar charge of approximately $30.00 dollars. After a few minutes of feeling completely cheated and bamboozled, I went down to the front desk and informed them that I did not consume anything from the bar -- without batting an eye, the front desk clerk removed the charge. Excellent. However, ask first if you simply want to use the fridge because a person comes up every morning to restock the bar if you're using it -- maybe that's why there was a charge, so maybe tell them you don't need restocking either.
Okay, that was lengthy, but I must add, the mini-bar was probably the BEST stocked mini-bar I have ever seen in any hotel!!!
The pool was very nice -- I can't remember seeing a jacuzzi. Our door overhead fans, tables, and right on the intracoastal -- next to a big yacht that sort of blocks the view of the river. But, it's a nice yacht and the whole ambiance feels like you are somewhere very nice (by the way, the pool is in fact a walk across the street from the hotel, but the road is not a busy street -- more like a semi-quiet back street).
The hotel restaurant and pub looked very nice -- the prices look a bit out of the range we were willing to pay since we had run low on budget and had been feeding on included five-star meals on the cruise. There are a lot of nice restaurants in the area, and a Cheesecake Factory (yes, not a regional experience, but we know the menu and enjoy their food). Starbucks is a block north and stays open late, and so is a CVS Pharmacy Drugstore for items like snacks, toiletries, medicine and milk! :)
Lastly, the location of the Riverside is at the mouth of Las Olas -- lots of great shops. And we arrived when the city was having a art street fair. It's a great place if you like shopping, or just visiting shops. And, with the water taxi stop nearby, you can get a great tour of all the great waterfront homes, and still gain access to the ocean, surf, and other resorts (although, if the surf is really your thing and not shops, then stay at the surf resorts).
Overall, we had a wonderful robust stay -- even if it was a short while. We will stay there again when visiting FLL. The room was spacious and quiet, the front desk people, in our experience, was pleasant, humourous, and attentive -- even with my justified gripe about the mini-bar, no problems.
Oh, I forgot, you may want to check if they are getting setup or are setup with wireless Internet access, but there is a computer next to the front desk for guest use with Internet access and it came in handy -- but for only a moment since I was, indeed, on vacation.
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- Also Known As:
- Riverside Fort Lauderdale