My wife and I just got back from a 4 day getaway to Fort Lauderdale, and I would like to address the wide array of reviews for the Bahia Mar. As any traveler to southeast Florida either knows or will soon find out, the choices for accomodations can be so vast that they can be overwhelming and make the decision difficult. I can see how it's easy to get caught up in the hype and be disappointed. As a former resident of the area as well as a former hotel employee on the "Strip" in Fort Lauderdale (back in the early 80's), I would like to give the readers of TA the reasons I choose Fort Lauderdale for vacation and why I chose the Bahia Mar, and perhaps, if your vacation criteria is similiar to mine, why you should choose the Bahia Mar also.
First of all, I believe that Ft. Lauderdale is one of the most complete vacation destinations in the U.S.A., if not the world. It's easy to get to, has a beautiful beach, world class fishing, diving, shopping, dining, sightseeing, sports, night life, and on and on. It's safe, family friendly and relatively inexpensive - especially for Americans given the current value of the dollar abroad.
As for the Bahia Mar, the first thing I consider is the location of a hotel when I choose, and that could be the Bahia Mar's best asset. Across the street from a clean, protected beach, adjacent to a marina with any kind of water sport or sightseeing you can imagine, and an easy walk to any kind of restaurant or shopping you want. From the airport it's a $20 cab ride to the hotel (including tip) so unless you really need to travel outside the immediate area, you don't need to rent a car which will leave more spending money in your pocket (especially since regular gas is $3.85 per gallon in the area as of 5/9/08). I would highly recommend a water taxi ride during your stay which stops at the marina about 100 yards from the front door. They can take you to the Galleria mall (Sack's 5th ave, Nieman Marcus, etc) the shops of Las Olas (art galleries, boutiques, restaurants - the locals like to refer to it as there version of Rodeo Drive) or several other stops but the sights along the way of the homes and yachts is breathtaking and is well worth the $13 ride all day ticket. The Bahia Mar property also offers many recreation opportunities on the properyt as well. Tennis courts with lights, swimming pool deck overlooking the marina with a gym and a bar/restaurant with reasonable prices, an elevated walkway to the beach where you'll find brand new lit basketball courts, a fitness obstacle course, picnic tables w/barbeques, and a real nice playground. **NOTE** We went fishing one day and caught 5 nice snappers and Frank, the cook at the pool restaurant cooked them 3 different styles for us with a nice presentation, sauces and cole slaw for only $10 bucks!! Also on the property is a very nice market/deli that makes a great breakfast sandwich for $4 and has a very good lunch menu featuring top quality Boars' Head sandwich meats, salads, beer and wine, etc., again at very reasonable prices. ( I knew it was going to be good when I saw all the fishing captains and yacht crews going there for lunch).
As for the inside of the hotel and the rooms, yes, this hotel is about 40 years old and even though there have been a few remodels and touch ups over the years, you will see some chipped paint, dated furniture, worn handles, but the rooms, bathrooms and public areas were clean and secure and the beds were comfortable. My biggest complaint was that the balconies in the main building were too small for a chair - strictly Juliet balconies.
The personnel we encountered were very friendly and helpful. we had an early flight and they allowed us to check in at 9AM! Thank you Rey at the front desk. Keep in mind that these are regular folks, many of them rookies and not polished professionals that you would find at the St Regis or the Breakers.
When I read the negative reviews of the Bahia Mar they all seemed to center on the worn condition of the property or some inconsistant or rude service and I can understand how this can happen. If you demand and expect five star quality, than perhaps The Bahia Mar is not your place. I did walk through the St Regis and it is beautiful and you should consider it. However, I booked my stay through the hotel's website (which I recommend because you do not have to pay in full in advance like the other internet travel sites) and only paid $93 per night. Now, if you're like me and don't plan to spend a lot of time in the room, than I just don't see the need to spend $500 per to be up the street at the St Regis. Just give me a nice clean, safe place in a good location at a fair price and I'm happy. I would submit to you that in Fort Lauderdale, that place is the Bahia Mar Resort.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Enjoy stunning surroundings and 44 breathtaking acres along the Intracoastal Waterway at the Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach hotel- a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. Located near the International Swimming Hall of Fame, the Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach hotel is a water taxi ride away from the shops, restaurants and nightlife of Las Olas Boulevard. Stay active with water sports, indulge the option to sail away on a cruise or simply relax on the white sandy beach. Bahia Mar is only a short drive from the Fort Lauderdale International Airport and Port Everglades Cruise Terminal. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bahia Mar Beach Hotel
- Bahia Mar Beach Resort
- Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale
- Hotel Bahia Mar Beach