Fort Lauderdale revamped its party-hard spring break reputation awhile ago, embracing more upscale properties like the W Fort Lauderdale, which recently underwent a $55-million renovation. The comprehensive overhaul included every aspect — from lobby to pool — of the nine-year-old beachfront hotel, bringing it up to par with the rest of the global chain’s properties, while still maintaining the brand’s cool vibe. Here’s what to expect from the new and improved W Fort Lauderdale.
Budget Level: Luxe ($300+/night)
Lodging Type: Large Hotel (100+ rooms)
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Inspired by the surrounding beach scenery, the updated design of the rooms flows almost seamlessly from the outside in, with shades of oceanic blue and crisp whites throughout, along with natural woods and floor-to-ceiling window sheers. In addition to revamping the 517 guest rooms, suites, and residences, the lobby area, known as “the Living Room,” was transformed into an open-concept layout that creates a more inviting atmosphere for visitors, as well as a community hangout spot for locals.
Like the global W brand, the Fort Lauderdale property maintains a trendy luxe lifestyle feel that’s totally fun and welcoming. Along with the renovation, the hotel launched a new weekly lineup of programming in the Living Room that includes complimentary henna designs during Bollywood Night, live art demonstrations, Latin music nights, and more. Plus, W Insiders (the brand’s spin on the concierge) are on hand to share their knowledge of the city, as well as their connections, setting up unique experiences for guests.
Who Will Love It
For those accustomed to the W’s usual amenities (like those tried-and-true Bliss toiletries) and top-notch customer service, the W Fort Lauderdale will not disappoint. And although it’s technically a beach getaway, the hotel, with its activities, restaurants, and social scene, proves to be a safe pick for urban dwellers who don’t want to veer too far away from their creature comforts.
Who Might Not
With that in mind, travelers looking for a more expansive resort-style property would probably get a little anxious in the high-rise hotel with its popular (sometimes crowded) pool deck.
Besides the waterfront location, James Beard Award-winning restaurateur Stephen Starr’s on-site restaurant Steak 954 earns rave reviews from visitors and locals alike, with a menu that includes a $65 cheesesteak made with wagyu rib-eye. As the final piece of the renovation, Starr will open another dining spot at the hotel called El Vez, which will serve regional Mexican dishes.
Complimentary WiFi for Starwood Preferred Guest members is complimentary.
Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About
With an extra $35 resort fee (plus tax), guests receive two beach chairs and an umbrella, a daily fitness class, two four-hour bike rentals, and high-speed in-room WiFi. Valet parking costs $39 (plus tax) per day.
How to Get a Deal
December through April is Fort Lauderdale's high season, in terms of tourists and hotel prices, with rooms at the W starting at around $400. If you can stand the heat and humidity, summer (or hurricane season) is your best bet, with prices starting at $250.
In the Neighborhood
Located about 10 minutes west of the hotel, Las Olas Boulevard is the go-to hot spot of Fort Lauderdale, dotted with boutiques, art galleries, bars, and restaurants, including favorite Italian eatery Louie Bossi's Ristorante, Bar & Pizzeria. For a wilder scene, venture further afar to the Everglades and take an airboat ride at the Sawgrass Recreation Park, which is a 40-minute car ride from the W. Tickets are $22.95 plus tax.
The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is approximately 30 minutes away by taxi or Uber. While you could fly into the Miami International Airport, the drive is at least an hour and that’s without traffic.
Nearest Public Transit
A bus stop for two different Broward County Transit routes is located right in front of the property on A1A. Another more touristy option, the Sun Trolley, is also run by the city. Most routes are either free or $1 per ride, but it covers a smaller area. Plus, because Fort Lauderdale is dissected by waterways, there’s a hop-on, hop-off water service as well.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The W Fort Lauderdale’s restyled accommodations offer a beach escape with some cool, city-centric sleekness.