Travel Spotting: The Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale

Every now and then Gary and I get to travel to refreshing places (read: Florida) for a dose of sun and soul satisfaction. The truth is, Florida is just easy. It’s a 2.5 hour flight from NYC, there’s no language barrier, and just about every New Yorker has a friend or relative worth visiting somewhere between West Palm and the Keys. We most recently headed to Fort Lauderdale with only one intention: finding the best, most luxurious places for city-dwelling gals like ourselves to visit on any given long weekend. What we found at the Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale was better than we expected- a magnificent oceanfront suite with all the upscale accoutrement that any sassy lady (read: Gary) could ever ask for.

Bulgari soaps? Check. Marble oversized tub? Check. Mega quiet corner suite to facilitate Britney Spears blasting? Check. Plush bathrobes that encourage lounging and bodily liberties? Check. Comfy giant king size bed and furniture that makes you want to redecorate your sensible NYC apartment? CHECK.

Honestly, if you’re Fort Lauderdale-bound, the place is perfect. It’s everything the luxury-loving girl could ever ask for, and perfect for a romantic couples weekend away. In good news, it’s somehow also affordable and they’ve got some pretty sweet specials going through the end of the year:

OVERNIGHT PACKAGES

Discover With You: Daily $100 resort credit, American breakfast for two and two passes to explore the city’s famous Intracoastal waterways on the nearby Water Taxi (once per stay).  (Book & pay with American Express and receive a complimentary upgrade upon check-in, based on availability)  Rates from $359 through December 22, 2011

Rates from $529 through December 22, 2011

Romantic Rendezvous for a romantic two days that centers around you, and includes:

  • Two nights in a luxurious oceanfront guestroom
  • Rose petal turndown upon arrival
  • Daily American breakfast for two on your private balcony (with in-room dining) or in the oceanfront Via Luna restaurant
  • Complimentary full day “Natural Oasis” Cabana on the VIP cabana level, once per stay
  • Couples Massage or spa credit of $250 once per stay
  • Champagne and sparkling wine tasting in the romantic Wine Room, once per stay
  • Special gifts of a Ritz-Carlton signature scented candle and Ritz-Carlton massage oil

Available Tuesday through Saturday, from $559 per night.

  • NEW: Interactive Experiences begin at check-in for everyone from young VIPs to seasoned travelers.

·         Pirate Scavenger Hunt: Little skippers checking in are personally greeted and presented with a pirate hat, patch, and a special invitation to scour the hotel and embark on a treasure hunt through the lobby, spa, restaurant and wine room until they reach the final destination and discover a treasure chest filled with delicious “gold” coins.  Presented to children ages 4-10.  Complimentary.

·         Astrological Tastings- Earth, Fire, Water and Air… Every Friday and Saturday evening in the lobby, Executive Chef Christian Clair creates twelve culinary tastings to for each of the 12 astrological signs to complement zodiac traits and support a healthier mind and body. Six salty and six sweets are specially crafted to attract and align the celestial powers in each guest’s constellation. Complimentary.

·         Passport to Wines: Sommelier, Don Derocher, invites guests to tour twelve wine regions around the world with a pocket-size passport guiding them through ten countries and vintages from the award-winning 5,000-bottle Wine Vault.  The best wines from each country are presented to swirl, sniff, sip and STAMP.  Travel the world of wines, collect twelve stamps and receive a leather Ritz-Carlton wine carrier, blown-glass wine stopper and leather corkscrew case. Pours range from $11-20 per glass.

·         Poolside Cruise Director: Patrolling the 7th floor tropical pool deck with iPad in hand, the new Cruise Director recommends and reserves spa therapies, dinner reservations and offers suggestions on the latest activities and must-see hidden gems of the city, leaving guests ready to set sail on memorable experiences. Complimentary.

  • FORT LAUDERDALE’S LARGEST LUXURY SPA features an organic and active-botanical treatment menu, tapping into rich natural resources to offer signature treatments such as the Intuitive Ocean Treatment and Ocean Sea Salt Glow. It is the only Fort Lauderdale spa to offer “Chiral” anti-aging facial treatments, a landmark achievement in the science of skin care to help rid the skin of wrinkles and maintain the effects longer. New facial treatments include NūFace system that activates facial muscles to lift, firm and sculpt, Cherry-Berry peel, an Oxygen facial and repair serums using pure plant stem cells. Also new to the Spa menu: Ionithermie Cellulite and Toning Program.
  • FULL MOON PARTIES– Named “THE Partyin Fort Lauderdale by Condé Nast Traveler, each month the 7th floor tropical pool deck is transformed into a moonlit lounge with plush couches, tarot card readers, music by DJ Rob Riggs, and oversized telescopes lined up to view the golden moon rise above the Atlantic.  Every soiree is open to the public and no two are alike with individual themes and each event benefitting a local charity.
  • AWARD WINNING WINE PROGRAM: Join Sommelier Don Derocher in the 5,000-bottle Wine Vault, the largest wine collection of any luxury hotel in the city awarded with the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for the second consecutive year.  Sommelier Derocher creates personalized experiences from individualized wine tastings to customized five-course wine dinners in the sultry Wine Vault, and just launched the new Passport to the World of Wines program to take oenophiles on a tour of 12 wine regions with a pocket-sized passport guiding you through 10 countries and vintages. The best from each country is presented to swirl, sniff, sip and STAMP. Travel the world of wines, collect 12 stamps and receive a beautiful leather Ritz-Carlton wine carrier, blown-glass wine stopper and leather corkscrew case. Available Wednesday through Saturday, 7-9 p.m. Each pour is six ounces and ranges from $11 to $20 per glass.
  • VIP CLUB LOUNGE-A private lounge available to all Residential Suites and selected Oceanfront guestrooms has views of the Atlantic Ocean and yacht-filled Intracoastal waterways.  A dedicated concierge tends to individual needs assisting with reservations, area recommendations and revising flight itineraries for the business and leisure traveler.  Continuous culinary offerings are presented throughout the day in a well-appointed, relaxed lounge environment with a separate library and TV room and computer area.
  • VIP OCEANFRONT CABANA LEVEL. A collection of 10 private cabanas rest just below the 29,000 square-foot tropical pool deck, seemingly suspended on a curvilinear perch over the Atlantic Ocean.  Five spectacular Oceanfront Cabana packages are tailored to special occasions, including a proposal/seduction package, bachelorette finale, simple pampering or couples massage package, each with its own amenities.  Packages range from $250 per day to $5,000 for a Moonlight Lounge party with 10 cabanas reserved for your own party with 50 friends.
Bryce Gruber is a Manhattanite mom who can be found jet-setting off to every corner of the globe. She loves exotic places, planes with WiFi, summer clothes, & Sucre brown butter truffles. Bryce's aim is to do to luxury what Elton John did to being gay. Follow her on twitter @brycegruber