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WHAT’S NEW IN FABULOUS FORT LAUDERDALE

Where to start in Fort Lauderdale? The South Florida destination has 31 communities boasting 37,000 lodging options; 4,000-plus eateries; more than 500 km. of navigable waterways and eight distinct beaches; a thriving arts scene; craft breweries and rooftop bars; diving, fishing, and other outdoor adventures; world-class shopping; and yachts, yachts, and even more super yachts moored at the area’s many marinas. Suffice to say, something’s always going on, both on land and water.

With this in mind, here’s just a glimpse of what’s new and notable in the city – a perennial favourite of Canadian snowbirds, cruisers (Port Everglades), plus year-round culture vultures and those simply seeking a healthy dose of Florida sun and fun.

LAUDER-DEALS

Visit Lauderdale’s annual summer savings program ‘LauderDeals’ has expanded this year with Dine Out Lauderdale and Spa Days specials during August and September.

• Dine Out Lauderdale serves as an entrée into Greater Fort Lauderdale’s diverse culinary scene, has something for every foodie under the sun. Diners can enjoy taste-tempting meals at more than 40 establishments, including some of the area’s top restaurants – such as Evelyn’s Fort Lauderdale at the Four Seasons, The Katherine, and DUNE – by taking advantage of special Dine Out Lauderdale menus, all with at least three courses for $35 or $45.

• Also taking place during August and September, Spa Days tempts those in search of quality self-care with great prices on specialty treatments, some starting as low as $99. The Spa at Auberge Beach offers its Auberge Signature Spa Manicure & Pedicure for $99, or one can indulge in a day of escape with the Vitality Beach & Day Pass that includes a welcome glass of prosecco, beach lounge chair, umbrella, and spa amenities. Other tempting Spa Days offers can be found at Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa, Pelican Grand Beach Resort and more.

• Summer LauderDeals for hotels and attractions continue to run through September with some extending to the end of the year. The full range of hotel and attraction deals can be found at VisitLauderdale.com/deals.

FLIGHTS

As of January 2023, 124 weekly flights will serve Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) from Canadians gateways. They include:

• Air Canada: Montreal – 34 flights weekly; Toronto – 28; Ottawa – 7; Quebec City – 7
• WestJet: Toronto – 15; Calgary – 1
• Air Transat: Toronto – 7; Montreal – 7; Quebec City – 4
• Flair: Toronto – 7 Montreal – 3; Ottawa – 4

HOTEL

Hilton Fort Lauderdale

• The Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina recently renovated all 595 guestrooms. The upscale, nautically inspired hotel continued renovations with its meeting space inclusive of two ballrooms. Renovations to the meeting space, lobby and public space were completed in November 2021. The hotel is currently constructing a new waterfront ballroom and a rooftop bar and restaurant overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway, scheduled to be completed later this year.

• avid hotel Ft. Lauderdale Airport – Cruise opened in Dania Beach in April. The 101-room hotel is minutes away from the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and a 15-minute drive to downtown Fort Lauderdale, the beach, and Port Everglades cruise terminal. Visitors will enjoy guest-centric hallmarks such as best-in-class room design for sound sleeping, seamless technology, and a high-quality grab-and-go breakfast.

• The new 22-storey Four Seasons Hotel and Residences Fort Lauderdale opened in March with luxurious guestrooms and residences, two restaurants, a spa, fitness centre, and ballroom and meeting facilities. The Ocean Sun Deck is home to two horizon-edge pools and the hotel’s signature dining experience, Evelyn’s Fort Lauderdale. Honey Fitz, on the first level, offers gourmet coffee creations and handcrafted pastries during the day and natural wines, grower champagne, and cocktails in the evening. An additional restaurant concept overlooking Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard is anticipated to debut this fall.

• AC Hotel Fort Lauderdale Beach opened in February just steps away from Sebastian Street Beach in Fort Lauderdale. The 171-room hotel boasts ocean views, an open kitchen for European-style breakfast and specialty culinary events, a library, an expansive resort-style pool with cabanas and dining services, and extensive, flexible meeting space.

2021 openings

• Located in the heart of Dania Pointe, Marriott Fort Lauderdale Airport at Dania Beach and AC Hotel Fort Lauderdale Airport opened in September 2021. Comfort meets sophistication with thoughtfully designed open spaces, breathtaking views, meeting rooms, an infinity pool with cabanas, and top-class restaurants and bars.

• Tru by Hilton and Home2Suites by Hilton Pompano Beach Pier opened a 150-room hotel in June 2021. The dual-branded hotel features a fitness area, saline pool and a rooftop deck featuring spectacular 360-degree views of the Atlantic Ocean, Pompano Beach Fishing Pier, the Hillsboro Lighthouse, the Intracoastal Waterway and all the action below in Pompano Beach Fishing Village.

• Beach Kimpton Goodland Hotel – Fort Lauderdale opened in April 2021 at the location of the former and historic Escape Hotel. The Goodland offers a tucked-away oasis of lush greenery and tropical landscaping paired. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Botanic at The Kimpton Goodland Hotel serves up bold, healthful, and eclectic flavours that feature local ingredients and Latin and Caribbean influences. Set amongst lush landscaping, the adjacent, secluded pool-side Good Bar offers a decidedly more relaxed scene.

• AC Hotel Fort Lauderdale Sawgrass Mills/Sunrise opened in March 2021, located adjacent to Sawgrass Mills mall and steps away from the BB&T Centre. The eight-storey hotel is the first new hotel opening in Sunrise, Fla., in the past 15 years. The European style designed hotel features 174 stylishly sleek guest rooms, a lavish onsite lounge, and a lustrous rooftop bar called Horizon Bar and Lounge, which can accommodate up to 300 guests for a reception. The hotel specializes in European style breakfasts, Spanish style tapas, local craft beer and specialty cocktails.

• Courtyard Fort Lauderdale Downtown opened in March 2021, bringing 137 rooms into the trendy, arts-oriented Flagler Village section of downtown Fort Lauderdale. Features include a state-of-the-art lobby, two meeting rooms with a total of 215 sq. m. of flexible meeting space. The hotel also features The Easton, a rooftop venue with a pool.

• Cambria Hotel Lauderdale Beach opened in January 2021. The 104-room hotel offers ocean views, a meeting room, coffee bar, pool deck and fitness room.

• Hotel Maren Fort Lauderdale Beach, a Curio Collection by Hilton opened its doors in January 2021 on A1A overlooking Fort Lauderdale beach. The stunning 12-storey hotel features 141 luxurious resort rooms, oversize balconies, and breathtaking ocean views. Amenities include a VIP lounge, Ocean Club, 5th floor pool and pool bar, and a state-of-the-art fitness centre. The ground floor centerpiece restaurant Riviera features coastal Italian cuisine with Mediterranean influences by celebrity chef Fabio Viviano, known for his turn as a “Top Chef” contestant.

DINING & ENTERTAINMENT

Planta Queen

• Vegan and plant-based restaurant, Planta Queen, opened in April in Fort Lauderdale. The 410-sq.-m. location features vegan dishes with bold Asian flavors, including sushi, dumplings, and noodles.

• Carousel Club, appropriately named as the bar features an antique carousel, opened at Gulfstream Park in April. The new open-air gathering spot promises cool cocktails, delicious eats, and exciting entertainment from day-to-night, including spectacular views of thoroughbred horse races and live DJs spinning.

• Tacocraft Taqueria & Tequila Bar in Plantationis the largest location for the Mexican concept and the first to have both indoor and outdoor bars, as well as two patios, with abundant seating for 125 indoors and 50 outdoors.

• A notable addition to the Fort Lauderdale scene and hidden on the third floor of Salt 7, Sushi By Bou Beach Club offers a 60-minute 17-course omakase experience at a 10-seat counter where the choice of sushi is left entirely up to the chef. The menu consists of the freshest of fish, both locally sourced and brought in from all over the world. For $125 per seat, seasoned sushi chefs serve guests directly, guiding them through the meal, providing a truly exclusive and personalized experience. The space’s fun, disco and pop-art theme serves as a great backdrop to the high-energy party atmosphere and premium bottle service.

• Jaffa has debuted the expansion of its popular Israeli and Mediterranean cuisine concept to Hallandale. Helmed by Executive Chef Yaniv Cohen (winner of the season finale of Netflix’s “Best Leftovers Ever!”), Jaffa attracts locals and visitors alike with its Kosher-style, Glatt kosher meat and dairy-free menu as well as a vast array of vegan dishes accompanied by an authentic Mediterranean and Israeli wine section.

• Ya Mas! opened in February on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. Meaning “Cheers” in Greek, Ya Mas! transports guests to a lively taverna found on Mykonos or Santorini.

• Big Buns, a fast-casual dining spot, opened in downtown Fort Lauderdale in February with 40 indoor and 75 outdoor seats. The menu offers a variety of burgers, bowls, sides, and over-the-top shakes.

Sunset Club Rooftop Bar & Lounge opened at Costa Hollywood Beach Hotel in February.

• Coyo Taco opened in Fort Lauderdale in February. In addition to handmade corn tortillas, the taqueria features a bar with more than 50 tequila and mezcal selections, plus entertainment with live DJs.

• Moréa, a Mediterranean oceanfront dining oasis, opened in January on Fort Lauderdale beach. The spacious 275-seat dining destination offers an indoor dining room, spacious bar/lounge area, and a gorgeous waterfront patio and bar. Award-winning artist and Chihuly protege, Doug Frates, designed the interior with a breathtaking two-story glass wall installation as well as several signature hanging pieces imported from Italy.

• The Katherine, a seafood- and vegetable-focused restaurant, opened in January in downtown Fort Lauderdale. James Beard-nominated chef Timon Balloo showcases his quintessential home-style dinners infused with the cuisine of his Chinese, Indian and Trinidadian roots. Balloo describes the menu and vibe of this 46-seater with 12 patio seats as “elevated neighbourhood.”

• The Angeles, part restaurant and part nightlife/entertainment venue, opened inside a transformed church in downtown Fort Lauderdale in December. The two-story nightclub destination features a 220-seat, full-service restaurant called Holly Blue, with indoor and outdoor dining, along with an event space. The club can accommodate 700 people, including 75-100 in the VIP area overlooking the dance floor.

• Batch New Southern Kitchen and Tap in Fort Lauderdale’s Flagler Village features a farm-to-table menu of southern comfort food, the restaurant also offers garden-to-glass cocktails and an extensive whiskey collection. The 280-sq.-m. outdoor patio is ideal for enjoying breezy nights and sunny weekend brunches.

• No Man’s Land, a cocktail bar, lounge, and eatery is the brainchild of Memphis Garrett of CBS’s Big Brother All Stars and offers crafted cocktails and inventive small plates.

• The elegant beachfront restaurant DUNE by Laurent Tourondel opened in November inside the Auberge Beach Residences and Spa in Fort Lauderdale. Helmed by the Michelin-starred chef, DUNE offers an elevated dining experience and contemporary American cuisine characterized by an emphasis on creativity and innovation.

• Fort Lauderdale hotspot YOLO reopened after a multimillion-dollar renovation to the restaurant and O Lounge next store.

• MatchBox opened in Fort Lauderdale in April with 90 indoor and 124 outdoor seats with a 250-sq.-m. patio. The menu will offer specialty cocktails with a wide range of Italian-American cuisine including brick oven pizzas, salads, bowls, sandwiches, burgers and more.

ON THE HORIZON

Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Centre

• The first phase of the expanded Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Centre opened in 2021. Work on the remainder of the US$1.3 billion expansion continues, including the new eastside expansion with waterfront ballrooms, meetings rooms and kitchen facilities, a 2.4-hectare outdoor waterfront plaza and an 800-room, five-storey Omni headquarters hotel interconnected with the convention centre. Completion is expected in late 2025.

• The Bite Eatery, the first food hall in Pompano Beach, will soon open a few blocks away from the beach and the Pompano Fishing Pier. The 250-seat venue will feature The Beach Bar, a central full-liquor bar, plus nine food vendors.

The Victory Entertainment Complex in Fort Lauderdale’s historic Sistrunk neighbourhood will open in spring 2023. The venue will feature a distillery, cigar bar, rooftop area, and a wine and whiskey lounge.

Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina, a South Florida icon for more than 50 years, is going through a total reimagination of the destination. Upon completion the hotel will have 376 guest rooms & suites, multi-level pool experience with family and adult areas, lobby lounge, Pier Top lounge, spa, fitness center, kids club, marina promenade and residential offerings. The hotel is officially closed, but the marina and Pelican Landing remain open, welcoming guests and boaters. Expected reopening 2024.

For more info and trip planning inspiration, www.visitlauderdale.com.

First published at Travel Industry Today

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