I am particular about the hotels and resorts I visit when traveling on vacation, and I am happy to report that Pillars exceeded my expectations. My family and I were boarding a cruise ship over the Thanksgiving holiday, and four of us needed a nice place to stay prior to boarding so that we could address some other pressing matters in south Florida.
Pillars is tucked away right on the intercoastal, and this eighteen room, boutique property delivers on all fronts.The scoop:
It's about a twenty minute drive from Fort Lauderdale airport, and fifteen minutes from the cruise embarkation port, making it convenient to both locations. The hotel will gladly pick you up at the airport and drop you off, but we needed a car and made our way there on our own.
The property is more "inn" than "hotel", so be prepared to find a fairly non-descript property, and we honestly weren't certain that we'd found it when we pulled up. As nice as the web site is to tell you to look out for a yellow building, it's difficult to make out at night, and that's when we arrived.
The location on the intercoastal is devine, and we opted to take a water taxi to a restaurant on our second night, which was a terrific idea. For those that don't know, Lauderdale's intercoastal contains some of the more opulent homes and over-the-top yachts anywhere, so taking a forty minute boat ride through the nonsense was a pleasant surprise. The hotel needs to call the water taxi and let them know when you'll be ready, as the hotel's dock isn't a scheduled stop.
2) The rooms
We stayed in a wonderful suite, upstairs and overlooking their small (read intimate) pool. In fact, all rooms overlook the pool and intercoastal. Some rooms also come with enlarged balconies and cabanas, but we chose not to go that route, as we aren't sun worshippers.
The suite was well-appointed, with an oversized living room, frankly over-the-top closet space, substantial windows, and a french door leading to a cozy living area with a soft, comfortable sofa.
Our travel partners stayed in a "deluxe room", which they reported was comfortable but not over the top.
The bathroom was very nice, but if I'm honest, I'd have preferred a shower and tub, instead of just a tub. Sorry, but I just prefer that, though it might not be important to others.
3) The restaurant
Pillars has a wonderful restaurant, not the best I've ever dined at, but certainly excellent, and worthy of a good dinner. I had hoped to dine on their dock on the intercoastal, and had heard much about that adding to the experience, but it rained heavily that evening and we were forced to dine indoors.
4) The experience
I'm not a huge fan of B&B's, and was a little hesitant about booking Pillars. I know others love that experience, but the idea of sitting with strangers on a sofa making small-talk doesn't really thrill me.
Perhaps it's that there are eigtheen rooms, but somehow, though we found ourselves sitting and chatting with others, I didn't feel the pressure to "perform". Once again...it was excellent.
It's a block and a half off the beach, so it's also convenient if that's what you'd prefer doing.
It's a block and a half from the Ritz, and though I'm a huge fan of five star resorts, for a shorter stay, I'd opt for Pillars, and I wouldn't say that about all smaller properties.
That water taxi will take you to at least a dozen excellent restaurants, and scores of average ones. Though Pillars is a smaller property, you won't feel locked in there.
The one negative
Typical of smaller properties, the staff is excellent and attentive, but they aren't nearly as staffed as a larger property. There are times that I found myself waiting around to find the desk person. Wasn't a big deal, but I'm simply going to be honest.
Bottom line: go there, and enjoy yourself. good choice.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated on New River Sound, a block from the beach, the Pillars Hotel is a beautiful mix of classical British Colonial architecture and 30's "Art Deco". Well-known for its magical sunsets, unpretentious service and its special dining experience, the hotel caters to travelers looking for a sophisticated intimate venue. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Pillars