My husband and I took our two children to Ft. Lauderdale for Spring Break and after two nights at the HIlton (booked using different rewards) we spent the remaining four nights of our trip at the Ritz. Our family life is hectic during the school year so we figure a stay at a luxury hotel is worth the money for a nice break from the craziness of it all.
The hotel is nice, no doubt, albeit a departure from more typical Ritz getup with its expansive marble lobby and more modern decor. However, we did not leave the hotel thinking what a great, relaxed stay we had, as we did when visiting, say, Ritz Naples, Ritz Key Biscayne or even Ritz St. Louis.
On our first evening there we arrived at the pool at 4:30 p.m. We had to scout around for a while to figure out where the pool towels were kept, since none of the pool guys were in sight. After finding the towels behind a desk we swam for a bit, then tried tracking down the poolside waitstaff. They had no problems helping the crowds of hipsters at the bar who seemd to be attending a hotel wedding that weekend, but for some reason to order our kids meals and burgers we had to literally circle the bar for five minutes until someone finally got our attention and took our order. Later on another waiter grudgingly brought the food eventually to our table. I was rather unsettled by this initial experience, and I decided to ask to speak with a manager at the front desk later on that evening, and asked what time the pool closes... she told me that the pool closes at 5:00. OK, no wonder, I thought, maybe we just got there too late, and decided to end it right there...except that the next day I read a sign near the hot tub (the broken one closer to the door that remained broken throughout our stay) that listed the pool as being open until 6:00. Hmm. Whatever. We order lunch poolside for the rest of our stay, and one server was helpful, although it was hard to grab someone...the pool is obviously understaffed.
On one night, after housekeeping had left, we found that there were still crumbs and paper remnants left on the carpet, and called the front desk (there is no separate housekeeping number in the hotel phone directory) to ask that they actually vacuum the rug. It was vacuumed, but ew...this is housekeeping service not befitting a luxury hotel. There is turndown service, which is always nice, but that hotel staff, like the help at the front desk, the restaurant staff, etc., is not always welcoming and with a positive attitude, and it is not always easy to get the help that you want. Ridiculous. I feel that I have something to compare this service to, as just before we stayed at the HIlton (refer to that review), where staff was literally verywhere, and extremely helpful and accommodating.
On our last evening we went downstairs to eat at Via Luna, and the hostess curtly informed us that they were not seating yet for dinner. Perhaps she thought we were not hotel guests judging from her snobby attitude and thus not worthy of her time...when we left the hotel lobby there were many parties sitting on the outside tables eating....why we coudn't have had one of those tables is beyond me.
All in all, should we ever revisit Ft. Lauderdale, this hotel is not worth a repeat visit. I give it three stars only because the decor is still nice, and the rooms are decent (not great). However, now way is this hotel worth the going rates. I will gladly stay again at any of the other Ritz properties I've visited, just not this one.
P.S. This hotel does have a beachfront location connected by a seventh floor walkway from the pool on that floor. However, it is a little jarring that Spring Break Central is literally right next to the hotel (along with the cheesy Fat Tuesdays, and other establishments of dubious nature.) In that area the bodies during warmer days were literally packed like sardines, with significant overflow onto the beach property in front of the Ritz. I have no judgments against partying, drunk college kids hanging out like sardines in string bikinis and tattoos all over...we were all young once. I just don't necessarily want to witness this when I'm paying luxury hotel rates to have a quiet family vacation. Just down the road there are other beachfront hotels with mre manageable crowd control.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale infuses the Gold Coast with casual luxury as the city's first and only AAA Five Diamond hotel. The 24-story, dramatically tiered and glass walled structure has sweeping curves that are reminiscent of a luxury liner. Design elements recall the 1940's, with artwork that includes playful murals inspired by French artist Jean Cocteau and a 13-foot high mural of a seascape inspired by the 1880 painting, "King Neptune and His Horses." The property features 192 guest rooms and suites; a 2,200 square foot Club Lounge, 24,000 square feet of light-filled meeting space; a 29,000 square foot oceanfront sundeck with an infinity pool and private cabanas; destination Spa with an organic and active-botanical treatment menu and a water-view fitness center. Four dining and entertainment options include the new Via Luna Italian grill with seating indoors or al fresco on an oceanfront patio, the dramatic oceanfront Via Luna Bar, a private Wine Room with a 5,000 bottle wine cellar and a seventh floor Poolside Cafe with commanding ocean views. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale Hotel Fort Lauderdale
- Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale
- Fort Lauderdale Ritz Carlton
- St Regis Fort Lauderdale
- St Regis Ft Lauderdale