Tropical warmth, yacht filled waterways and lush vegetation can mean only one thing. My husband and I have arrived in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, often called the Venice of America. If you have been following along, you know that we chose to drive down the east coast on Interstate 95 with stops in Alexandria, Va. and Charleston, S.C. before reaching our destination of Florida to visit family and friends.
Ft. Lauderdale has long been a destination for people seeking to escape the cold of winter. Made famous in the movie Where the Boys Are, it has long been known as a wild party town for college kids on spring break. The city has worked hard to change that image and it is now thought of as the yachting capital of the world by people associated with the boating industry.
Many people would choose a hotel on the beach with views of the Atlantic and ocean breezes. If you are young, single, have a perfectly tanned body and are ready to party, then the beach location would be perfect. If you are seeking a more tranquil, laid back Florida vibe with a little luxury, then you would be very happy staying at The Pillars.
We have been staying at smaller, boutique hotels on this trip and The Pillars is perfect. It is a member of the Small Luxury Hotel group and only has eighteen rooms. Instead of being located on the beach, it is located on the Intercoastal Waterway with views of mansions and yachts docked outside the huge homes.
The charming hotel is decorated in a modern deco style with dark woods, white walls, large mirrors, black and white photos, and original art. It has a casual yet sophisticated feel. The friendly ambiance and personalized service will keep us coming back to this lovely hotel.
Upon check in, we were offered a glass of wine which we enjoyed poolside with our friends who flew in from Connecticut to meet us. (That explains why we couldn’t stay longer in Alexandria or Charleston.) It is always nice to unwind at the end of a long day of driving and this spot couldn’t have been nicer.
The hotel has a very nice restaurant. If the weather is nice, you can eat out on the dock for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
The evening was very windy and threatening rain so dinner was served inside in the lovely small restaurant. All four of us enjoyed delicious fresh seafood.
The next day was cloudy and very windy so it was not a good day for sitting out by the pool. (I know…it is winter and I can’t complain that I can’t sit by the pool. There is snow on the ground and it is freezing at home. I can dream though, can’t I.) We decided to drive down to Miami Beach and have lunch at the world famous Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant.Joe’s doesn’t take reservations and the wait for dinner can be hours. Tip of the day…go to Joe’s for lunch. Order their famous cole slaw, creamed spinach, hash browns and of course, their world famous stone crabs with mustard sauce.
This is beginning to make up for not getting a little tan today (see…I’m still dreaming). Now there is just one thing left to make this the perfect meal, key lime pie for dessert.
This restaurant has changed over the years, but one thing remains the same…you must go to Joe’s. After you have had your meal or if you must wait for a table, take a walk around the restaurant. There is a lovely courtyard with beautiful tropical plants, antique clocks everywhere and great black and white photos of early Florida.
Our time in Ft. Lauderdale felt like a real vacation. Now this may sound strange to you but when we travel to Florida we are going to visit family and friends. We lived in Florida for years…it was home. We didn’t do touristy things…it was home. This trip was different because I was with new friends, you my readers.
I wanted to look at Florida through your eyes…as a first time visitor. I hope you have enjoyed this visit as much as I have.