The Pillars Hotel, a boutique hotel on the Intracoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is an oasis of tranquility. The hotel is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World and has received many awards over the years for its excellent service. My husband and I feel that the Pillars is probably the finest small hotel in South Florida. When we want to relax and forget about the pressures of everyday life, a few days stay at the Pillars is a real treat.
The area of Fort Lauderdale Beach where The Pillars Hotel is located seems to be the “hot and trendy” spot where everyone wants to be. It is called the “Venice of America” because of all the canals lined with multimillion dollar homes, mega yachts, and outdoor cafes and waterfront restaurants. There are many towering oceanfront hotels in the area where we could stay but my husband and I prefer this charming two story, eighteen room boutique hotel which is known for its gracious and personalized service.
We think the hotel is in the prefect location…an easy five minute walk to the famous white sand beach, restaurants and all the popular tourist spots. What also makes it so appealing is that it is just far enough removed from the traffic and crowds to be able to peacefully relax by the pool enjoying the shade of the palm trees, the tropical breezes and a cooling beverage.
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The Pillars Hotel was originally created from a two story home built in the 1930’s and a small motel. When driving by, you might not guess that the yellow building with tall white columns surrounded by lush tropical foliage is a hotel.
After parking on the circular drive, you enter through the tall front door into the casually elegant lounge area.
With comfy sofas on either side of the fireplace, a harp and a chess table nearby, you have the feeling you are visiting someone’s lovely beach home. The decor is a mix of classic British Colonial and modern Art Deco with dark woods and pale walls hung with original artwork.
After registering, head to the bar or the sophisticated yet comfortable lounge area to enjoy your welcoming glass of prosecco or wine before heading to your room to unpack.
We usually stay in the Intracoastal Suite, a large corner room with a nice sitting area on the ground floor. Three walls of white plantation shutters offer privacy when needed yet let in lots of natural light during the day with views out to the Intracoastal, the pool and the tropical gardens. We have also stayed in the hotel’s King Deluxe Poolside room, smaller than the suite but also very nice.
All of the hotel rooms face towards the pool and garden courtyard. Outside each room, there is a small table with two chairs. It is a nice place to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning in your bathrobe or bathing suit while reading the newspaper that is brought to your door each morning. In nice weather, you can also have breakfast on the dock.
During our stay, we try to have a couple of dinners at the hotel’s restaurant, The Secret Garden. It is only available to the guests of the hotel and members of the hotel’s Secret Dining Club. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the hotel’s intimate dining room with views out to the pool courtyard, tropical garden and the Intracoastal waterway.
In nice weather you can also eat poolside or at one of the white linen covered, candlelit tables along the dock. There is nothing quite as enjoyable as a romantic dinner at sunset while listening to soft music and watching large yachts cruise by on the Intracoastal.
My husband and I first started coming to The Pillars when we lived in New England. We would fly south to celebrate our anniversary and at the same time take a much needed break from the cold and snow. We now live in a small yet charming beach town on the east coast of Florida where cold and snow aren’t part of our lives. When we now drive two hours south to the cosmopolitan city of Fort Lauderdale, we go for great shopping, wonderful restaurants and to visit family and friends in the area. We try to make the most of the “big city life” but we also enjoy the tranquility that we find at The Pillars.
The hotel is a hidden gem among all the towering ocean front hotels with names you will instantly recognize. While some of those famous chain hotels are starting to show their age, each time we visit The Pillars Hotel it always looks fresh. The bedding has been updated as well as some of the furniture but one thing that never changes is the warm welcome and genuine hospitality that is shown to us during each of our stays.