Most of us at some point or another long for the rolling hills of Tuscany or the incredibly gorgeous beaches of the Fiji Islands. But whether it’s surf or turf you’re after, Fort Lauderdale, known as America’s Venice, and just 45 minutes away from West Palm Beach, can easily match the offerings of your favorite Mediterranean destination, and most likely satisfy your desire at a fraction of the cost.
For proof, look no further than Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa, where I had the pleasure of staying overnight this past Sunday. The facility, service, food, spa, and overall value of this resort is superb. Located on A1A between Pompano Beach and Fort Lauderdale, this oceanfront resort is the ultimate family and business coastal getaway, and just minutes away from Fort Lauderdale International Airport and Interstate 95.
While the resort is in the vicinity of a cluster of other boutique-style hotels and mainstream restaurants—proving that the main plus of Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa is its enviable location—it’s an enduring favorite for travelers and locals. What’s not to like?
The ocean vistas; family friendly ambiance; the banquet halls, where couples host their engagements, weddings, and receptions; the meeting rooms, where businesses can present workshops and seminars and then enjoy the pleasures provided by the resorts’ various amenities and facilities, including McCoy’s Oceanfront Restaurant.
As part of my Marriott resort experience, I had dinner there last Sunday night, and I dare say, I will be hitting I-95 South real soon to get there just in time for their happy hour. Nothing can describe relaxation better than seating by the island shaped pool, listening to Calypso music, while sipping a glass of McCoy’s house Chardonnay, paired by McCoy’s Wings, with its delicious McCoy’s sauce. Simply marvelous. If Executive Chef, Eric Kaszubinski, oversaw this culinary treat, which was prepared by chefs Derek Erasting and Tristan Duke, his new menu based on American traditional seafood dishes needs to be applauded.
Later that night, my friend and I had the chance to explore the rest of his menu. We enjoyed a pleasant dinner, which consisted of starters, salads, entrees, and desserts, topped with a couple glasses of McCoy’s best house wines. The dinner impressed us, as you typically wouldn’t expect food this good coming from a hotel. For starters, I had the Seafood Frito, a tasty mixed blend of fried rock shrimp and calamari, with lemon and chipotle aioli. My friend had the Fresh Catch Seafood Chowder, consisting of sofrito, saffron, and rum. Yum!
Next, came our salads, followed by our entrees. My selection was a perfectly well-cooked eight-ounce Prime Skirt Steak, with fried yucca, chimichurri, and charred tomatoes. The steak was so tender it melted in my mouth, and the fried yucca was crispy and soft—the perfect combination.
My friend opted for the Lake Meadows Chicken, with haricot verts and goat cheese polenta herb jus. Between us, we also tried the Farro Risotto, which was a wonderful addition to our already delicious entrees. The risotto dish consists of boat scallops, gulf shrimps, English peas, summer squash, baby spinach, and pancetta. I learned that McCoy’s chefs work with the local fishing community to supply the freshest fish caught daily, and thus present “ocean to table” cuisine.
To finish off, I ordered the Dark Chocolate Brownie that comes with a sinful salted caramel sauce, vanilla bean ice cream, and topped by spicy pecans. I am an ice cream lover, so this was no surprise to my friend, who actually surprised me by not ordering her favorite Florida Key Lime pie. Instead, she opted for the Black Forest Cheesecake, an Oreo crusted concoction with bourbon cherries. Great selection, I might add, as I had a chance to take a small bite of it and it was wonderful.
Later on, I took a tour of Fort Lauderdale and its surrounding areas and captured the night scene in Las Olas, where there are many extraordinary restaurants and fun and preppy hideaways to be explored as well.
On the brink of a brand new day, I stepped out of my room, #7702, in the South Tower—a beautiful room decorated in a modern coastal style framed in wood and metal, with hues of blues and grays that complimented the amazing view of the Atlantic Ocean. I traveled down to the third floor to the fitness area, and where SiSpa is also located—an impressing and careful blend of calm and tranquility to soothe your mind, body, and soul.
After a long weekend, I had a delightful appointment with SiSpa, which promised to offer the sanctuary my body was seeking. It did not disappoint. “My soul is full of longing for the secret of sea,” SiSpa quotes author Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for good reason. All their products are made with sea ingredients that create a unique blend to transform your skin.
Magdalia, my masseuse therapist, is a petite woman but you wouldn’t know it by the power in her hands. She put the necessary pressure on many sore spots throughout my body to release the tension in my bones and muscles, making it a soothing and memorable spa experience.
As I left Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa later that morning, and I thought: perhaps I was not under the Tuscan sun or under a palm tree on a private island, but Fort Lauderdale was sunny and the ocean breeze surely felt good on my sun kissed skin.
If you are planning a quick getaway close to home, be sure to explore Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa located at 1200 North Ocean Blvd, Pompano Beach, Florida, or call 954.782.0100 to make a reservation. To view the resort’s amenities online, and find their current packages, visit their website.