The Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa pretty much has everything you’d ever want at a full-service resort (including poolside service, a tiki bar on the beach and a giant pool with a DJ).
Just two miles from Las Olas Boulevard and the Fort Liquor-dale spring breakers lining AIA, the wide, secluded strand of beach at the Harbor Beach Marriott feels eons away from the traffic jams on I-95. Once that coconut mojito’s in your hand, that big-city bustle seems far away. Throw your shoes to the side and pick up the ping pong paddles for a table tennis game in the sand. Or stay dry(er) and toss around oversize bean bags for the largest cornhole game you’ve ever seen. Rent kayaks, paddleboards, Hobie Cats or take a surf lesson if getting in the water is the only way to spend the afternoon. The area is a favorite of kitesurfers, too, since the Atlantic breezes can pick up considerably, cooling things down on shore and heating them up for local athletes who can’t wait to get on that board and fly across the waves.
Shade and sun are equally in abundance at the pool deck, which features a tropical water feature, a DJ spinning party tunes, and plenty of chairs so you’re never left waiting for a seat. Rent a cabana for a little privacy or reserve a double daybed for extra comfort.
If it’s serenity you seek, the 22,000-square-foot spa has a connecting adults-only pool, which lies adjacent to the main pool, but sequestered on a separate deck. For $30, you can use the spa facilities (including the adults-only pool, steam room, sauna, relaxation room) during your stay without having to commit to a treatment. If a massage table competes with those beach loungers for your attention, book the signature Tropical Tiki Bliss massage, which uses heated bamboo to melt away sore muscles.
The 16 acres the resort sits on is idyllic Florida, with swaying palms and expansive beachfront views that’ll inspire you to rise with the sun. Dinner at the recently renovated (as of late 2015) James Beard Award-nominated 3030 Ocean (formerly home to Hell’s Kitchen winner Paula DaSilva, who is now succeeded by another competitive-TV-cooking-winner chef Adrienne Grenier, who prevailed on Food Network’s Chopped), sports some of the best local seafood in the area, like wahoo sashimi with black garlic, Florida clams with bacon and squid-ink linguini with peekytoe crab.