Fort Lauderdale Inches Closer to Becoming the Riviera of America

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Dining rendering of Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach

A luxury vibe is rolling into in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood, Fla., via a wave of new high-end and hyperlocal restaurants and hotels.

It all began with the opening of Hyde Resort & Residences this past January, a 362-suite property overlooking the Atlantic with infinity pools, a sprawling sun deck, eco-spa and a curated art collection that extends to the property’s two meeting spaces (for up to 75). European-inspired decor, seasonal menus, craft cocktails and two “see and be seen” dining venues top off the experience.

The new Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, offering 290 studios and suites, will bring 30,000 sf of indoor/outdoor meeting space to the area when it opens later this year. The resort hotel will have an international vibe with a twist, reflected in everything from “poolside elegance” and other highbrow design touches to customized services and amenities (the events team will even create personalized group webpages) and Mediterranean-inspired al fresco dining.

The 23-story Four Seasons Hotel and Residences Fort Lauderdale will also bring it when it opens in 2018 in terms of top-notch hotel amenities offered to attendees. The 150-room oceanfront hotel (and 95 residences) will offer beach butlers, a freshwater lagoon, wildlife and walking trails and vast views of the Intracoastal Waterway, thanks to its position along what’s being dubbed the “yachting Riviera.” The Riviera hugs a luxury marina and palm-lined Las Olas Boulevard, where shopping and cultural activities abound. Revamps at the W Fort Lauderdale and Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, and the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale’s total brand transformation have also revved up the luxury vibe.

Visiting meeting and incentive groups will also have a smorgasbord of new dining options to try. Of note is Bravo’s “Top Chef” star Josie-Smith Malave’s champagne raw bar, Bubbles & Pearls, in Wilton Manors, and One Door East’s internationally inspired small plates and cocktails (the venue is literally one door east of Valentino’s in Fort Lauderdale). On the activity side of things, yacht charters are popular cocktail hangouts for corporate groups, but Shipwreck Park’s underwater art exhibits, a centerpiece of the 324-ft Lady Luck ship-turned-reef that was sunk just north of Fort Lauderdale off of Pompano Beach, is soon to become a major diving attraction. There are 16 additional shipwrecks in the area that groups can explore.

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