Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel Review via @TravelLatte.net

Our Stay at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort

We recently stayed at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, a four-and-a-half star hotel according to TripAdvisor. Having read through several of the more than 4400 reviews, we can agree with most of the positives, and must say we did not experience any of the issues reported in the recent negative reviews. That doesn’t mean our stay was perfect but, overall, it was far from bad.

Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel Review via @TravelLatte.net

Though across the street from the sea, the Hilton offers easy access to Fort Lauderdale Beach at Riomar.

Several times during this visit, we commented how the hotel or staff deserved “cool points” for this or that, and occasionally had to deduct points from our running tally. Then it hit us: maybe we should use our Cool Points as a rating scale. On one hand, it would be pretty subjective and tailored to our expectations, likes and dislikes but, on the other hand, it would be way more fun than assigning a random number of stars!

Starting Before We Begin

Before you get to the hotel, you have to decide on a hotel. This was our first trip to Fort Lauderdale, and we really had one goal in mind: Beach. Proximity was key, and we considered several hotels, taking note of important factors such as “number of steps to the water.” Of course, we like eating, so “number of steps to restaurants” was important, too.

We couldn’t find a location that scored big Cool Points on both. Right up front, the Hilton gets a negative 1,000 Cool Points for having to cross a street to get to the beach. However, since that seems pretty normal for Fort Lauderdale, they get 900 Cool Points back for being as close to the beach as they could be. All things being equal, removing the street would be a 100 point bonus.

To be fair, we did have to walk a few blocks to get to some restaurants. We don’t consider this a negative because A) We like walking on the beach to get to anywhere, and B) The need to work off some of the deliciousness we counted on packing in. If you like a busy beachfront restaurant / boutique scene, there are several hotels that are closer to Beach Place and Las Olas, the epicenter of the area. Balance that against Cool Points for NOT being closer to the crowds and noise. You pick which you like better and give (or take) about 200 Cool Points, depending on your preference. As mentioned, we liked the walk; +200 Cool Points.

(By the way, Fort Lauderdale gets 25,000 Cool Points for having such a nice beachfront sidewalk to stroll along. Although, again, removing the road would add to the score.)

Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel Review via @TravelLatte.net

Restaurants and Shops line A1A (Fort Lauderdale Blvd) near Las Olas Beach, within a mile from the Hilton.

The Hotel Experience

The guy who checked us in – and out, and seemed to be working whenever we had a question – was a Cool Points Rock Star: thoroughly professional, very informative, and genuinely friendly. We knew that, if he was any indication of the culture here, we were going to be giving out Cool Points like candy at a Star Wars Halloween Party. For his part, an easy 1,000 Cool Points, and probably worth more.

Here’s the exchange that catapulted him into Rock Star status: “Do you have any room preference? High floor, low floor…” We had never been at this hotel, so had no idea what to ask for. “You want ocean views, right?” Duh! “Let me put you up on the 23rd floor. You’ll have a view all the way down the beach.” Score! 500 Cool Points right there, with a 1k bonus if the room really does have a great view. Note: We have the exalted “tarnished copper” status (aka: bottom end Blue Tier) in Hilton’s loyalty program, so we’re confident that had nothing to do with the room selection.

Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel Review via @TravelLatte.net

We were concerned about the resort being across the street from the beach, but soaking in this view every day was just what we hoped for.

The Resort Fee Issue

Let’s be honest: Resort Fees are a scam. Mandatory fees should be part of the advertised room rate, just as airlines have to include fees in advertised fares. To do otherwise is simply dishonest, and any hotel that still does this automatically loses 1-million Cool Points in our book. Most hotels can’t recover from that kind of setback, but we have to give kudos – and Cool Points – to this Hilton for actually justifying their resort fees. Sort of.

While booking, and again on our confirmation, we were told the $25 daily resort fee included two bottled waters, two Venti Starbucks drip coffees, unlimited Wi-Fi (as in, we could connect all two billion devices we travel with), a 10% discount in the gift shop, 20% discount in the spa, and two beach chairs per day. Through an arrangement with the city, beach umbrellas are available at $20/day and are not included in the resort fee.

Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel Review via @TravelLatte.net

Among other things, the Resort Fee paid for a pair of beach chairs every day; optional umbrellas were $20 from the City of Ft. Lauderdale. Totally worth it.

We were so shocked that a hotel would offer something of any value in exchange for a resort fee that we dropped our jaws…and our million-point penalty. Does the value match the fee? Unlimited Wi-Fi, in our opinion, should be a given at any hotel at any time, and the discounts are negligible unless you plan on spending more than a hundred dollars. We sometimes pay $40 or more per day for a beach chair in south Florida, though, so this was our break even point. However, had we not planned on using that beach chair every day, the Million Point Penalty would stand and we would have booked elsewhere.

Our Room

(Ed. Note: A “smart” technology malfunction conveniently erased all room pictures and most interior photos from our visit. We can attest the hotel’s room photos are accurate, but they don’t show a whole lot. We’ll go ahead and dock ourselves a gazillion Cool Points for the technology fail.)

Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel Review via @TravelLatte.net

A Room with a view worth a thousand Cool Points! When you go, ask for a higher floor on the north side – The lot next door is empty, so the view is great!

The promised ocean views were delivered, so we had to make good on our 1.5k Bonus Cool Points. We also gladly gave away some points for having a fan in the bathroom, a small kitchenette, and lots of places to plug in our devices. The staff earned some points by quickly delivering requests for more towels and amenities, and including sunburn care in those amenities was worth a ton of Cool Points!

On the other hand, a handprint on the sliding window was there when we checked in, and stayed there until we wiped it off ourselves a couple days later. That’s worth at least 500 Gross Points, which transfer at a 2-to-1 ratio. Everything else was clean and in great condition. We had an in-room safe in our decently sized closet, and the standard one luggage rack. If a hotel ever puts two of those in a room, that would be a quick 100 bonus Cool Points. We still don’t understand why hotels don’t get that.

Our Resort

As we move to the remainder of the property, this Hilton is sitting pretty with just under 2,000 Cool Points in their pocket.

We booked a Bed & Breakfast rate, and must say the breakfast was excellent. Far from your standard buffet, there were breakfast tacos on some days, a bagel station with lox and chives, an omelet chef, smoothies made to order, espresso drinks on request, and more. Easily worth the higher rate, and about 500 Cool Points. Mother Nature earned some Cool Points of her own with beautiful mornings to enjoy breakfast on the pool deck.

Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel Review via @TravelLatte.net

Olios Cafe served breakfast – buffet or made to order. Breakfast was good, service was excellent.

Nearby, the fitness facilities were great, and the pool area was fantastic, but some outdoor areas could use some upkeep. No cool points lost, but none earned, either. Friday afternoons on the Balqony (a patio area adjacent to the pool) feature a DJ and drink specials (+100) but there were all of five guests and zero activities. Invitations went out, but nobody planned the party (-200).

The Balqony, an area perfect for sun worshiping, and site for the hotel's Friday night parties.  (Note the lonely DJ - the Friday we visited, the party never took off.) Opposite the beach is a view over Fort Lauderdale towards the Intracoastal Waterway. Across from the beach, S3 (Sun Surf Sand) is the resort's dinner restaurant. The family-friendly pool on the sixth floor. Outdoor seating on the pool deck. Poolside cabanas (rented by the day) are a convenient touch of luxury. Outdoor seating at Le Marche Market & Bakery, where the hotel serves Starbucks, ice cream, pastries and more, convenient to the beach. An army of treadmills, ellipticals, and freeweights with a view of the pool.
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The Balqony, an area perfect for sun worshiping, and site for the hotel's Friday night parties. (Note the lonely DJ - the Friday we visited, the party never took off.)

Summary

We checked into the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort for ocean access and views, and it delivered on both. The most Cool Points were earned by the fantastic view, and the stellar staff. While there are many hotels in Fort Lauderdale with similar views, the staff is the reason we’d be happy coming back the next time we’re in town.

Total Cool Points: +750, plus that 1.5k bonus for the view. That earns this Hilton our coveted “We like you!” status. Despite their Resort Fee.

Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel Review via @TravelLatte.net

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Disclaimers & Details: Our visit to the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort was neither compensated nor solicited. All views are our own. TripAdvisor links are our own, and we are compensated for any reservations made using our link.

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10 comments on “Our Stay at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort

    • In a sense, yes. Resort Fees are an unfortunately common practice which hotels try to justify by saying it pays for the overhead of “resort amenities”. In our experience, most companies that charge a resort fee offer nothing in return that you would not get at a typical hotel of equal caliber. At this Hilton, at least they included beach chairs which, at most other properties, we’ve had to rent (for more than $25/day, at that). We think it’s super misleading because you can’t simply not use the facilities and avoid the fee. To us, that makes it part of the room rate, and it should be advertised as such.

  1. Thanks for sharing this review with #TheWeeklyPostcard . I have never been to Fort Lauderdale and likely will one day on a cruise so will keep this review for consideration. It’s always good to find a hotel delivers on your expectations and having great staff makes a huge bonus.

    • Hi guys! We did not take a cruise on this visit, but we did go by the cruise terminals, about five miles from the Hilton. If you’re just staying over before/after a cruise, there are a bunch of hotels right by the port. Just a few miles away, though, you can enjoy the beach, too! As always, thanks for your comments!

    • Hi Anda, thanks for the comment. We actually thought the beach was remarkably un-crowded while we were there. Of course, it was late summer and quite hot. The concierge told us earlier in the summer it is very busy, and it also picks up on the weekends (our visit ended on a Friday). A few blocks down the beach, Las Olas and Fort Lauderdale Beach Park were much more crowded – and not as quiet / boring. 😉 We enjoyed it, but do prefer Miami Beach.

  2. I love Fort Lauderdale! It’s been a few years since I have been, but I stayed at the Westin. Overall I liked it although there were some service snafus! I would be open to trying the Hilton next time. And I 100% agree with you on resort fees, they are so wrong! If everyone has to pay it, include it in the price! Thanks for sharing and linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

    • Hello Anisa! This was our first visit to Fort Lauderdale, and we really enjoyed it. We came “thisclose” to booking the Westin, which was just down the street. They have a cool skybridge to get to the beach! But Hilton telling us right up front that the Resort Fee paid for beach chairs was the kicker. Still, it’s a shady practice that should probably join the Dodo Bird and Dinosaurs. 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Good review! I’m a budget traveller and here in Southeast Asia I usually spend less that $25 on a room per day. Needless to say the $25 hotel fee, not included, shocked me… just going to scrape my chin off the floor now! 🙂

    • Thanks guys! Those “resort charges” really bother us. To be fair, most true budget locations won’t have them – another reason to consider booking there! The Hilton is mid-tier; not as swanky as the W next door, but nearly as expensive. (The Bed & Breakfast rate is $250, plus that $25 Resort Fee.) And to think that some resort locations charge even more, and disclose even less. At least we knew going in that we would get some value for the fee. It’s almost easier to justify that than spending so much for a room in the first place! 😉 Thanks for reading, and happy sailing!

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