Travel Guide: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
We visited Ft. Lauderdale the weekend before our birthday for a press trip & it was the perfect excuse to celebrate our special day in style! This was our first real, multi-night trip to coastal Florida! We had no idea what to expect apart from what we'd seen of Ft. Lauderdale on The Bachelor last season & we were pleasantly surprised!
Our flight out of LAX was super early & we were those people who were so late that we heard our names called as we were filling up our water bottles. We're not going to lie though, it was kind of fun running to the gate & luckily we already had pre-assigned seats. We had never flown JetBlue before & it was amazing! They had FULL-SIZE Cheez-It snack packs, on-seat entertainment & full-size ginger ale cans. We were super hyper & excited for our trip, so much so that we got through two movies without falling asleep, which is rare. We watched The Greatest Showman, which was surprisingly great, and Father Figures, which was funnier than we thought it would be. Next thing we knew, we had landed in Ft. Lauderdale!
The executive chef at the hotel picked us up at baggage claim (talk about Southern hospitality!) & he gave us a mini tour of Las Olas Blvd. & downtown on the way to the hotel. We were surprised by how many great restaurants and bars there were! Our vision of Ft. Lauderdale being a retiree town was turned upside down. Once at Pelican Grand Beach Resort, we were welcomed to our gorgeous room with an ocean view & complimentary red wine and cheese. Such a treat!! We took a few bites before getting refreshed and heading out to Las Olas Blvd. for dinner at El Camino.
The margaritas, chips & salsa were by far our favorite parts of the meal. Honestly, we kind of filled up on chips & salsa before our main courses even arrived. Again, we were shocked by how many cool young people filled the restaurant & bar area. We were pleasantly surprised by how hip Ft. Lauderdale was! After dinner we walked along Las Olas Blvd. & popped into some cute boutiques before heading back to the hotel for a relaxing Friday night in.
Saturday was one of the best days of the entire trip. We had spa appointments at 11am at the hotel's PURE Spa, so we had breakfast in bed (complete with a bloody mary!) and headed up to the rooftop. Everyone who worked at the spa was SO NICE. They gave us coconut water while we relaxed on the terrace & allowed us to have our massages in the couple's suite with a nearly 180-degree view of the ocean. After our massages, we were greeted with a Champagne toast for our birthday – it could not have been any better!
At 1pm, we toured the property and got to see all of their event spaces. One of our favorite parts was seeing the model room for the renovation they have going on. Believe us, in 6 months this hotel will be cuter than the Airbnb you want that's always booked! We spent the rest of the day at the beach, complete with our own private umbrella and chairs, and we even swam in the ocean (head dunked in & everything)...something we've never done in California because the water is too cold. It was SO fun!
After getting freshened up for dinner, we headed down to Ocean 2000 where Chef David (the same guy who picked us up at the airport the day prior) prepared us an amazing meal! We had burrata caprese with edible flowers, skillet mac n' cheese & an Asian fusion dish he made especially for us (not on the menu!). We enjoyed a couple glasses of white wine while looking out on the beach & finished it off with a shared order of crème brûlée. We were in heaven! That night we watched Girl's Trip to celebrate our own girl's trip. What a day!
We had breakfast in bed again (duh!) & put our bikinis on for another day at the beach. Before we headed down the stairs to the sand, we floated along the lazy river & hopped in the pool for a quick dip. But nothing could stop us from another swim in the warm ocean – one of our favorite things about Florida (& also the piña coladas!). Around 3pm, we headed back to the room to change for the activity we'd been looking forward to all weekend...the water taxi!
After a bit of a struggle finding the water taxi stop (the first one we tried wasn't open yet?), we finally found it! We grabbed a seat & loved being tourists. We try and go on a double decker bus tour in every big city we visit, so this was our little version of that. The million dollar homes along the waterways (think Venice, Italy!) were cool to see & the guides were funny enough to make us forget how humid it was. We hopped off at the Riverwalk & walked down Las Olas Blvd. We grabbed a couple of pre-dinner / happy hour margaritas at El Camino & then ventured over to Louie Bossi's in hopes of snagging a table. We were so lucky to get seated right away at a table by the window!
Louie Bossi's was so cute! It reminded us of a mix of Buca di Beppo, Oregano's (where we worked in college) & somewhere we hadn't been yet. It was trendy & fun, and if the weather's nice we highly recommend the outdoor patio! We saw it on our way to the bathroom & it was so cute! We tried the Aperol spritz & Italian mojito, along with arancini, cacio e pepe, and mushroom pizza. We weren't super impressed by the cacio e pepe (shout out to our fave - Forma in Santa Monica), but everything else was great! Plus the vibe was just so fun.
With full bellies we headed back down Las Olas Blvd. to board the water taxi. We were hoping we'd get lucky enough to hop on the double-decker water taxi that we'd heard about & luckily we did! It was happy hour on the boat, so the water taxi turned into a booze cruise. We sat on the top deck facing the back of the boat so we wouldn't have any obstructions while we watched the sun set & sipped our local Funky Buddha beer. It was the perfect activity for our last night in town.
DAY FOURWe enjoyed a final breakfast in bed & hit the beach before going to the airport.
We woke up for the last time in our room with a perfect view of the ocean. It was a super hot day, so we put our suits on & headed down to the beach for one last time. We're telling ya, the fact that we can literally swim (we're talking breast strokes & freestyle) in the ocean because it's that comfortable temperature-wise is missed greatly.
After one last piña colada, we met up with the head of sales at the hotel who was kind enough to take us to the airport. We were there pretty early & hungry, so we went to Chili's for a bite & beer.
It was such a perfect sister trip & timed perfectly for our birthday. We were treated like queens (apart from the bartender who assumed we were underage and poured us VIRGIN piña coladas at first) & had the best time under the Florida sun!