The Courtyard Fort Lauderdale downtown rooftop pool
While in town for a post-conference press trip, we were hosted by the Courtyard Fort Lauderdale Downtown
on Federal Highway. If you're in town for business and don't need ready access to the beach, this hotel is conveniently located on Federal Highway with easy car access minutes from Las Olas Boulevard and the River Walk, the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi, museums, and restaurants. Better still, it's a Marriott hotel so those of us that are loyalty members know what to expect from the Courtyard hotels.
On arrival, you'll pass the valet parking to enter a heavily perfumed entry to go up to the second-floor lobby. Cool colors welcome you to your home away from home for the length of your stay. The two-person desk offers easy access to the Marriott Pantry The Crate. Loyalty members receive points for stays, no pantry items are offered.
The Courtyard by Marriott Fort Lauderdale downtown restaurant
In the lobby area are many comfortable sofas and chairs and small tables where you can wait for your party to gather or set up your own office to complete the work of the day. In the back, you'll see their restaurant, Quantum Kitchen, which is convenient since they don't offer a complimentary breakfast with your stay. But if you're not in a rush, I'd recommend you check out the Top Hat Café for breakfast or the excellent Sistrunk Marketplace & Brewery
for lunch and dinner.
Courtyard by Marriott Fort Lauderdale downtown room number one on each floor is a corner room with a wraparound balcony
Assigned a room, I proceeded to the seventh floor and felt most comfortable in this familiar feeling room. I've spent 145 nights in Marriott hotels so far this year. The bed is advertised as King but is the same size as my Queen size bed at home. Either way, it's outward facing and draws the eye to the most impressive feature of the room… the view from 701's wrap around balcony.
While Federal Highway is a busy and often noisy room, being seven floors up dampens the noise. The heavy curtains do an excellent job of blocking both noise and sun. But fling the drapes open for a spectacular sunrise view. This tropical location is light from around 0630 to 1900 each day. I set up my camera to film the sunrise each morning of my stay. I was otherwise occupied but I'll get to that in a minute.
As with most, the amenities at this Courtyard hotel include a mini-fridge and microwave, a satisfyingly comfortable bed, and a large-screen TV with the Marriott channels heavy on news and sports but with access to Showtime and HBO free with your stay. You can even put in your Netflix or Amazon Prime information and stream those, so you needn't watch on your small computer laptop screen. The desk space offers cubbies rather than drawers and I found it works surprisingly well. There's a chest on coasters that you can move from under the desk drawer for additional storage, but I found it worked best for lining up what I needed for each day of my stay.
The bathroom is spacious with a large circle mirror with vanity lighting. I very much miss having a tub in the room, but the shower has perfect pressure with plenty of hot water and shampoo, conditioner, and body wash ready in wall containers to reduce generating unnecessary plastic.
There is a small recycle bin in the room.
The Rooftop Bar Seating Area
The most spectacular part of the hotel, though, is up on the roof. We'd learned at our travel writing conference in St. Petersburg this week that hotel rooftop bars are the most expensive real estate at a hotel. This one is a perfect example. With 80% sales in beverages and only 20% in food, they're perfectly positioned as they straddle the building to allow both sunrise and sunset views.
The Easton Rooftop Bar & Lounge has seating around the bar, along the pool and away from the water. The lighting in the morning is spectacular through the white beams around low-slung sofas where you can gather with your friends throughout your stay. The bartenders in the evening are friendly and helpful if you need their assistance narrowing your beverage choice.
I was disappointed that the pool hours were limited to 7 to 7 as I like to swim each day but understand that could be a little too enticing for people that overindulge at night.
ProTip: If you swim in the morning, take a room towel with you. When I was there, no towels were available just after 7am.
What did I like most about the experience? When I returned from difficult days around town, challenged unexpectedly on this trip, I felt like my guest room was my sanctuary. I'd declined housekeeping and knew I could leave my work and belongings out, even in disarray if I wished, without judgment. I came and went as I pleased, just like at home.