The Atlantic Resort and Spa Rating: 4.5 Pearls
Although there's a pool deck overlooking the ocean, a lovely spa, and cutting-edge gym, the real stand-out here is the large rooms that start at 600 square feet (and each one has a full kitchenette and spacious marble bathroom). The ground floor restaurant and lounge includes a wrap-around porch for eating al fresco, and more casual dining can be had up on the pool deck.
Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The first in a new brand of "B" hotels, the all-white B Ocean sits just across the street from the beach, with an austere, minimalist design -- similar to the style of a W hotel, with subtle neon lighting in the lobby come nightfall. The ocean views are the star here, but you'll also find two great restaurants and a small pool with an accompanying outdoor bar. This 240-room boutique is a pretty popular beach destination.
Pelican Grand Beach Resort Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The Old Key West decor of this 156-room hotel is a welcomed changed from the modern, minimalist design that is the norm at most Fort Lauderdale hotels; instead, picture a veranda with rocking chairs, a stately porte-cochere, rattan furniture, and whirling ceiling fans. Rooms look like they're straight out of a bed and breakfast, and the hotel's location directly on the sand is a rarity in this city.