The Hyatt Regency Pier 66 is a an upscale, 384-room resort on 22 landscaped acres along the Intracoastal Waterway. The beach is within a five-minute drive, and the hotel has a free beach shuttle. There’s plenty to do here, aside from the beach, with indoor and outdoor play areas, including a life-size outdoor chess set and organized family activities, with multiple pools, restaurants, bars, and a large spa and gym. Rooms are done in soothing beach tones, and all have balconies or terraces, some with excellent water views. For something that's right on Fort Lauderdale's famous beach, The Pelican Grand Beach Resort has charming, boutique-style rooms at cheaper rates right on the ocean.
Waterfront upscale chain hotel with classy, if predictable, style
The sprawling property is beautifully landscaped with palm trees, fountains, and waterfalls, all surrounding the main tower -- a thoroughly distinctive Art Deco structure. Built in 1957, the hotel has been well-maintained and updated over the years, with a large, sleek lobby and walls of windows. Still, this is a Hyatt, and the style is fairly predictable -- there's lots of neutral toned carpeting and tilework, abstract art, and dark wood accents. In other words, that Art Deco first impression isn't capitalized on at all. The restaurants and bars are also expectedly modern, with dark woods and sea-green, aqua, and gray decor. Pelican Landing has a casual, sports bar-like vibe, with a flat-screen TV behind the bar and nice views of the marina from the large deck. The three pools are large and surrounded by lounge chairs and white-curtained cabanas, with an expansive green lawn and patio hosting outdoor games such as bocce and table tennis. The resort draws families, couples, and business travelers.
On the Intracoastal Waterway, a five-minute drive to the beach
The hotel sits at the southwestern tip of Fort Lauderdale Beach, at the base of the last bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway. It’s about a five-minute drive or a 20-minute walk to the nearest beach, although the hotel runs a free shuttle. There's shopping at the Galleria, a large mall, which is about a 15-minute drive away. It also takes about 15 minutes to reach the shops and restaurants of Las Olas Boulevard, and the nightclubs near the Riverwalk are about 10 minutes away by car. The hotel caters to cruisers, as Port Everglades -- a cruise ship hub -- is less than a 10-minute drive from the hotel. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is a 15-minute drive or about 45 minutes away by bus. It's a little over an hour to drive to South Beach from here, and Miami International Airport is also around an hour away.
Spacious and mostly contemporary, with neutral decor; some with nice water views
The 384 rooms are housed in the two-story Marina building -- with rooms overlooking the pool or the marina -- and the 17-story Tower -- with views of downtown Fort Lauderdale, the port, and the Intracoastal Waterway. The Tower Rooms are the premium rooms, and they have a look that's more typical of older Hyatts: think plain tan carpets, mid-tone wood furniture, and beach-tone fabrics throughout. Marina Rooms are the more contemporary, and have white-tile floors and darker furniture with sharp, clean lines. Rooms have cream colored walls hung with sharp black-and-white photography that gives them an extra touch of class, but the sheer size and lack of much in the way of colorful accents does make them feel a bit sterile. Some rooms seem to have an abundance of empty floor space, despite seating areas taking up a bit of room, as in the Double Room (Tower) that we visited. Bathrooms are likewise roomy, with either curtained shower/tub combos or glass-walled stall showers. All rooms have balconies or terraces, and amenities include flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, coffee- and tea-making facilities.
Three restaurants, two bars, three pools and an outdoor play area with organized activities
This Hyatt has more than a few amenities that, together with its waterside location, help make it feel more like a resort than simply a hotel. There are three on-site restaurants and two bars that serve food. Mariners, off the lobby, serves buffet and a la carte breakfasts, and Grille 66 serves steaks and seafood for dinner. Pelican Landing, at the end of the Pier 66 marina, has outdoor seating overlooking the water, and is open for lunch and dinner. The lobby lounge serves lunch, dinner, and cocktails, and hosts a free wine and cheese tasting daily, while the Orchids Pool Bar serves a continental breakfast, seafood, salads, and sandwiches for lunch, and tapas at dinner. Keep in mind that no meals are included in room rates.
There are three pools on the large property -- including a cross-shaped outdoor hydrotherapy pool -- and poolside cabanas are available to rent. A sprawling outdoor play area is filled with games, including a life-size chess board, table tennis, and a bocce court, and the hotel organizes activities. The Family Hang Out, a colorful indoor playroom, has toys and video games. There are also two Har-Tru tennis courts and the aquatic center can organize snorkeling, parasailing, and other water sports. In the summer, the hotel runs a camp for kids for an additional fee.
Spa 66 offers massages, manicures, pedicures, and hair styling, and the adjacent gym has a good selection of modern cardio and weight machines plus free weights, with a sauna and steam room. There’s 30,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including a top-floor ballroom with beautiful city views. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel. Onsite parking is available with an extra daily fee.
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