When our family went on the Harmony of the Seas inaugural cruise, we chose to spend the night before the cruise at the W Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Located on 401 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard, this hotel proved to be a great stay for our family despite the fact it typically caters to couples.
What Makes it Family Worthy?
This wave-shaped luxury hotel boasts 430 rooms and sits on beachfront property overlooking the Atlantic. The hotel is an SPG property, so guests can both use and earn SPG points during their stay. The hotel is near several great recreational locations and activities, including the Museum of Discovery and Science, the Sawgrass Mills Mall, and the Fort Lauderdale Ghost Tour.As mentioned before, the hotel mainly caters to couples, and we mostly saw couples during our stay. However, families and other groups are certainly welcome at this hotel.
We requested our usual accommodations of feather free pillow for allergies and a quiet location for our son with autism. However, when we arrived at our room, we discovered the hotel had given us a couples room that was not at all appropriate for families. Our shower had a clear glass wall so that people in the room could see whoever was showering. While the hotel did give us a curtain, we found that the room was still not working for us, so the hotel thankfully moved us to a suite.
The Fort Lauderdale W prides itself on his whimsical, humorous touches. The W features dark decor, lots of velures, and metallics on white and black backgrounds. We appreciated the amazingly decorated elevators done in metal with pink-reddish light. The mat outside the elevator changes three times a day, so it says “good morning” “good afternoon” and “good evening” as appropriate.The wall behind the counter had a large stamped “W” symbol. There was plenty of dim lighting throughout the lobby, some of it cleverly hidden behind walls or in crevices. The hotel is made up of two towers, one of which boasts residential properties, where we stayed.
The kitchen boasted an island with a pull-out sink faucet. We found the trash can stored underneath the sink, and next to the sink was a working dishwasher. Near the island was a dining table with several chairs where guests could sit together and have a meal.
The closet by the door had a motion detector light and large safe. The safe in the closet sat at a convenient height on top of a set of drawers. We also saw another closet near the bathroom that guests could lock, an excellent additional security feature. We found a third closet in one of the bedrooms, which had shelving, a bathrobe, an ironing board, a luggage rack, and a chest of drawers. Something we noticed about the closets was that they were all painted black, which made the clothes stand out.
The living room was decorated with faux-marble white walls. The living room had a nice offwhite L-shaped sofa with an attractive coffee table. Over the couch, we saw a black and white blanket. The living room had a third TV over another black chest of drawers.
Our suite had two bedrooms that looked incredibly similar. Both bedrooms had blue carpeting that simulated waves, with similarly decorated curtains. The rooms each had a chest of drawers in black wood, above which we could enjoy a 45 inch TV mounted on the wall. The wall behind the bed in each room was a bold silver taupe. The rooms both had king sized beds with nightstands and night lights on each side. Each nightstand featured an outlet and two USB ports. Finally, both rooms had a sitting area with a standing lamp and an unusually designed chair. The seat was wide, sleek black, and looked like a cross between a lounge and regular chair.
Perhaps the best feature of the room was the provided washing machine and dryer. In-room access to clothes washing machines is perfect for families, especially for extended stays.There was adjustable air conditioning in every single room, ideal for family members with temperature sensitivities.Our room had a balcony with spectacular views of the ocean. The room had two sliding doors, one in the living room and one in one of the bedrooms. Unfortunately, both sliding doors had only one easy -to-open lock, not the best to stop wandering kids.
Our suite featured two bathrooms, one next to each bedroom. A sliding door without a lock led into the first bathroom. The flooring of the entire bathroom was a tile that simulated wood in tan colors. The decor consisted of white walls with a cherry wood vanity. The sink was a Corian material and had toiletries, tissues, and a magnifying mirror. Our amenity kit was from Bliss, a sample of the hotel’s onsite Spa supplies.
The toilet was in a separate room with a door for privacy. The shower area boasted a cherrywood shelf. Unfortunately, we didn’t see a handheld showerhead or grab bar, which can be an issue for some families. However, the shower did have an overhead light. Also, while most of the shower was tile like the rest of the bathroom, the flooring by the shower drain was made of small stones.
The second bathroom was next to the master bedroom. This bathroom was not separated from the bedroom by a wall or door. The first thing we saw was the large jacuzzi tub. As we went into the bathroom, we saw the sink with more bliss products ad toiletries.The area also had light up mirror and a mini magnifying mirror.Similar to the other bathroom, the tiles in this room were neutral and light tan. The shower of this bathroom had the same setup as the first but with stone tiling and an area to sit.
Travelers who want to take full advantage of the W Fort Lauderdale’s beachside location could sign up for the hotel’s Beach Boot Camp and Seaside Yoga. There, depending on the day guests could take complimentary classes involving different types of yoga and cardio exercises.A fitness center featuring state of the art pilates, treadmills, free weights, and balance balls was available to patrons. Most of the gym equipment also had iPod docking stations.The hotel also featured the Bliss Spa, where guests could get things like massages, manicures and pedicures. The Bliss Spa also has a “legendary” brownie buffet for guests to try.
As well as the beach, guests can also swim at the hotel’s outdoor infinity edge pool WET West on the fifth floor. Travelers can relax on one of the many loungers surrounding the pool, shaded by several umbrellas. The hotel also has a relaxing hot tub near a gas powered fire pit.
Not only was the hotel pet-friendly, but it also offered guests an exclusive Pet Suite. Those staying in the Pet Suite could expect to see in the room several “Tinkle Turf” pads, a plush dog bed, food and water bowls, fancy dog snacks, pick up bags, and a special dog menu. The hotel also provided a special limited edition dog bandana. Sadly, the property has no accommodations for cat owners.
The hotel had several on-site dining options. Diners looking for fancy dining could try Steak 954. The restaurant featured different delicious steaks from chef Stephen Starr that customers could eat while enjoying beautiful oceanside views. Unique to this venue was the restaurant’s jellyfish aquarium, which extended 15-feet behind several sitting areas and was lit up with bright blue and green lights.
Swimmers at the hotel’s WET West could stop for a bite to eat at the Wet Bar. Along with cocktails, guests could get salads, wraps, and burgers. The bar also offered several smoothies and shakes.
The W Cafe was the perfect place for grabbing a quick bite to eat or coffee. Hungry guests could enjoy everything from yogurt parfaits to teas. The W Cafe also advertised themselves as dedicated to health food.
The hotel site recommends that guests take an Uber, taxi, or shuttle from the Fort Lauderdale airport to get to the hotel. However, those traveling in their car can use the on-site valet parking for $36 per day.
Autism Travel Tips
- The hotel is a dog-friendly property and allows those staying to bring along pets as well as service animals. Families dealing with allergies should request a hypoallergenic room.
- While our room did not have a grab bar, other rooms in the hotel do have these as well as other accessibility features. Families should request these features when booking.
- Families staying in the couple oriented rooms should request a curtain for the “peeping” shower so as to give everyone more privacy.
- Parents need to bring a non-slip bathmat, as the hotel does not provide one.