- The Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort is expected to open in winter 2017 with 290 expansive studio and suite accommodations, four alfresco dining experiences, a 4,000-sq ft ocean view spa and fitness center, elevated deck oasis with an ocean-facing pool and plush cabanas, and 20,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting and event space.
- HYDE Beach Resort, the beachfront sister property to the newly opened Beachwalk Resort in Hallandale Beach, is expected to open Jan 2017 with 362 fully apppointed one bedroom suites, a pool, spa, and restaurant.
- The Le Meridien Dania Beach at Fort Lauderdale Airport, formerly Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Port Hotel, is undergoing a $30 million renovation and conversion and will feature 245 contemporary guest rooms, 20,000 square feet of state-of-the-art flexible meeting space and two redesigned restaurants. Anticipated to open Fall 2017.
- A new $21 million, 142 room Wyndham Garden Hotel in Dania Beach is expected to open late 2017 and plans to offer casual dining, flexible meeting space and an inviting lobby and lounge.
- The historic Escape Hotel is being renovated and transformed into the Gale Boutique Hotel, with 96 rooms and 129 condo residences in Fort Lauderdale’s North Beach Village. Estimated to open in late 2017, the Gale will feature sleek furnishings and luxury amenities, rooftop sky deck, fitness center and spa, concierge services and pool.
- A new 23-story Four Seasons will open in 2018 with 150 hotel rooms and 95 residences, two restaurants, a spa, fitness center, children’s recreation room, “Beach Butlers” and ballroom and meeting facilities.
- A new dual-branded Starwood Hotel is coming to downtown Fort Lauderdale. The 24-story, 323-room hotel will offer a sky lobby, lobby bar, pool deck, secret garden, and fitness room—all on the sixth floor—as well as 12,000 square feet of meeting and ballroom space, and a ground-floor coffee shop, plus the city's first high-rise rooftop bar. The property is divided into two hotels: The Dalmar, from the Starwood Tribute Portfolio (209 rooms) and The Element by Westin (114 rooms). The hotel is expecting to open spring 2018.
- In addition to 136 loft-like rooms at Aloft Weston, the new property will offer 600 sq ft of meeting space and all the brand essentials such as WXYZ® bar, and a Splash pool. Opens Apr 2018. Aloft Fort Lauderdale will also provide loft-like rooms and all the brand’s signature amenities, along with 1,500 sq ft of meeting facilities. Opens Jan 2019.
- The $23 million Tryp by Wyndham Maritime Hotel will be opening its doors in March 2017. The eight-story, 150 room, maritime-themed hotel will cater to business and leisure travelers and offer a European-style tapas bar, featuring 11 aquariums.
- The Diplomat Beach Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton in Hollywood is undergoing a $95 million transformation including guest rooms, lobby and restaurants & lounges. Completion fall 2016.
- The W Fort Lauderdale is undergoing a $55 million renovation restyle bringing a high-contrast, sleek design to 430 guestrooms & suites, Living Room (Lobby), WET Decks (2 Pools) and all the public spaces. The new guestrooms and suites will be complete by November 2016, followed by all public spaces to be finalized by mid-December 2016. A new 4,000 sqft ballroom will add to the over 26,000 sq ft combined from the already 15 spectacular indoor and outdoor venues. This will enhance existing event space options that provide a stunning backdrop for 5-500 people for everything from corporate meetings to lavish weddings. New to the scene will be an additional 3-meal-a-day Stephen Starr restaurant featuring ocean view sidewalk dining. Both the new ballroom and restaurant are slated for Q1 2017.
- The B Ocean Resort Fort Lauderdale has undergone an extensive renovation including a new front desk, meeting space, guestrooms, and the famous Wreck Bar. Renovations to all guestrooms and to the lobby will be completed late August 2016 and will provide a more natural flow into the hotel and showcasing a grand staircase up to the first floor, with access to a new B Active Fitness Center, and signature B Indulged Spa Suite. Plans are underway to enhance the overall food and beverage concepts throughout the hotel as well as entertainment options. Completion fall 2016.
- The Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port is completing a total brand transformation with renovations to the hotel lobby, restaurants, and meeting space (guestrooms were refurbished in 2015).
- The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort is undergoing a $5.5 million renovation in August 2016, transforming the arrival and dining experience with more inviting guest arrival experience to the Porte cochere, lobby, and a new oceanfront restaurant concept.
- The Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa did a complete redo of the lobby and meeting space in 2015 and is now renovating all guestrooms with a completion date of Mid-November 2016.
- The Comfort Suites Airport & Cruise Port has been renamed Fort Lauderdale Airport/Cruise Port Inn as it transitions to Four Points by Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport/Cruise Port in early 2017.
- The Ikona Hotel (formerly the Shell Motel) has opened its doors following a multi-million-dollar renovation that restored key features of the mid-century modern building while modernizing the interior design with smart technology and stylish amenities. A contemporary re-imagination of a seaside cottage, the Ikona’s 24 deluxe rooms, family apartment suites and penthouses include custom-made modern furnishings. The three-story hotel overlooks a private pool and courtyard garden with indoor and outdoor event space, including a second-level balcony overlooking the ocean.
- The Ikona’s sister properties, the Fortuna Hotel, opened this summer, and the Mirra Hotel is scheduled for 2017, rounding out the Gzella Collection portfolio.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport:
- Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport opened Concourse G in Terminal 4, with new concession areas and 5 new gates and is part of the first phase of a $450 million expansion and modernization project. Phase Two of the expansion and modernization project will include an Interactive Walkway and 9 new gates. When completed in mid-2018, the terminal will have 12 international and 2 domestic gates. The addition of Concourse A in Terminal 1 is underway and will include a Customs Inspection Facility with five gates handling both international and domestic flights and is expected to be completed May 2017.
New international service:
Norwegian Air Shuttle from Paris (France), Guadeloupe (West Indies) (Dec 2016), and Barcelona (Spain) (Aug 2017); Southwest: Nassau (Bahamas); JetBlue from Providenciales (TC), Quito (Ecuador), Santa Clara (Cuba), Camaguey (Cuba) (Nov 2016), Holguin (Cuba) (Nov 2016), Havana (Cuba) (Fall 2016) and Aruba (Jan 2017); Southwest from Varadero (Cuba) (Nov 2016) and Havana (Cuba) (Dec 2016); and Emirates from Dubai (Dec 2016).
New domestic service:
JetBlue from New Orleans; Allegiant from Ogdensburg (NY), Niagara Falls (Nov 2016) and Cleveland (Feb 2017); Frontier from Cincinnati (Oct 2016 seasonal); Spirit from Newark, and Akron-Canton (Nov 2016); United from Washington Dulles (Dec 2016 seasonal) and Southwest: Newark (May 2017).
- FLL offers Mobile Passport Control, a free app allowing eligible travelers to submit their passport information and customs declaration form prior to arrival allowing faster processing: mobilepassport.us.
Port Everglades News:
- Port Everglades welcomes two newly built cruise ships, Holland America’s ms Koningsdam and Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, in November 2016. A fourth cruise ship will be added to the summer 2017 roster with Carnival Cruise’s Carnival Splendor, and luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises will begin sailing from Port Everglades in October 2017.
New Restaurant Openings:
- Bravo TV Top Chef Star, Josie-Smith Malave opened Bubbles & Pearls, a champagne raw bar in Wilton Manors.
- Nisi Restaurant recently opened in Fort Lauderdale (formerly Thasos). A Mediterranean menu with a few "Asian touches at play."
- One Door East, located literally one door east of Valentino's in Fort Lauderdale, recently opened offering internationally inspired small plates and cocktails.
- B Square Burgers + Booze, gourmet burgers with a twist, recently opened on Las Olas Blvd in Fort Lauderdale.
- A newcomer on Las Olas Blvd, Raw Poke Bar, is a new fast-casual Hawaiian eatery, focusing on raw, cubed fish salad.
- American English Kitchen and Bar, a new restaurant in Hollywood, features an eclectic mix of regional American and globally influenced dishes.
- Kitchen Four Twenty serves American-style comfort food, combining deli, diner and Southern styles in Fort Lauderdale.
- A new kind of dining hatches in Fort Lauderdale as Spring Chicken combines the farm-fresh qualities of home-style Southern comfort cooking.
- Amsterdam Bar and Restaurant, opened in Hollywood this summer, featuring American fare such as the crowd-pleasing half-pound burgers, authentic Greek and Lebanese specialties, and healthy, vegetarian and high-protein selections prepared fresh from scratch.
- Bar Red Beard, a new craft beer bar and restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, with homemade recipes and American crafted products.
- Diplomat Prime, at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, underwent a complete dining and design revamp and reopened in Sept. The 108 seat restaurant boasts a refined décor, designed to add an approachable beachside feel to the traditional steakhouse. The redefined layout encompasses a 24 seat bar, 68 seat dining room, along with two 16 seat and 30 seat private dining rooms. Also at the Diplomat, at the Diplomat Landing, are Bristol’s Burgers featuring ingredient-driven burgers, and Portico, a rustic outdoor beer and wine garden serving more than 20 beers, wines and cocktails, all on tap.
Bar Rita, an exciting new concept featuring a modern take on Mexican bar food with a rooftop margarita bar in Fort Lauderdale.
What Else is New?
- The dramatic sinking of Lady Luck, a 324-foot ship, took place just a mile from the Pompano Beach fishing pier and is the centerpiece of the new Shipwreck Park for divers. Complete with underwater art exhibits, it is one of the largest contributions to Florida’s artificial reef system and is the most easily accessible major dive site in the nation. At least 16 other shipwrecks are in the vicinity. Shipwreck Park is expected to become a major dive site and underwater arts park for divers. For more info visit shipwreckparkpompano.org.
On the Horizon:
- The live music scene heats up with the first Riptide Music & Food Festival on Fort Lauderdale beach, December 3-4, featuring alternative pop bands and bands from the 70s, 80s and 90s. Click here for the lineup.
- The soon to be opened Pembroke Pines City Center (PPCC), is in the heart of Pembroke Pines, nestled between Mediterranean style residences, with casual-chic and family-style restaurants featuring international cuisine and numerous name-brand stores and shopping malls. The city center is a multi-use facility that is being built to serve the community by hosting events offering 35,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space. Click here for more info.
- The Auberge Spa at Auberge Beach Residences & Spa Fort Lauderdale is schedule to open early 2018. A 10,000 sq ft spa featuring two outdoor treatment cabanas and landscape garden areas. There will also be a full-service salon, four massage rooms, two skincare rooms, and a specialty massage room with a sand bath table