Fort Lauderdale | The Venice Of America

Fort Lauderdale | The Venice Of America

Ever heard of Las Olas? Get ready. Las Olas Boulevard is a wide, palm tree-lined avenue in downtown Fort Lauderdale where one can find everything from high-end shopping to restaurants, clubs, and hotels. This walkable avenue caters to a wide variety of clientele, from the rich and famous to the everyday city dweller. The name "Las Olas" means "The Waves" in Spanish and was constructed in 1917, when Las Olas was a dirt road that crossed the swampy wetlands to the barrier island at Fort Lauderdale Beach.

How to Get there:

Fort Lauderdale, also known as the Venice of America, is conveniently accessible by all major airlines. The heart of Fort Lauderdale, Las Olas Boulevard, is a quick 15 minute drive from FLL(Fort Lauderdale International Airport)  and average flight time from New York is around three hours. If you're coming from Miami, you can also take the comfortable Brightline train and be in Fort Lauderdale within 1 hour for only $14…Not too shabby! 

Where to Stay:

You have many options of places to stay in Fort Lauderdale but let's focus on the best of the best close to Las Olas. A sleek, contemporary design. Unbeatable location. A world of indulgent services— The Hyatt Centric Las Olas is just steps away from downtown Fort Lauderdale's business and entertainment district. Whatever the reason for your visit, when it comes to a center-of-it-all hotel, there's no better place to be than at the new, sky-high Hyatt Centric Las Olas Hotel.

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The Hyatt Centric is inspired by Fort Lauderdale's waterfront location and yachting culture. Its design blends seamlessly with its surroundings, featuring nautical colors and textures, murals painted by local artists, and an art installation made with real boat parts…How cool is that? Available to guests are 238 guest rooms and suites with sleek interiors and expansive city views. The property features 113 luxury condominium residences for sale beginning on the 16th level of the hotel.

Guests can also relax at Elev8, an 8th-floor pool deck and bar offering stunning views of the city that capture Fort Lauderdale in all of its glory—including fire pits for cool nights under the stars.

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The property features 15,000 square feet of world-class meeting space and facilities designed to exceed the expectations of even the most discerning business executives. Additional amenities include an all encompassing fitness center with Peloton equipment and pet-friendly amenities.

Every once in a while you might want to get away from it all. Filling that need is 901, a guest room that's been transformed into a speakeasy that transports guests to the roaring 1920s. While sipping on classic cocktails, in a room enhanced with red lighting, dark drape curtains and plush velvet furniture, the modern day traveler can imagine they're in an elegant hotel room during the Jazz Age…Memorable would be an understatement. The guest room turned speakeasy inspired by pre-Prohibition vibes invites emerging mixologists to create signature drinks. Make sure to ask for the Junglebird cocktail when you head up there…you're welcome. 

Bookable by reservation only, and limited to up to eight people, this private experience is open Thursday through Sunday with two-hour seatings at 5:00pm, 7:15pm and 9:30pm.

Where to Eat

Cultivating culinary experiences and meaningful connections is at the heart of The Harborwood Urban Kitchen and Bar's mission. Guests can expect to make memories at Harborwood, where award-winning Executive Chef Greg McGowan presents a seasonal menu that's focused on local ingredients…does it get any better? Executive Chef McGowan has curated a luxurious menu with dishes made to complement the cocktail menu, such as Argentinian-Style Pulled Chicken Empanadas and Pan Seared Spanish Octopus. Other favorites include the Peppercorn Crusted Wagyu Sirloin and Pan Seared Atlantic Salmon.

In search of one of the top breakfast spots? Java & Jam, located at 301 E Las Olas Blvd, is the ultimate destination for breakfast, coffee and community. The venue offers 120 seats via classic diner booths, communal tables, and shared café space for work or socializing. Oh and it gets better…Java & Jam is an all-day breakfast cafe, meaning that you can have the Biscuit & Eggs at 2pm. 

Care to go somewhere lively for lunch? Look no further than YOLO, located at 333 East Las Olas Blvd…Yes, the restaurant does indeed stand for 'You Only Live Once'. Here's a sneak peek into the story of the restaurant, "It is said that a Burning Tree in a dream symbolizes one's transformation and evolution. An individual or institution may only live once, but change should be embraced during that lifetime" . Dine in style amid lush greenery and colorful décor at this socially-minded sanctuary. YOLO has a globally-inspired menu that features creative dishes to be shared with friends. Oh and btw, DJs take over throughout the night so don't forget your dancing shoes!

Things to Do

Passionate about art? Visit the NSU Art Museum which originated in 1958 and is housed in a unique modernist building with memorable exhibitions of many genres of art…Can we ask for more? For a more nature-oriented experience, take a stroll or water taxi to one of the many local parks, or if you are feeling adventurous, spend a day paddle boarding or kayaking along the river downtown…you might even see a Dolphin or Manatee, fingers crossed!

Looking for a romantic idea with your better half? Your gondola awaits for daily tours of Fort Lauderdale 7 days a week, rain or shine. Sit back, relax and see some of the most luxurious homes and gardens of South Florida from a perspective you can only appreciate from the water.

Well, what about at night? Minutes away from the hotel is a spectacular lounge called Rooftop 1WLO. Rooftop's resident mixologists serve an ever-evolving selection of craft cocktails in a laid back atmosphere. The bar is stocked with fresh ingredients, and the drinks are created with absolute precision. Guests can relax on the lounge furniture while enjoying their cocktails, and eat seasonal light meals during sunset. As for drinks, I may or may not have had one too many Jalisco Coolers…Highly recommended! 

Closing Thoughts

[Luxury tourism expert's personal opinion] Fort Lauderdale is an unforgettable destination, full stop. The city offers carefree and fun-filled escapism. Oh and did we mention it is also known as the "City of Beautiful Beaches," and that more than 300 sunny days occur per year. The best way to access all the experiences described above is to be within walking distance from them, look no further than the Hyatt Centric Las Olas. 

In a nutshell, if you're a solo traveler, coming with your partner or here for work…there will be no shortage of things-to-do. Before I forget…Don't forget to leave some space in your luggage for when you go on your shopping spree. 

What are you waiting for? Pack your bags and let's go! 

Hyatt Centric Las Olas Hotel

Hyatt Centric Las Olas Hotel


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