A lot has been written and said about the old real estate adage, “Location, location, location.’’ For South Florida travelers looking to put that adage to good use, there is the Sonesta Fort Lauderdale, which sits at the north end of the Fort Lauderdale’s famed “strip’’ area, with the beach on one side and Bonnet House Museum & Gardens on the other.
“It’s like our own little corner of the world,’’ said Lindsay Dufresne, marketing manager for the Sonesta Fort Lauderdale.
The 240-room hotel (each with an ocean view or panoramic view) is Sonesta’s newest property and its second in South Florida. Sonesta acquired the former B Ocean hotel earlier this summer and along with its sister property in the Miami enclave of Coconut Grove, gives the company a solid South Florida presence.
Bathed in white and with many of guestrooms featuring floor to ceiling windows, the Sonesta Fort Lauderdale gives off a more modern, edgier vibe than most Sonesta properties in the U.S.
“It’s unlike anything else we have in our portfolio now,’’ Dufresne said. “The guests we attract are more the adventurous type who want to go out and explore.’’
And there is plenty to explore inside the Sonesta Fort Lauderdale and its environs. Start with the hotel with its infinity pool and cabanas, spa suite and 8,000 square feet of meeting space, including the Breeze Terrace for meetings and weddings that has great views of the Atlantic Ocean.
The Bistro restaurant serves fresh ingredients for breakfast, lunch and dinner, while Saia offers a terrific Asian fusion dinner menu along with a sushi and sake bar.
“Sonesta’s concept is that ‘food is art,’’’ Dufresne said. “Every meal you get should be a work of art.’’
And that’s certainly what you get at Saia, particularly with the Shrimp Ceviche, Lamb Lollipops and Thai Lobster.
To work off your Saia dinner, there’s a bicycle rental rack outside the hotel’s front doors – just swipe your credit card and peddle down the beach toward the popular for at Beach Place, a ride on the water taxis or simply for some sight-seeing along one of the most famous stretch of beaches in the world. The Sonesta Fort Lauderdale doesn’t own the bike rental concession, but it can give you discounts on rentals.
For those true late-nighters, Primanti Brothers restaurant (really more of a local bar) is just to the south of The Snesat Fort Lauderdale. Part of the fabled Pittsburgh restaurant empire, Primanti Brothers is open 24 hours with a menu that includes everything from chili dogs to lasagna. My favorite is the double egg and cheese sandwich - great for breakfast or lunch.
Go north across the street from the Sonesta Fort Lauderdale and you’ll find the historic Bonnet House Resort & Gardens, which traces its human occupancy back more than 4,000 years. The property’s modern history began in 1895 when settler Hugh Taylor Birch purchased the property once occupied by the Tequesta tribe of natives. The property stayed in the extended Birch family until 1983 when it was donated to the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation.
Tours of the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens, the latter of which has more than 1,200 types of orchids, are available Tuesday through Sunday.
The combination of Sonesta Fort Lauderdale and the Bonnet House is a great way to experience the best of today and yesterday in Fort Lauderdale.