Courtesy of the Breville ikon Multi-Speed Juice Fountain, a very wonderful purchase. I wonder if the TSA would have a problem with a juicer in a suitcase? Because I seriously want to travel with this thing.
The Ritz Carlton
1 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Date of Last Visit: Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The Background: Here’s the truth. My parents were married for over 30 years when they suddenly realized that they didn’t really like each other much anymore. So now here I am in my mid-30s, playing that game: who to spend what time with over the holidays.
Lucky for me, they only live about 90 miles apart. (I mean, it could be worse…they could live in different states.) But still…every year it’s the same story. How long am I going to stay with my mom? How long am I going to stay with my dad?
Call me crazy, but for me, this is not a difficult decision.
So visiting my father in Fort Lauderdale always gives me the opportunity to try out different hotels. I’m a huge fan of the boutique hotel, The Pillars, which is located right on the Intracoastal. (The intracoastal is a 3,000-mile (4,800-km) waterway along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States, providing a navigable route along the US southeast coast without many of the hazards of travel on the open sea.) Last year, I stayed at the nearly brand new Hilton and found it amazingly clean and lovely. And a few years prior, I checked into The Atlantic, where I was upgraded to a spacious suite.
This time around, the price at The Ritz Carlton was too good to pass up. $239 a night. So I booked myself in and hopped into my mom’s Volvo for the short ride down. (That Volvo, by the way, cost me $30 to valet overnight. Uggh and perhaps the only dark moment during my stay.)
Imagine my surprise–seriously–when I checked in to The Ritz learn that I’d been upgraded to a Junior Suite. I wanted to make all sorts of plans to make the best use of the suite. Invite some people over. Write my novel. Get an in-room massage.
Instead, I popped open a bottle of the house chardonnay and checked out the view. And then I went downstairs for lunch.
This chicken caesar salad was a prototype for caesar salads everywhere. The dressing was perfect–creamy and peppery. It was also, as you can tell, extremely large. God bless America, really.
My view at lunch was gorgeous. As you can maybe tell from the shadows, this was a bit of a late lunch. The beach was cast with golden shadows.
After a night of Latin dancing with my dad (seriously–this man loves the mambo), I came back to The Ritz to find these lovely chocolates, a bottle of water, and this nice note from The Ritz Carlton management.
And when I woke up in the morning, I hopped down to breakfast to enjoy some of the best Eggs Benedict I think I’ve ever had. GREAT Hollandaise sauce, perhaps a bit more lemony than I’m used to, but as a fan of all things lemon, I was not disappointed.
The Verdict: For $239 a night, The Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale is a no-brainer. And I haven’t even discussed the service! Each time I entered and left the hotel, it seemed like anywhere from four to eight people ran to open the door for me. When I told them I preferred The New York Times to USA Today, they delivered BOTH. And when they brought my car back when I checked out, they plied me with multiple bottles of water and all sorts of advice on the best way to get back up north.
In short, The Ritz Fort Lauderdale is one of those places where the service is so good that you can’t help but smile and think, “Well of course they’d do that. This is The Ritz, after all.”
Life is good. I mean, it would be better if I had an ocean view. But looking out on Fort Lauderdale’s waterfront mansions from my upgraded room at The Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale (only $239 plus taxes!) isn’t so shabby either. I hope your holiday weekend is off to as nice a start as mine is!
Last month, I opened my email one morning and there it was…The Travel Bloggers’ Exchange had sent out a promo about The Travel Bloggers’ Show in Orlando. And Chris Elliott would be speaking! I actually read his blog and know who he is! He’s fantastic.
Last summer, I was able to catch TBEX in Chicago and LOVED it, so I was kinda excited about zipping down to Florida to catch The Travel Bloggers’ Show.
But this was very much a last minute decision to go. Like booking the tickets on Friday to leave on Saturday. This could be expensive. Would there be any cheap flights?
Cheap flights, yes. Cheap taxis, no. I’ve decided that it costs $40 to get anywhere in Orlando. If you ever go to Orlando, rent a car.
While in Orlando, I stayed at The Rosen Center Hotel, right next to the convention center where the Travel Bloggers’ show was taking place. If you didn’t stay in hotels a lot, you’d probably like it here. Firstly, the first room they gave me? Someone had already been there. Secondly, the safe didn’t fit a laptop. And of course, no wireless Internet. Except for the lobby, where you had to pay for it. All that being said, Harry Rosen, the founder of Rosen Hotels, came and spoke to us one night and his story and philosophy is truly inspiring. (I tried to find a bio for him online but couldn’t, although I did find this interesting article.)
The silver lining? The sushi at the sweet little sushi bar in the Rosen Center was QUITE nice. You know you have a problem when the staff from the sushi bar recognize you the next day.
But I digress, as always. I was there for the Travel Bloggers’ Show. Check out this little video. Cracks me up.
Here’s what I learned at The Travel Bloggers’ Show:
1. Find a niche. This was repeated over and over again. I used to be very good at this niche thing (i.e., London restaurants), but now I’m not so sure. Food for thought.
2. Find an editor. Everyone needs an editor. This is funny (to me) because many years ago, I was an editor at my university’s newspaper. And I will tell you…no one likes to be edited. I remember trying to correct its vs it’s unsuccessfully. And semicolons…I swear to God, please don’t use a semicolon unless you know how to use a semicolon. Ah…and commas. Please look up how to use a comma. If there (not their or they’re) is a conjunction connecting two independent clauses, the clause before the comma and the clause after the conjunction should be COMPLETE SENTENCES. In short…everyone needs an editor. Heck, I can barely remember how to spell “occasionally.” (Spell check, people. Spell check.) And yes yes I know…people in glass houses…
3. Create a page geared towards PRs, and explain your expectations and your philosophy towards dealing with PRs. (I haven’t gotten around to this yet.)
4. eBooks are where the money is at. You are never going to make money off of Google ads. Nomadic Matt’s eBook is a great example of this.
5. Labor for love, not money. Only a very very small number of people are living off their blogs.
6. If you’re on WordPress, consider the What Would Seth Godin Do? plugin. In short, treat your new site visitors differently than your old visitors.
7. Read Chris Elliott’s post on How to Become a Travel Blogger. Because he’s awesome.
I had a good time at The Travel Bloggers’ Show. But then again, I love this sort of thing. So hey..I’ve already registered for TBEX ’11 in Vancouver next June. Maybe I’ll see you there.