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August 2010

August 2010

Trip Plan Tags: 
beach + island,
Fort Lauderdale,
North America,
United States

Forty's-something couple and teenage son and daughter accompanying us for a beach-focus and local sightseeing vacation.



Shop 603, Florida

603 E. Las Olas Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301
Tel: 954 467 0900

This downtown unisex boutique holds a smartly edited collection of the current must-try labels: there's a massive stock of Juicy Couture for women (denim, velour, etc.) as well as jeans from J Brand, Citizens of Humanity, True Religion, and Chip & Pepper; dressier options include Angeleno designer James Perse, Sky, Michael Stars, and Brit favorite Ben Sherman.


The Galleria, Florida

2414 E. Sunrise Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33304
Tel: 954 564 1036

Fort Lauderdale's anchor mall is surprisingly upscale. There are the usual standards—department stores like Dillards, Saks, and Macy's (once known as Burdine's, and famed for its snazzy range of hot-weather clothes), plus Victoria's Secret and Banana Republic—but you'll also find L'Occitane, BCBG, and a branch of jeweler Bailey Banks & Biddle.

Open Mondays through Saturdays 10 am to 9 pm, Sundays noon to 6 pm.


See + Do

The Bonnet House, Florida

900 N. Birch Road
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33304
Tel: 954 563 5393

Undoubtedly one of the city's biggest draws, the Bonnet House is a pioneer oddity among the beachside high rises. Built by two wealthy settlers, artist Frederic Bartlett and his wife Evelyn (whose own massive fortune derived from her first marriage to prescriptions pasha Eli Lilly), the attraction is a pioneer-style bungalow set around a courtyard and populated with a vast collection of trinkets, from whimsical carved animals to merry-go-round menageries. Almost every surface was decorated, whether with a wooden trunk or a stucco ceiling, often by Bartlett himself. The house is stashed at the center of sprawling gardens that are filled with random amenities also built by the Bartletts to while away the time—the thatched tiki-style Island Theater was a private movie house, for instance. If it's hot, don't bother walking through the mangrove thickets, as there's a tram chugging through the park for only $1 per person. As for the name, it's flora-related rather than fashion-inspired: The bonnet is a yellow water lily that grows everywhere on the estate.

Closed Monday and all of September.


Kitchenetta, Florida

2850 N. Federal Highway
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33306
Tel: 954 567 3333

More Alessi than O Sole Mio, this contemporary Italian restaurant is industrial chic, with raw concrete floors, bright orange and lime green furniture, and a red-and-yellow tiled open kitchen. Owner Vincent Foti's modest menu is more conventional. Classic Italian pastas and entrées are served in single or family-size portions and include authentic ingredients like house-made mozzarella and flour flown in from Naples. A chalkboard of specials changes daily depending on what's fresh, but you can't go wrong with the classic hearty meatballs or gnocchi with a rich Gorgonzola cream sauce.

Open Tuesdays through Sundays from 5:30 pm.


The Floridian, Florida

1410 E. Las Olas Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301
Tel: 954 463 4041

A glorious holdover from Fort Lauderdale's past, the Floridian (opened in 1937) packs in hungry diners day and night—whether blue-haired retirees or dawn-bruised nightclubbers. It's huge, so you'll never have to wait for a table (except perhaps on Sunday mornings); the interior is reassuringly unfussy, with its original counter, 1980s Formica furniture and walls covered in autographed, if peeling, celebrity pictures. As for the menu, it's diner-vast: you can order French toast and pancakes for breakfast or one of dozens of deli sandwiches and entrées like meatloaf and fried clams all day.

Open 24 hours daily.


Edelweiss Bakery, Florida

2909 E. Commercial Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33308
Tel: 954 772 1529

A seemingly nondescript bakery in a beachside strip mall, this spot is in fact a great, low-key find where the German owners offer favorites of their homeland. In addition to the fresh breads and glistening pastries filled with dried fruit or custard, there are jars of pickled sauerkraut, imported chocolate and cookies, and cured meats to take home. The stiff, Austrian-style espresso is also delicious.

Open Mondays through Fridays 8 am to 5 pm and Saturdays 8 am to 4 pm.

Editor's Pick


W Fort Lauderdale, Florida

401 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33304
Tel: 954 414 8200, Fax: 954 414 8250

There's no surer sign that Fort Lauderdale has transitioned from the tacky Spring Break bastion of decades past into a viable alternative to Miami Beach than the W Fort Lauderdale's opening in 2009. W's first Florida outpost (another W has since opened in South Beach), the sophisticated, high-design hotel has big-city glamour with just a touch of debauchery. In the lobby lounge, called the Living Room, you can watch other guests swimming in the architectural wonder of a rooftop pool, overhead. The hotel's two adjoining oceanfront towers house 517 guest rooms, including condo-style accommodations. The bright rooms are dominated by whites and creams that put the focus on the views; plush linens and minimalist furnishings round out the contemporary look. A qualm: There are no bathroom doors (all the better for the open flow of the rooms, so they say), so you better be comfortable with your roommate. The higher floors, naturally, have the more spectacular views. Most have private balconies with lounge chairs that add movie-star quality to peering over Fort Lauderdale's oceanfront. The highlight of dinner at the hotel's Steak 954 is a two-way tie: the delicious Kobe steaks or watching scores of moon jellyfish pulse around a glowing aquarium that seems to hover within the dimly lit dining space. Fort Lauderdale has never felt edgier.—Terry Ward

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.