Welcome to the latest installment of Check-In Florida, our monthly visit to some of best hotels and resorts of the Sunshine State. This month's stop takes us to the B Ocean Resort in Fort Lauderdale Beach.
When you live in Florida, you learn to deal with the extremes of Mother Nature. The heat, humidity, and afternoon thunderstorms come with the territory when you call the Sunshine State home. Then there's hurricanes, which as we learned during our visit to the B Ocean Resort in Fort Lauderale, have a funny way of cropping up just in time for your long awaited weekend at the beach.
The outer bands of Tropical Storm Isaac began to wash ashore, as day turned to night during our drive to South Florida. The storm was still hundreds of miles away, and technically wasn't due to arrive for 3 more days, but as often happens with tropical storms, the effects were being felt well in advance. A driving rain and howling wind welcomed us to the B Ocean Resort, and no doubt made the valet's job a little more adventurous as he dealt with a line of cars ahead of us. There was no time for pleasantries and information on how to call the car, this was an every man for himself sort of arrival which, like the wind, had us howling with laughter as we sprinted to the door.
|Hanging out with Crush in the lobby|
In contrast to the relative chaos outside, the lobby was a scene of total serenity. We were surrounded by a sea of white from the marble floors to the walls, which were accented by alternating lights of blue, pink and purple. The crashing waves outside carried onto the walls that were textured to resemble the surface of the ocean. All of this combined with a background of pulsating music, set the scene for the next two days.
|Lots of comfy places to sit...my kind of lobby...|
A team of four desk agents welcomed us to the hotel, behind a desk that seemed barely big enough to accommodate two of them. After an effecient check-in which involved a manual credit card imprint - circa 1986 - we headed up to room 903 for what I assumed would be a view of swaying palm trees.
|For some strange reason, the elevator on the left is called with it's own button...|
Someone from the hotel must secretly visit this site, because #903 turned out to be my favorite category of room...the corner room. These are usually found at the end of the hall in hotels, and often feature windows on two sides instead of one. This may sound like a small thing, but for a guy that loves natural light in my hotel rooms, it's sort of a big deal. If given the choice between a corner room or a suite, I take the former every time. OK, so maybe I'm not fooling anyone with that sort of crazy talk, but you get the drift.
|The beauty of a corner room...|
Once I got over my excitement for the corner room, I noticed the sleek furnishings, and of course, the all important white duvet. The room was also clearly built for the 21st century traveler, with complimentary WiFi, iPhone dock, and enough outlets by the desk to fuel a Chevy Volt. MJ noticed none of this, because she was preoccupied with figuring out how to sneak home the stuffed turtle from the bed without me noticing.
|What's not to like?|
The next morning I had high hopes for a break in the weather, so we could make the most of our short visit to Fort Lauderdale. First, we had to B Nourished with a visit to B'stro on the Beach for coffee and pastries.
|Every hotel should have machines that dispense wine...|
Tropical Storm Isaac showed no signs of letting up, but MJ still insisted that we B Active with a run down A1A. Personally, I'd have preferred the treadmill to the gale force head wind we seemed to encounter going both directions.
|"Seriously? You want to join that one guy?|
With a full day still ahead of us, the question was "what's next?" It was sort of hard to B Adventurous and explore Fort Lauderdale during a tropical storm. I suggested we could B Indulged with a couples massage in the spa suite, but MJ ixnayed that idea. Her position was if we were going to spend that kind of dough, it would be on new clothes at the giant Sawgrass Mills outlet mall. You can probably guess where we went next...
|Not a bad place for a meeting or to B Wed|
On our way back to the hotel, it was clear our goal to B Relaxed by the pool simply wasn't going to happen. So we did what any self respecting Floridian does during a storm...we picked up some provisions - read: adult beverages - and planned a marathon game of Gin Rummy in the lobby.
|A little small, but no one cares during a Tropical Storm...|
After pummeling MJ in cards, we took advantage of a break in the rain to B Glutonous with a pizza from Primanti's, located next door to the hotel. Fans of the Food Network may have seen their original location in Pittsburgh featured on an episode Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. The place is definitely a dive, but their pizza made being cooped inside all day totally worthwhile.
|My buddy Steve was quick to point out I should have had a brownie. They're REALLY good!|
Of all the things the hotel encourages guests to B, the thing I loved the most was the ability to B Myself. Trendy, beachfront hotels in South Florida sometimes have a coolness requirement for guests that shuns 30-something, balding guys who walk like a duck. Not so at B Ocean, where hipsters to families all seemed to fit in just the same.
In the end, our buddy Isaac may have washed away most of our plans for the weekend, but there are far worse places to ride out storm than the B Ocean Resort. And with locations coming to Miami and Orlando within the next year, soon Florida will have even more options to B Spoiled.
Enjoy Your Stay
Special thanks to the B Ocean Resort for hosting this edition of Check-In Florida. As always, all opinions and pontifications are my own.