A Tale of Two Resorts Part II Fort Lauderdale, FL. 7/8/11-7/11/11

The Grand Pelican Resort

Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Just as the Ocean Sky Resort resembled a nightmare, the Grand Pelican Resort became our paradise on the Atlantic Coast.  Despite being several stories tall, the architecture had a cottagy feel with its pale yellow exterior and hallways with white painted trim and molding. The balconies and verandas featured earthy-red ceramic tiles that felt simple, inviting, and cozy. The grounds were landscaped well with palm trees, shrubs, and tropical foliage. All this with a small, but quaint beach staring out into the aquamarine backdrop of a calm and picturesque sea. The amenities were tastefully construed and not haphazardly flung together like some low-rent airport business hotel.  As mentioned, the veranda with the earthy-red ceramic tiles and white-painted fence and trim, provided the perfect scene for al fresco dining. There was just the right amount of shade with a consistent gentle breeze from the sea keeping its patrons cool and refreshed even during the hottest times of the day. The food and drink were good, particularly the sweet potato fries and the oh-so delicious mojitos that went down quickly like a pelican diving into the sea for a seafood snack.   

The beach directly in front of the resort had an ample supply of umbrellas, beach chairs, and towels, provided free of charge by the hotel. There were a couple attendants on site, gladly ready and able to place chairs and an umbrella any where you like within the confines of the resort. For those individuals who like to divide their time between the beach and hotel pool, have no fear because there was one, in fact not only a pool but a lazy river that encapsulated the pool area complete with personal inter tubes that clearly piqued every kid’s interest and some adults too! Positioned to the south of the pool area was the hotel bar, from which came poolside waitresses prepared to take and deliver one’s preferred food and beverage orders. Finally worth noting in terms of amenities, was the on-site ice cream parlor dishing out  a respectable selection of tasty cool treats.

There were no complaints with the design and function of our room. Again the colors of pale yellow and white kept the ambiance airy and fresh. The room featured beautiful crown molding which tends to provide such a finished look. I also really enjoyed the sheers over the glass door leading to the balcony. They had an
intricate lace pattern delivering subtle detail to the room. The balcony outside was spacious enough for three or four people complete with simple patio furniture. Although we were not facing the ocean from our balcony, I found the city view to be just as charming and engaging. The bathroom was sectioned into two parts with the vanity and mirror in the front part and the shower in the back one. The bathroom presented a white and navy blue tile that complimented the motif of the room in general. The shower maintained ample room complete with an overhead shower meaning one didn’t need to duck under it in order to get wet. Of course the most important aspect to any hotel room is the bed, and the plush mattress allowed for several hours of uninterrupted sleep. Although it was not a memory foam bed (I don’t think I have slept on one in a hotel to this date) I noticed upon waking that I had initiated very little movement through out the night, suggesting a peaceful rest.

Overall in terms of service, comfortableness, and amenities (particularly access to a quality beach), I rank the Grand Pelican Resort in my top five hotels of all time. The hotel attendants were always attentive to our needs and maintained a pleasant demeanor. The only downside to staying at this hotel is the cost of parking. It is all valet, and one is charged $24.00 a day. In addition, I felt compelled to tip the valet every time I requested my car or returned from an outing. Needless to say I spent a little chunk of change on that operation. That being my only concern, I can without reservation recommend this hotel to anyone looking for quiet repose, a romantic getaway, or a summer family trip.

A Tale of Two Resorts Part I Fort Lauderdale, FL. 7/7/11

“I won’t be gone again, in this manner. I am as rickety as a hackney-coach, I’m as sleepy as laudanum, my lines is strained to that degree that I shouldn’t know, if it wasn’t for the pain in ’em, which was me and which was somebody else, yet I’m none the better for it in pocket; and it’s my suspicion that you’ve been at it from morning to night to prevent me from being better for it in the pocket, and I won’t put up with it, Aggerawayter, and what do you say now!”
– Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, Book 2, Chapter 1

I learned two things from my hotwire booking of the Ocean Sky Resort in Fort Lauderdale. The first is to not trust the hotel’s assigned star rating when hotwire says they are still gathering customer reviews for the hotel. The second being that three stars does not guarantee the comfort I am looking for, especially in terms of a stay lasting four or more days. We arrived at the Ocean Sky Resort around 9:30 p.m. on the night of July 7th. First impressions were very positive. the hotel lobby was ornately designed and the front office attendant was pleasant, answering all my questions calmly and confidently. She advised us that a late check-out would be possible and how to use the self-parking versus valet parking option (both were the same price so we clearly elected for the valet parking). However, upon ascending from the lobby to the second floor via the elevator, we quickly entered a world untouched since the 1980s. The decor of the hallway and room were shabby, outdated at best. This would end up being the least of our concerns. Our room contained two full beds, at no point were we given an option of a king. Later on when confronting the front office attendant about this situation, he advised me to “move away the night-stand in the middle and push the two full beds together.”

The bathroom was a piece of work in itself. The vanity prominently displayed a broken shelf front and center. The shower seemed to have a perpetual leak and some sort of hideous growth on the overflow cap, that I only hope was nothing more than rust.  My wife later even complained that taking a drink of water from the sink made her throat sore.The worst part of the room above all was the condition of the beds. Now I have stayed in my fair share of 1 star establishments and slept on some pretty weak mattresses, and I’m here to tell you that the mattresses at the Ocean Sky Resort will give them a run for their money any day of the week. The mattresses clearly had not been changed like the decor of the room for multiple decades. Neither bed was better than the other. After a drink on the beach at the next door hotel’s tiki bar, I asked the front office attendant to change rooms for a firmer mattress. He told me there was nothing available at this time and to check back in the morning. Furthermore he admitted that the quality of mattresses would be the same in each and every room. Feeling somewhat defeated, I headed back to my room. After a bit of tossing and turning by my wife and I, we made the decision to cut our losses and look for a better hotel. This meant forfeiting the cost of the hotel, as hotwire does not give refunds what so ever. Regardless of that fact we didn’t care, there was no way were going to ruin our vacation because our hotwire accommodation was a total flop.

So at 2 a.m. we started searching for a better place to stay. My wife located a couple of good options close to our current location on yelp that had good reviews. The first hotel we drove to was called Il Lugano, but it was situated a few blocks away from the beach. It was very modern looking from the outside and based on the reviews and price was a real viable option. However, I had my heart set on beach front property so we proceeded to the next hotel called the Grand Pelican Resort. It also had great reviews and was priced well, with the additional feature of being right on the beach. We parked at a meter in front of the hotel, walked inside to the front desk, and were able to secure lodging that night and for the duration of the trip.  Upon completion of that transaction we quickly returned to our first hotel, packed everything up, and checked-out in record time. I must admit when we finally laid down in our new room shortly after 3:00 A.M. I started to feel a sense of relief for the first time that night. We had overcome a major obstacle in the beginning of our trip and felt that nothing but clear skies would greet us the rest of the way. Stayed tuned for part II, where I provide in depth analysis regarding our stay at the Grand Pelican Resort.