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Hyatt Regency Pier 66
A Fort Lauderdale Favorite

Pier 66:
Cruise Diva's choice in Fort Lauderdale for a pre-cruise getaway

by Linda Coffman

Who could have imagined more than a half-century ago that the 22 acres of swamp land purchased by Phillips Petroleum would grow from a gas station designed for serving watercraft to one of Fort Lauderdale's premier landmarks? From its humble beginnings, Pier 66 grew to include a luxury marina and yacht club and then a motel. Demand for accommodations was so high that the iconic high-rise hotel tower was constructed and the rest is history.

Pier 66, 390 sq. ft. Tower Junior Suite

Ship lovers can gather on tower balconies to take in the spectacular view and watch as passenger ships regally sail past as dark begins to settle over Port Everglades. It's a magical sight.

While the hotel is not new, it is lovingly maintained and luxurious. Every guest room features natural cherry wood furniture and a neutral palette enhances the décor.

Most bathrooms include expansive Brazilian granite vanities, Spanish marble flooring, and stylish lighting. All rooms are non-smoking (although smoking is allowed on balconies) and specially equipped accommodations for the disabled are available.

In addition to beds dressed with white down duvet blankets and plush pillows, standard Hyatt Regency Pier 66 amenities include:

Private balconies or patios with expansive water or garden views*
Telephone with dual lines and voice mail
Work desk
32" flat screen television with video on demand
Alarm clock
Individual climate control
Coffee maker
Full bath amenities
Hairdryer and robes
Iron and ironing boards
Coffee makers
Nightly turndown service upon request
In-room safe

Pier 66, Tower Luxury Bath

Although I prefer the view from a tower balcony, the garden/pool accommodations also have a great deal to offer. The best locations overlook lush, tropical gardens, planted with the most beautiful of South Florida's trees, plants, and flowers. This tranquil oasis is complete with waterfalls, three geometrically shaped swimming pools, and an enormous hydrotherapy pool that accommodates at least forty people.

Boat lovers might prefer a waterway/marina room overlooking the Intercoastal Waterway, where yachts cruise by to dock at the world-class 127-slip marina. One of my favorite places in the late afternoon is an outdoor table at Pelican Landing, upstairs from the dockside Marina Service Office. From there, it's fun to daydream about the islands you could explore on one of the luxurious private vessels berthed nearby while you enjoy a snack and a cool drink. Another afternoon activity that's inexpensive and fun is a ride on a water taxi. Make arrangements to catch one and take in the diverse sights along the Intercoastal, where you'll see everything from fabulous mansions to unspoiled tropical forests.

There's so much to do right at Pier 66, that you might not be inclined to leave... get a team together for water volleyball and check the Aquatic Center for a variety of water sports, jog on the scenic trail, play a vigorous game of tennis on the lighted, Har-Tru tennis courts, or unwind in Spa 66 with a pampering body treatment.

Choose from five restaurants and lounges that present a variety of menus and ambiance, from casual poolside fare at Orchids to elegant dining that features prime steaks and seafood at Grille 66. Lighter meals, snacks, and cold drinks are served at the Pelican Landing overlooking the marina and you'll find the Lobby Lounge is the chic spot for cocktails. If you're inclined to de-stress and relax in the privacy of your own room, Room Service is available. Cruisers embarking on Sundays can enjoy a Vueve Cliquot Champagne Brunch before checking out with 360 degree panoramic views at PierTops, located on the top floor of the resort. Sadly, the top-of-the-tower PierTops, which used to make a full circuit revolution every 66 minutes, is now the setting for private parties and events and is no longer open nightly to the public.

Does all this sound too expensive? Hyatt Regency Pier 66 is somewhat pricier than some other Fort Lauderdale hotels, but specials and “packages” that include meals or other perks are often available—be sure to check when making reservations.

* Patios on all ground floor waterway/marina rooms, some balconies on second floor.

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