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Three days at the Westin Diplomat Resort


kelmac

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My wife and I just got back from FLL -- we spent one night pre-cruise and two nights post-cruise at the Westin Diplomat Resort. (Celebrity Solstice -- http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=960693 Review).

 

We had some concerns, as this was the first time staying in Hollywood, and many people indicated the hotel is too far from the "action". We decided to try this area without a rental car, which we usally have when staying in south Florida.

 

Thanks to all the CC help from Bequia and BlueHerons, we had no problems exploring the area. We love to walk, and my wife really loves figuring out Rapid Transet systems. We actually saw more on foot and with the bus system compared to our explorations with a rental car. When we arrived (March 21st) we were given a great room on the 31st floor with a view of the intercoastal waterway and the town. Great Priceline find! Superior hotel, with a great pool, super service and plenty of beach to roam. Best hotel we have stayed at in the Port Everglades area, and we have been to this area over a dozen visits.

 

The first day we were headed over to the Broadwalk when we were hit with some pretty heavy rain showers. Not a problem, as we made our way back to the A1A and caught the Trolly northbound and jumped off across the street from Le Tub (thanks BlueHerons!). This is an Uber-rustic place that serves the best hamburgers in south Florida. Funky and fun place to wait out the rains.

 

When we returned to the hotel after our cruise we weren't sure we could get a room at 10:00am -- but no problem if we were willing to take a handicap accessible room. Nice room with a balcony facing south this time; not a good as the first room, but once again very nice. The next two days we were in the pool, on the beach, on the broadwalk, and off to a bunch of places in and around the area. If you are willing to walk for 20 -- 25 minutes there are multiple places to shop and eat along Hallandale Blvd. Just leave the hotel, turn left and walk to the overpass (7-11 store/gas station on that corner); over the intercoastal water way and just keep heading west. We had breakfast at Panera. If you need things for your cruise, there is a Winn-Dixie, a Publix, a Ross, Burlington Coat Factory, Hometown Buffet, Starbucks, Boston Market...,

 

Riding the bus. Most people are a bit uneasy and unsure about taking the bus, but we find it exciting and educational and it gives you an opportunity to interact with the locals. Yes, you are going to get some homeless people and some real characters, but as my wife says "the bus pass is $3, but show is free". So, if you are willing -- try this:

When you exit the hotel and take a left past the 7/11 and Hallandale Blvd on the west side of the street (away from the ocean) is a bus stop for the #28 bus. Buy a "Day Pass" for three dollars and this enables you to use any bus until midnight; so six dollars for two -- a five and a dollar into the slot and the driver will hand you your passes. The bus will take you directly to the Aventura Mall. Nice upscale Mall with restaurants and a Movie complex (yes, we even caught a movie). Same bus coming back.

 

If you leave the hotel and turn right about 20 yards is a bus stop for the #4 bus headed north. This route is unusual, as it heads north on A1A to Hollywood Blvd and then turns west to the roundabout at downtown Hollywood and then returns to the A1A and heads north again. There is some shopping and a nice park at this city center roundabout. To the west is the old part of town similar to Las Olas. We ate lunch at a great Greek Restaurant called Taverna Yiamas @ 1948 Hollywood Blvd.

 

In addition, at this roundabout area you can connect to the #1 bus and head either southbound (Aventura Mall again), or northbound which will take you to the airport, or 17th street area of FLL, or on to Las Olas Blvd.

We had to hop off this bus northbound between Hollywood and the airport to experience Grampa's Bakery and Restaurant that was featured on "Diners, Dives, and Drive-ins" on the Food Network. Very, very southern food that gives you that soul food fix. Great homemade Pastrami sandwiches; southern fried steak with heart attack hashbrowns...,

 

We also did Las Olas blvd (great restaurants), the Galleria Mall (few more great restaurants) on Sunrise Blvd all using the bus system.

 

I pretty much only use Priceline, Hotwire and Easyclick when booking rooms in this area and hope that we score the Westin Diplomat Resort in the furture. If you have any questions let me know!

 

Kel:)

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Great hotel! My wife and I are locals, but we won a weekend stay at the Diplomat in a raffle a couple of years back. We stayed in a deluxe oceanview room. You could soak in the 2 person tub and look out to the atlantic. We really enjoyed the pool and the beach as well.

 

Parking was $20/day for unlimited use of the valet service (well, that +tips). You can call down from the room and have your car brought out. When you reach the lobby doors, your car is idling on the curb. Great service...

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Great review, so glad I could help, and thanks so much for taking the time to write a review!

 

Did you make it to Nikki Marina?

 

Blue Heron

Yes we did make it there and again thank you for all your great tips and advice,they are really appreciated.

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Great review, so glad I could help, and thanks so much for taking the time to write a review!

 

Did you make it to Nikki Marina?

 

Hi BlueHerons!

 

We did walk over there, but it was before noon and not much was going on. Looked like a great place to boat/people watch. In addition, they did have some classic cars parked in and around the Nikki Marina.

Thanks again for all the insight!

 

Kel:)

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