Just to the north of Miami in Broward County, with its own international airport and a plethora of low-cost carriers from which to choose, Fort Lauderdale offers some of the best beaches in the country—fully seven miles of sandy shores. It’s no wonder college spring-breakers flocked here in the 1950s, ’60s, and even into the ’70s. But Fort Lauderdale transformed itself some time ago, knowingly and willingly, into an upscale beach destination that offers multiple five-star hotels and resorts that also cater to meetings and incentives.
When it’s location you are looking for, with a walkway that takes you directly to the beach, turn your attention to the 432-room Westin Beach Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale, which offers panoramic views of the ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway. Both are within easy reach from the hotel, giving your group quick access to the ocean’s best activities: diving, sailing, fishing, or just cruising.
The Westin’s signature restaurant, Shula’s on the Beach, is a king among steakhouses, providing another good reason for meeting pros to call this hotel a home. A recent visit with dinner showcased the property’s amazing staff, in addition to delectable food. “Shula Cut” steaks are the specialty of the house.
Distinctive boutiques situated along Las Olas Blvd. and upscale shops at Galleria Mall are also within minutes and make for great activities during break time or fun excursions for guests. From the resort you can walk to one of the area’s water-taxi stops and board a boat to explore the area’s waterways. They have earned Fort Lauderdale the nickname “Venice of America.” Charter a boat (Lady Chateau and Owner/Captain Randy Boler, is a good recommendation) with skipper, crew, appetizers, and cocktails, and drool over the divine waterfront homes, mega-yachts, and sail-up tiki bars.
The 32,000 square feet of meeting area at the resort offers space in two towers: The North Tower houses the conference center, which offers two large ballrooms divisible by six on two floors. The South Tower offers seven meeting rooms in different configurations with prefunction space in the South Tower. Small groups will want to check out the Sawgrass boardroom, one of two on the mezzanine level of the North Tower, or the Rooftop sky terrace in the conference center, flooded with sunshine and offering views of the surrounding waters.
Meetings at the Westin come with the Westin Clutter-Free meeting program that offers socially conscious amenities and SuperFoodRX menu choices. Green is top of mind as energy-efficient lightbulbs, double-sided meeting pads, and water pitchers are the order of the day for every meeting.
This resort also offers Westin’s signature Heavenly Spa, with a 6,500-square-foot space that includes separate men’s and women’s Jacuzzis, steam rooms, locker rooms, in addition to the spa treatment rooms.