Hitting the Jackpot by Staying Local & Getting Beyond Miles & Points

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staying at local hotels

A Great Local Stay in Ft. Lauderdale

All too often in the miles & points world we get caught up in the loyalty bubble. When it comes to hotels this means that we often only search for chains at which we can use points. This can be a mistake, because there are so many great gems to be found. I was reminded during a recent stay in Ft. Lauderdale why it sometimes pays to stay local.

My wife, daughter and I had one day to spend in Lauderdale where we wanted to stay on the beach. There are quite a few chain properties among which the Hyatt Pier-66, the Doubletree Bahia Mar and the Westin were among the best values for the night. All of those properties have an issue though. Yes, they are all old, but none of them are on the beach either.

To be fair the Doubletree and Westin are right across the street and the Hyatt sits on the Intracoastal Waterway, but I wanted beach frontage. My other big issue with all of these properties was parking and the resort fee. For example, at the Westin the additional fees tallied up to about $70 including tax. That is just ridiculous.

staying at local hotels
Ft. Lauderdale Beach from our balcony.

Finding a True Gem

So I turned to Hotel Tonight and found a place called the Sun Tower Hotel and Suites. This small 23 room hotel is not only right on the beach, but it comes with free parking and the Trip Advisor reviews are very good. Better yet, the room rate of $130 was cheaper than the Westin and we had beach frontage. I was sold.

Before booking on Hotel Tonight I always check out the website of the hotel to see what the rooms are like. Since it is a discounted last minute booking site, I expect the worst room. Before booking at the Sun Tower Hotel I checked their website which described 23 rooms in their small tower. Everything looked good until we went to check-in and were put in a small room behind the office. Room #24 if you will.

Fortunately around this time the owner who had earlier been playing with Ellie, came through and quickly fixed the problem. We were put in one of their corner suites on the top floor with a spectacular view of the Atlantic. Our room has a separate bedroom and living room and even a small kitchen. While I believe all of the rooms in the small tower are suites, this seemed to be among the bigger ones.

staying at local hotels
Our room had panoramic views of the beach and ocean.

We enjoyed our night at the Sun Tower. The three of us swam in the small but comfortable pool and even dipped our toes into the very choppy water. Being so close to the ocean was a blessing, since I had some work to do and definitely enjoyed the view of Ft. Lauderdale beach and the deep blue water. This just isn’t possible in a corporate property on this stretch of beach. While the hotel wasn’t perfect (the bed was a bit on the lumpy side for example), it was everything I wanted and miles/points couldn’t have given it to me.

Conclusion

It can be refreshing to stay at a smaller locally owned property. Yes, the consistency of the chains can be nice, but sometimes we need to look outside of that. I was reminded of this during our trip in March to Paris and Barcelona and once again when we visited the Sun Tower. It truly was a beautiful property and a throwback to the days when high rises didn’t dominate the Florida coast. Hopefully it will be around for a long time and I will get to stay there again.


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4 COMMENTS

  1. You forgot to look at Marriott chain. Marriott Harbor Beach Resort is directly on the beach (private beach actually).

    • I highly doubt it. The room was in my wife’s name and was booked about 30 minutes before we arrived. I just think it was a good owner making sure customers were happy.

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