Many hotels can boast that they’re by the beach; comparatively few, however, can boast their own private section of sand. The Pelican Grand Beach Resort, in the very charming Florida city of Fort Lauderdale, is part of that very select group.
If ever there were a place to truly relax, this is it. The toughest decisions one has to make here are ‘beach or pool?’ And both are desperately attractive options. Poolside, all you need to do is wave and someone will take your cocktail order, and you can drift along the lazy river while you wait for it to arrive. If we were you, though, we’d head to the beach.
The sand is some of the cleanest and most golden we’ve seen, and the fact that the hotel has exclusive use of a hefty chunk of it means that you can step from the breakfast table straight on to the seafront. We went in early May and the sea was the perfect temperature for swimming in. It was like a warm bath and, with a climate like Florida’s we were completely dry within minutes of stepping back on to the beach.
If you get to a point where you feel you’ve overexerted yourself lying in the sun, then you can always relax in the spa. The Pelican’s owner is a Swedish gentleman, and he’s bought a taste of home to his investment. The Swedish spa at the very top of the hotel is a highlight.
The treatment rooms offer first-rate luxury, and if it’s a massage with a view that you’re after, ask for George Powell-Lopez. George is the man responsible for bringing the proprietor’s vision to life, and his treatment room is very special.
It’s a little enclave all of its own, reached from across the sun-kissed terrace (where you can relax post-treatment), with full-length windows overlooking the Atlantic. The treatments themselves are really quite lovely. This writer dozed off during one of the most relaxing facials he’s ever had.
Built in traditional Floridian style, the Pelican is big, but small enough that it remains intimate, and is as charming as the city in which it sits. The rooms are really rather large and very comfortably furnished in a way that only American hotels are.
The beds are gargantuan, and the mattresses soft. Make sure to get a room with a sea view, there’s nothing like wandering out after a blissful night’s sleep and waking up with a coffee on the balcony, overlooking the beach.
Let’s chat grub for a minute. The Pelican’s food is really very tasty, and it’s made all the tastier by the setting – any meal’s better when taken on the veranda, overlooking the sea. For breakfast, go properly American and have the pancakes (with optional chocolate chips) and maple syrup.
If you’re dining at the evening, both the swordfish and the chicken are cooked to perfection, whilst the chocolate chunk brownie s’more is a thing of unmitigated culinary glory. And treat yourself to a C3 (calorie-conscious cocktail) or an anti-oxidant mojito (both are almost as good for you as they sound).
Should you want to venture off the hotel’s grounds, (and it’s a challenge to bring yourself to do so), then Fort Lauderdale is an excellent place for LGBTI travelers. It sits in Broward County, which is probably the most progressive in the state of Florida. There’s a thriving gay district in Wilton Manors, about 15 minutes drive from the hotel, and some beautiful coastline away from the Pelican. It really is perfect.