Consider This Your Invite to the Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale’s One-Year Anniversary Party

A truly spectacular hotel, just a short drive from Miami

March 3, 2023 6:47 am
The pool at the Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale, which is celebrating its one-year anniversary
You could be here. Why aren't you?
Rich Stapleton/Four Seasons

It’s possible that the most magical place in Fort Lauderdale is roughly 100 feet above the beach: specifically, the ocean-facing balcony attached to my room at the (relatively) new Four Seasons Hotel and Residences Fort Lauderdale.

This is a busy stretch of road, hotel speaking, along Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard: To the north is the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach; to the south is the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach and below that, the W. Little of that hustle-bustle, though, reaches the balcony. Up here, there’s just ocean and sky and exceptionally dramatic sunrises above the gunmetal-gray Atlantic. Happily, all the rooms in the hotel have a balcony, whether facing he ocean, the city or the Intracoastal Waterway behind it. Up here, it’s perfect, as is the calm, minimalist room adjoining.

For Miamians, I can see how this could make for a luxury-minded staycation, midway between the city and Palm Beach; for me, coming from the Upper Midwest (current temperature: -4 Fahrenheit), it is otherworldly. 

The Sauna at the Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale
The Sauna at the Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale
Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale

The hotel opened exactly one year ago today, with 129 rooms and 19 suites, as well as 41 private residences. More relevant numbers: There are two pools, five event spaces and six treatment rooms in the spa, plus two restaurants — the more formal Evelyn’s and the more casual Honey Fitz — with another, a “boulevard-level restaurant,” scheduled to open soon. If you happen to be in the vicinity this weekend, most of these spaces will in some way offer celebratory experiences, marking that one-year anniversary.

Tonight and tomorrow, Evelyn’s will offer a prix-fixe of its modern Levantine cuisine, with a course of Regiis Ova Caviar; Champagne will be served at Honey Fitz, with tropical live music. And anyone who steps into a treatment room for a Pietro Simone facial with an enhancement will leave with the brand’s Salt Mushroom Face Massager.

It’s easy to spend your entire stay rotating between those rooms — between the balcony and the spa and the pool and the other pool and the gym. I was at the hotel for two days before I crossed the street to go swim in the ocean (warm, seaweed-y, amazing), and then read a book on a lounge chair within a branded area quietly overseen by the hotel’s beach concierge (offering a highly useful, mega-size bottle of Supergoop). It’s hard enough to leave the room, with its cool, crisp, yacht-inspired interiors from London-based interior architect Tara Bernerd working alongside the local firm Kobi Karp Architecture & Interior Design. Their desired (and achieved) effect: subtle references to “an era of Chris-Craft Yachts and Capri Pants.” Those with roots in that world will get the nods, within the design and elsewhere; those (like me) ignorant of the fact that “Honey Fitz” was the name of the Kennedy family yacht will just pick up our snacks (or Champagne in the evening) and go, none the wiser.

The hotel’s premier suite, officially regarded as the Birch Oceanfront Terrace Suite, spreads out across nearly 1,700 square feet and pays tribute to a different sort of 20th century icon: Hugh Taylor Birch, a Chicago lawyer who, in 1893, bought his first parcel of land in Fort Lauderdale, then a tiny beach town. Eventually he owned 3.5 miles of pristine beachfront property, purchased for $1 an acre — and then donated it all to the city, which turned it into a state park. 

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During the 48 hours I stayed within the hotel (you’d do it too, if you’d just spent the winter in Iowa), I rotated between the two places to be: poolside and behind a table at Evelyn’s.

For the former, the best plan was to commandeer one of the chairs overlooking the ocean for the whole day, which made for a lazy, wonderful afternoon of ordering from the pool menu and guessing which guest would play which role in a Fort Lauderdale-set season of White Lotus. For the latter, I simply took a seat at the restaurant, which is led by chef Brandon Salomon and centered around his interest in the eastern Mediterranean: olive wood-smoked octopus, cardamom donuts with rose syrup, and a truly spectacular (if humble sounding) opener in stone-fired pita with classic hummus (with pine nuts and sumac), a different hummus (with black winter truffles), smoked eggplant (with rose petals and pistachio) and charred red pepper (with pomegranate seeds and walnuts). 

All this, just an Uber ride away from Miami? This Iowan is shaking her head. Pack your bag, and you can be there tonight.


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