First look: Fort Lauderdale’s stylish new Kimpton property may be the best deal in town
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Editor’s note: The Kimpton Goodland Hotel provided a complimentary stay to TPG to be among the first to experience the new property. The opinions expressed below are entirely from the author and weren’t subject to review by Kimpton Goodland Hotel or any external entity.
There’s no shame in saying this; I may have partied once (ok, maybe more than once) until the wee hours of the morning, just steps from this hotel’s new location as a young adult.
While Fort Lauderdale Beach remains a buzzy destination for sun-worshipers and party-goers, the city’s first boutique hotel and only Kimpton property — The Goodland — marvels as a mid-century architectural delight with a calm-and-cool vibe — unlike its neighbours.
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Having grown up in Fort Lauderdale and spending my youth frolicking up and down A1A (Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.), I wanted to see how this new-kid-on-the-block would fare versus the well-established, beachfront hotel competition. So when given a chance to spend a night at The Kimpton Goodland Fort Lauderdale Beach and relive my glory days (who am I kidding?!), I seized the opportunity.
As a huge fan of InterContinental Hotels Group’s (IHG) chic Kimpton brand (I even had my wedding reception at the Kimpton Epic Hotel in Miami), I was excited to experience Fort Lauderdale’s first Kimpton property.
Here’s what it was like to experience The Kimpton Goodland Hotel Fort Lauderdale Beach.
While this Kimpton hotel is part of the IHG portfolio of brands, it feels more like a standalone boutique property, rather than your ordinary chain hotel. I couldn’t contain my excitement when I started pricing out a one-night stay and finding there was value to be had from using points instead of paying cash.
Nightly rates at the 96-room property start at $179 (about £127) during the week.
On busy weekends, holidays or during the popular winter months (when most people from the Northeast and Midwest look to escape the cold), rates can head north of £275 per night.
The good news is during the low season (which is the summer in South Florida) or mid-week, award nights start at only 25,000 IHG points a night. Per TPG valuations, IHG Rewards points are worth 0.4p apiece. Even at the lowest end of the nightly rate spectrum of £127, booking a room with 25,000 points would net a return of 0.5p per point — a higher value than what TPG pegs on IHG points.
However, you should check cash rates to determine if it’s worth using points — especially if you’re visiting during off-peak periods.
For my Wednesday night stay, the hotel was charging £170, including taxes and resort fee (more on this later) for a standard Essential King room. Comparatively speaking, other hotels — like the W Fort Lauderdale and Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort only 100 yards away — commonly charge above £215 per night and tack on a resort fee too.
Location and history
Construction began on the three two-story, art deco hotel in 1948 and was completed in 1951. Originally known as The Escape Hotel — Fort Lauderdale Beach’s first year-round hotel — it was built by George Gill Jr. (who also produced the city’s most iconic hotels like Sheraton Yankee Trader and Yankee Clipper) who became known as the brainchild of Broward County hospitality. The hotel’s clientele in its heyday included professional athletes, gamblers, hustlers and beauty pageant contestants.
Situated in the North Beach Village section of Fort Lauderdale Beach and nestled a block from the bustling beach shoreline, The Goodland is set back, one block behind the W Fort Lauderdale and Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach.
Guests are minutes by car from the sidewalk cafes and bars of the celebrated Las Olas Boulevard but steps to the restaurants on the beach strip. And best of all for out-of-towners, the hotel is located just 7 miles from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
When I pulled up to the valet, I had sworn I took a wrong turn and made my way to South Beach instead. That’s because the exterior aesthetics resemble the art deco architecture Miami Beach is so famous for.
Immediately I noticed two sets of beach bikes, set on dual bike racks (use is complimentary for hotel guests).
Upon entering the lobby, you’ll notice the modern, simple design, with cushioned seating areas and paper-like pendant lighting.
Fresh colour palettes juxtaposed with South Florida colours like turquoise and terra cotta for a breezy vibe.
Check in was seamless — the front desk gentleman explained the layout of the hotel and the location of the restaurant and pool and then I was on my way with room keys in hand.
The two-story boutique hotel consists of three small buildings that resemble more of a chic apartment complex than a hotel.
Each building is fittingly named after Fort Lauderdale’s three most historic hotels: Yankee Clipper Hotel, Jolly Roger Hotel and Sheraton Yankee Trader Hotel. Jolly Roger is the central building where the front desk, restaurant, bar and elevators are located. As I had a second-floor room, I bypassed the elevators for the stairs and opted for the easy walk up since I was only carrying a backpack.
Guests can walk through the lushly landscaped hallways to get to any of the buildings, which are connected on both the first and second floors.
My pool-facing corner room featured a “wall” of green leaves dangling outside the door.
The room was clean and smelled fresh from cleaning products. Awash in natural hues and equipped with holiday-inspired amenities, the rooms at The Goodland reflect a beachy holiday vibe.
The mid-century touches such as a Marshall Bluetooth speaker and Galanz mini-fridge added to the retro style of the hotel.
Each nightstand came equipped with a clock, lamp and multiple electrical outlets to charge your devices.
Guests are welcomed with extra towels, a yoga mat, and a beach bag in the room.
A small reading loveseat with a lamp was positioned in the room corner, facing the bathroom.
The full bathroom featured Kimpton’s Atelier Bloem collection amenities. I found it quite clever that the shower handle was purposely placed on the opposite side of the showerhead to allow guests to gauge water temperature before hopping into the shower.
I was able to view a standard Essential Double Queen room and this room had adequate space for a family of four. It felt a bit more spacious than my King room, though both room types are virtually the same size.
Food and beverage
The Goodland has one main restaurant and two bars for now. Botanic, the on-site restaurant, takes inspiration from the farms, fields and waters of Florida with touches of Latin and Caribbean influences, featuring cocktails concocted with fresh juices and a menu of shareable plates.
My mom lives about 30 minutes away, so logically, as the good son I am, I invited her for dinner to enjoy some shareable plates and wine (though she’s not much of a drinker).
We had a table inside (there’s also outdoor seating beside the pool, but it was a bit too warm of an evening), beside the restaurant bar and with a floor-to-ceiling window view of the pool.
Mom and I shared the pappardelle pasta with spicy pork meatballs, which was superb.
We also devoured three crispy shrimp tacos served with cabbage slaw, cilantro crema and roasted pepper puree, which were my personal favourite. Both dishes were recommendations from our waitress Dora.
Good Bar, the hotel’s poolside bar, is perfect for laying by the pool and indulging in the kind of easy-drinking options that welcome the soft turn of day to night.
In addition, the hotel plans to debut a rooftop experience on the eighth floor of the adjoining high-rise building (owned by the same owners as The Kimpton Goodland) in October that will feature a rooftop pool with views of Fort Lauderdale’s Intracoastal Waterway to go along with food and beverage offerings.
Let’s address the elephant in the room: resort fees. While The Goodland does charge a $38 resort fee — whether on a points or cash booking and regardless of elite status — guests are provided two beach chairs, two bottles of water, two hours of free bike rental daily and yoga classes.
If you don’t feel like walking a block to the beach or you’re more of a pool person, cool off at the hotel’s low-key pool with ample lounge chairs and other comfortable seating options.
If you’re half-starved, you can order a bite to eat from Botanic or snacks from Good Bar at the pool deck.
Yoga is offered on The Deck — an open space that’s perfect for a relaxing morning or afternoon — from Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
The yellow chair area is known as the Zen Garden, to which the hotel plans on adding umbrellas and a fire pit for guests to enjoy.
As is customary at Kimpton hotels, you can expect additional perks such as free coffee and tea, evening social hour with complimentary wine, kid-friendly programming and no charge to bring your furry child with you.
The 24-hour gym was neatly designed for fitness buffs, with cardio equipment such as treadmills, bikes, and ellipticals available and adequate dumbbell weights. Towels and water bottles are also provided.
Debuting later this year is an array of programmes and activities like botanic-filled courtyard yoga sessions and live music on the rooftop. No one likes resort fees, but The Goodland (and the Kimpton brand) includes plenty of perks to help soften the blow.
South Florida is usually not synonymous with exceptional customer service, despite being a world-class tourist destination. It’s one of the things that frustrates me about my hometown. But I was relieved that this was not the case at The Goodland. The great service began at the start of my stay: The valet attendant warmly welcomed me to the property, the check-in agent was prompt to welcome me, thank me for my loyalty and expeditiously handed me my room keys. At dinner and breakfast, the servers at Botanic were attentive and affable. My mom and I had a long conversation with our waitress Dora about her family. And the dishes she recommended were our favourites — even over the other items we ordered ourselves.
The hotel wasn’t busy during my stay, so I may have interacted with every hotel employee on my one-night visit and every single person we met seemed genuinely concerned about all guests’ satisfaction, not just mine. A refreshing change of pace from some stuffier hotels you’d find in Fort Lauderdale Beach and beyond.
The Kimpton Goodland Hotel in Fort Lauderdale didn’t just impress me, it delighted me in every aspect with its mellow vibe and chic decor that contradicts its too-cool-for-school neighbouring hotels. As a local, I definitely plan on returning for a staycation.
One thing I won’t forget to do the next time I stay at The Goodland is whisper Kimpton’s secret password to the friendly front desk agent for those surprise complimentary goodies that distinguish Kimpton from all the other hotel brands.
Featured image by Juan Ruiz/The Points Guy
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