Our very last stop on our trip around the world with Semester at Sea wound up being a place with which I am very familiar: Florida. I spent my Spring Breaks growing up at my parents’ condo in Orlando and many a summer laying by the pool at Sandestin in the Panhandle. I’ve been to Miami a couple of times in my adult years. However, one Florida city I had yet to visit was Fort Lauderdale. So when we docked there in mid-December, SVV and I chose to stick around for a couple days before heading back to the real world.
The majority of voyagers who also stayed in Florida for a bit headed down to Miami, but we didn’t want bright lights, big city, crazy nightlife; we wanted peace and quiet. So we checked into the beachfront W Fort Lauderdale for two nights in hopes of finding just that.
I’ve stayed at a couple of W hotels before—in San Francisco and Hollywood—and the Fort Lauderdale property was consistent with the brand: super swanky and sexy with plenty of modern touches that I wanted to slip in my purse and take home with me.
Our visit fell just 10 days before Christmas and midweek, meaning that it was very quiet, and at times it seemed like we had the whole hotel to ourselves.
After four months of sleeping in a tiny twin bed, all I wanted to do was sprawl out on this king and sleep for a week. Unfortunately, I had competition.
And while the rooms are might comfortable, my favorite part of the W is the obvious…the bath products! I’m obsessed with Bliss and can’t go into Sephora wittout being suckered into buying something from the line at the checkout bins, so the fact that you get these mini bottles for free when staying at a W is enough of a reason for me.
But we ended up not being the only ones who stayed put in Fort Lauderdale. Our pals Andrew and Jane and Brian and Layne all decided to hang out in the area, so we went to ROK:BRGR the first night to celebrate the end of a successful voyage (and because we all desperately craved some quality American food—in this case, burgers and fries—like nobody’s business).
After four months of beer and wine on the ship—yes, the faculty and staff have their own bar, and it does include a full liquor selection but we usually were cheap and stuck to Heineken or Red Strip—SVV exercised his right to order a very manly pink drink. (SVV fact: His drink of choice is a cosmo and he’s from San Francisco. I often question his sexuality, too.)
It turned out that some of the students were having one last hurrah at a bar next door, so we popped in for one last opportunity to mingle.
I’m excited to go back on the M/V Explorer in May, but I’d be lying if I said it’s not going to be bittersweet without all of my Fall 2011 friends on board, too.
The next two days were extremely windy, so much so that you didn’t really want to be outdoors, so we spent a lot of time sleeping in and lounging inside the hotel and basking in our high-speed Internet connection (after four months without, I was tearing through some webpages). We had brunch and we went to see a matinee (The Descendants…meh), and we wandered the beachfront boardwalk a couple of times.
We had yet another delicious meal at Canyon, thanks to a quick Yelp search, our first proper date with just the two of us in months.
On the last day in town, the weather wasn’t improving, so we still didn’t get a chance to make the most of the W’s beautiful pool, which was just taunting me throughout our stay.
But we did capitalize on the oceanfront hot tub, and Jane and Andrew came over for a dip and some poolside cocktails before we boarded a plane and said good-bye to this life of leisure we’d grown accustomed to.