Skip to content

Stylish beachfront getaway: A review of the W Fort Lauderdale

March 21, 2021
13 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

There's no shortage of Marriott properties in South Florida. Within the W brand alone there are three properties to choose from: the W Miami, the W South Beach and the W Fort Lauderdale.

After a relaxing two nights at the W Miami, I drove an hour north to check out the Fort Lauderdale property. The hotel underwent a major renovation in 2017 and is much bigger than the Miami property, with a whopping 517 rooms and suites, as well as a separate residential tower.

Here's how my stay went.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Benji Stawski (@benjistawski)

Booking

Rooms at the W Fort Lauderdale start at $240 per night, but often hover around $350 — or more during peak times. It's one of the pricier hotels in the area, but is usually still cheaper than the other South Florida Ws.

Alternatively, as a Category 6 Marriott Bonvoy property, you can book your stay at the W for 40,000 points on an off-peak night, 50,000 on a standard night and 60,000 on a peak night. As such, it's also eligible for the annual up to 85,000-point free-night certificates at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program (certain hotels have resort fees) that come with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card.


Ready to book or just looking? Take our one-question survey.


Whether you pay for your stay with cash or points, you'll be on the hook for a hefty $40 daily resort fee ($45.20 with taxes). In turn, you get two beach chairs and one umbrella, two bottles of water (available at the welcome desk), daily fitness classes, two-hour bicycle rentals, a free in-room movie and high-speed Wi-Fi. Marriott Gold Elites and above already receive complimentary enhanced internet as an elite benefit so they can inquire about a replacement benefit.

Related: The best hotel credit cards

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Location

The W has an ideal beachfront location at the corner of Bayshore Drive and North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard. Las Olas Boulevard, which is home to lots of high-fashion boutiques and restaurants, is a five-minute ride away. While there are still plenty of nightlife options, overall it's a quieter area than South Beach.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

It's about 20 minutes away from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and about an hour from Miami International Airport, depending on the traffic.

Related: Florida’s top 10 vacation regions for different types of travelers

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Check-in and lobby

Upon pulling up to the W, I was immediately struck by just how large the property was. There was a friendly bellman waiting to greet me and direct me to the East Tower, which housed the hotel. From there, I needed to take an elevator to the fourth floor to get to the main lobby.

I arrived at the hotel at 1:30 p.m. — 2 1/2 hours earlier than the standard check-in time — and was able to get a room right away. The check-in process was quick and painless, with just two guests ahead of me in line. Along with my set of keys, I was given a card that listed out all of the resort fee inclusions.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Room

When stepping off the elevator on the 12th floor, I was immediately attracted to the hallways. They were well lit and even had some natural light flowing in — a rarity for the W brand.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

The bright blue and white beach-inspired color scheme continued into the rooms — in my case, a Spectacular room with two queen beds. The difference between my room and a standard Wonderful room was that it had a partial ocean view and was guaranteed a balcony.

The bathroom was to the right by the door. If you plan on sharing the room with friends, you'll want to note that there's no door to the bathroom — just a curtain. Also, there's a glass wall between the bathroom and bedroom, though the glass is partially frosted.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

The bathroom was relatively simple, though spacious enough and well lit. There was a single vanity with sufficient counter space and a shower/tub combo. Toiletries were by the brands Davines and Skin Regimen.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

On the opposite side of the bathroom was a decently sized sliding-door closet with drawers, shelves and hanging areas. It was equipped with a safe, luggage rack and iron and ironing board, while robes and slippers were only available upon request.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

As is normally the case at Ws, the beds were comfortable and the pillows were fluffy. The white linens were beautifully offset by a light, wood headboard and rich blue accent wall. That said, the rest of the room felt a little bland with no artwork on the walls.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Between the beds was a nightstand with built-in power outlets and USB ports on each side, an alarm clock and Bluetooth speaker. There was also a small pack of disinfectant wipes.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Opposite the beds was a large desk. It had easily accessible power outlets and wasn't crowded with unnecessary items — likely because most were removed due to the pandemic — but the chair didn't seem comfortable to sit in for long periods.

The minibar was empty due to the pandemic and there initially wasn't a coffee maker in the room, but I got a Nespresso machine delivered upon request.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

My favorite part of the room was definitely the balcony. It was spacious and furnished with two chairs and a small table. It offered great views of both the ocean and the bay.

Amenities

The W’s main attraction was the fifth-floor oceanfront "Wet East" pool deck. It had a very lively atmosphere, with a DJ spinning Saturday afternoons. It was the place to see and be seen — literally.

That's because in the center of the pool was a glass-enclosed staircase that connected to the lobby. It proved to be a great (Instagram-worthy) photo opportunity.

There were many loungers set up around this pool, as well as daybeds and cabanas available for $50-$500 per day (plus food and beverage minimums).

If you wanted a more quiet atmosphere, there was another pool, Wet West, located in the back of the second tower. It seemed geared more toward residential guests and was shadier due to the position of the other tower.

Next to Wet East, on the fifth floor, was the 24-hour fitness center. It was equipped with everything you would need, including two Pelotons. Some pieces of equipment were closed to promote social distancing, but it still got uncomfortably crowded in the morning.

Back on the fourth floor, right by the lobby, was the signature Away Spa. I didn't indulge in any services, but it was open on the weekends and appeared to follow enhanced cleaning protocols.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

The beach was directly across the street. It was clean and quiet with an attendant to help set up lounge chairs and umbrellas. There were towels available but no food or beverage service.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Food and beverage

While some had reduced hours due to the pandemic, there were several bars and restaurants on the property.

The hotel's signature restaurant was Steak 954, from the James Beard Award-winning restaurateur Stephen Starr. It was located on the ground floor and offered both indoor and outdoor seating with views of the ocean.

This was the only restaurant open all day, every day during the time of my visit. I came here for breakfast one morning and had a delicious mushroom omelet ($14) and Greek yogurt parfait ($8).

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Next to Steak 954 was the hotel's Mexican eatery, El Vez. Although more casual, I thought the restaurant's indoor-outdoor space was a lot more inviting.

During the time of my visit, the restaurant was only open from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Fortunately, I was able to squeeze in dinner here Sunday evening.

I sampled the chopped salad with vegetables like chayote squash and golden beets ($12), the tuna tostadas ($14) and a side of grilled corn. The food was light and delicious and the service was friendly. I'd certainly return here.

Right outside El Vez was a grab-and-go station open every morning from 7 to 11 a.m.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

There was a bar with snacks and drinks at Wet East that was open every day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. There was also a smaller bar at Wet West, though that one didn't look open during my visit.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

I ordered a poolside frozen cocktail ($15) and guacamole ($10) one day. Both were tasty and the service was efficient, though I thought the chips-to-guacamole ratio was a bit off.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

There was another bar in the lobby — aka the living room. It was open nightly and had light bites available on the weekend. As is typically the case with W bars, it seemed like a cool spot to elbow up for a drink or two.

On the other side of the lobby was what would be a sushi bar, but it was temporarily closed due to the pandemic.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Finally, although technically not a part of the hotel, on the street level of the residential tower was a casual vegan restaurant, SoBe Vegan.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Service

My interactions with all of the staff were fine. I made requests for a coffee maker in my room and extra toiletries, and they were delivered promptly. My only real qualm was that the room didn't feel adequately cleaned as I found some hair and a piece of trash from the previous guests. This was disappointing given Marriott's enhanced cleaning protocols, but fortunately, there were disinfectant wipes for me to wipe everything down again.

Overall impression

All things considered, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at the W Fort Lauderdale. The hotel had a great overall aesthetic and I appreciated that it was brighter than most Ws I've stayed at. The beachfront location was also hard to beat.

While the resort fee was high, the property offered a lot of perks for it. I'd certainly book another stay here, but would likely avoid peak periods. The hotel already felt pretty crowded when I was there so I could only imagine what it's like in non-COVID times. Put another way, look elsewhere if you want a purely relaxing retreat.

Featured image by (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023