In my twenties, I used to book vacations in sunny locations based on the square footage of beach space in front of the hotel. That was it. That was my only requirement. I wanted a bed to sleep in, a shower to wash off the sand from the beach and a place to buy a margarita. I don’t think those are huge “asks” on the hotel front. I wasn’t interested in anything other than sun, sea and sand. These days, however, I’m a lady on the hunt for a well rounded experience. And I find myself encountering too many beach front hotels that believe their audience won’t evolve over time, that they’ll be happy with the beach and lay their heads on scratchy linens, while looking at peeling wallpaper and stained carpets. Today’s traveller has high expectations and the hotels with prime real estate, and a never-ending view of the ocean, are under a huge amount of pressure to deliver a luxury experience that is thought through from arrival to departure, for every member of the family. The best example of a success story for this forward thinking in travel for all, with a reasonable price tag attached, is the newly transformed Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida.
There are over 1,000 rooms at The Diplomat Beach Resort. This is a number that has stayed with me for so many reasons, the first being that the service you receive at The Diplomat will make you struggle to believe that there are 999 other guests, at least, that are also being looked after. Every employee greets life with a smile and is more than happy to offer everything from advice to additional towels by the pool. But then again, they have plenty to smile about. The decor of the hotel, after a complete renovation (only $100 million later) is simply stunning. Walking into reception you are greeted by ceilings that are taller than most climbing walls, decor that could easily be featured in a coastal living magazine talking about “the right way to decorate your modern beach house,” and palm trees. Yes, they have a little garden of monstrous palm trees greeting you. We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.
Check-in is later in the day, 4pm to be exact. I arrived at noon, panicked with the situation that I was exhausted and I had a four hour wait ahead of me. My glass half empty was quickly made half full as the receptionist suggested I throw on a suit, grab lunch by the pool and make myself comfortable while they stored my luggage and prepared my room. Well, if I must! An hour later I was a changed woman. Fish tacos in my belly, a daiquiri in hand and my feet in the sand at the end of a pink sunbed and you could easily call me the happiest lady on earth. Who cares about a room? I’ll stay here, if you please.
Naturally, that’s all said before I check into the room. The room itself made it worth leaving my perch on the sand. Walking into the sleeping arrangement for the night, the first thing I noticed, on the 21st floor, was my balcony showcased stunning views of the multiple pools below and the ocean waves crashing just in front of them. Turning back around I was struck by the simplicity and contemporary edit of the furniture that decorated the space. Clean blonde woods, striped lamp bases, bright blue accent chairs and a bath with a shuttered window view of the room all perfectly echoed the clean beach aesthetic. No shabby sheets or carpets here. Every linen, every item of decor, even the notepads in the room, had a feeling of modern luxury.
The cool factor continues, however, with the fact that the hotel has 10 restaurants. You could stay here for a week and not cover every outlet. If you fancy breakfast, take your pick. Oh, and they all deliver, like take away, to your room. So if you’d like to never leave the room, that’s an option as well. I took breakfast in bed one morning with pancakes and it was like ordering up from UberEats straight to the suite. Couldn’t have been easier or, dare I say it, more fun! The Diplomat is also instagram famous for Candy & Cones. Their shakes, cones and macarons will give you a sugar high if you’re struggling after a day in the sun. Or if you fancy something more substantial, head to Bristol’s Burgers (I am still kicking myself that I didn’t get to eat here while in residence). But, one must is a stop into Monkitail, the restaurant recently voted as the best hotel restaurant in America by USA Today.
Another must do, for your list when you come to stay, is renting a cabana. These poolside “huts” are ideal for families or friends visiting together. You are basically reserving a suite, with its own television, sound system, fridge and waiter service, along with deck chairs and a fan you’ll be all too glad to have in the heat. It’s just a nice way of taking a step up in the luxury department.
Now, I saved the best news for last with The Diplomat Beach Resort. Scroll through the pictures below and tell me what you think the cost of a room here is for the night. I will guarantee that the figure you come up with will look in the $600-850 mark at least. Now, hold onto your trousers, firmly. The Diplomat’s starting rate for a night is $169. Yeah, I’m putting a lot of emphasis on that because I still can’t believe it to be true. I was waxing lyrical about how luxury this whole experience was and I reckon the hotel itself would politely argue that while they most certainly deliver a luxury experience, they do not believe in calling themselves a luxury hotel with ridiculous price points. They are looking to cater to everyone, from families on vacations to group bookings for conferences (yes, they have a massive market for conferences). This, dear reader, has been added to my future vacations list. It’s a place I’ll come back to and a place I most definitely recommend.
Rooms start from $169
Open year round