When exploring Florida's coastline, there are definitive contrasts between the sugar-soft sands of Clearwater Beach; historic streets of St. Augustine; and the ever hip South Beach, shaped by Art Deco architecture, galleries, and clubbing. Florida's Gold Coast, a special stretch from Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale is defined as much by waterfront mega mansions as by small walk able towns anchored by beach front parks perfect for pickup volleyball and reveling in the wide open Atlantic.
In recent years, Marriott has successfully captured the best of this region by developing boutique hotel experiences on Palm Beach's Singer Island and Pompano Beach.
Separated from the mainland by a narrow stretch of the Intracoastal Waterway, Singer Island is at the apex of the Palm Beaches' renowned exclusivity. Here you get protected dunes flanking wide ultra swimmable beaches remarkably free of tourist oriented commercial development. Built in 2007 overlooking a private beach complete with a snorkeling reef just offshore and copious sandbars at low tide, this 21-floor 193 room all-suite Marriott has Vegas stature and attentiveness all tucked into nature preserve tranquility.
The lobby's vaulted ceilings, marble floors, and large plate glass windows flood the space with sunlight and palm-studded views. Doorways throughout lead to two vastly different pools - one an Infinity lap-style and the other a grotto lagoon complete with water slide, two-story waterfall, and zero entry "beach" access. Big screen "dive-in movies" are shown here every Friday night.
Suites range from 800 to 2,100 square feet, with living rooms at the center opening onto private balconies, most with ocean views. Marble bathrooms with deep soaking tubs and separate showers are perfect for luxuriating upon reaching your surf and sun limit. In-room washer/dryers seal the deal for extended stays and families. They're also outfitted with fully equipped kitchens, complete with dishwashers, to complement three popular on-site dining options - so you really don't need to summon the valet for off-property excursions when it's time to eat. Choices span an exclusive five-seat "Kitchen Table" experience at 3800 Ocean to fresh-made margaritas and Mexican specialties at Lagoon Cantina.
3800 Ocean is where prime oceanfront views are only matched by the dishes coming out of the “collective kitchen” helmed by executive chef Dean Max. Inspired by the personal influences and cultural backgrounds of each chef, their combined talents are unleashed on the area's rich bounty, creating a daily-changing menu featuring dishes like Florida orange-soy-glazed grilled cobia and grapefruit-roasted half chicken. The bar at 3800 Ocean's Lounge, fondly known as "artisan cocktail central," is lined with jars of fresh garnishes, limes, and other fruits just waiting for the blender.
After paddle boarding, kayaking, or snorkeling courtesy of on site rentals, Caribbean beach shack-style Reef Tiki Bar serves up Pacific Rim-inspired eats and drinks like the resort’s signature Coconut Island Breeze, which comes in a fresh cracked coconut. Listed among Condé Nast Traveler’s "Top 100 U.S. Resort Spas," SiSpa offers treatments inspired by the ocean's natural healing powers, like "Voyage of the Si Chakra Experience" and "Replenishing Sargasso Seaweed Experience." Heated marble beds and a private outdoor Jacuzzi kick up the relaxation factor to heavenly.
Named after the Florida pompano, a small fish frequenting local coastal waters, the town of Pompano Beach is also well known for its Isle Casino & Racing at Pompano Park, fishing off Pompano Pier and eateries like Fish Shack and Blue Willie's BBQ.
It is here that Marriott constructed two hotel towers in 2013, one from the ground up, the other a complete renovation of a former condominium complex. Beyond maintaining the site's stunning views and beach front access, Marriott was able to avoid current zoning restrictions that no longer allow such close proximity to the ocean. The resulting 219 rooms (194 guest rooms + 25 suites) are situated on a mile-long sandy stretch between Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse and Pompano Pier. One- bedrooms, 16 Executive Oceanfront Suites, and the 750-square-foot Presidential Suite with a king bedroom and separate living room, all feature...
...modern art using driftwood and photos of local scenes, as well as private balconies, marble baths, free in-room WiFi, and no-fee valet parking. Upon settling in, you'll feel the magnetic pull of the ocean, two heated outdoor pools, hot tub, and beach cabanas along with jet skis and surf boards awaiting your thrill-seeking proclivities.
Paying homage to Prohibition-era legend William Frederick McCoy, an in-depth photo exhibit of Roy and his partner Gertrude Lythgoe on a wall inside McCoy’s Oceanfront offers a mini history lesson showing these rum-runners bootlegging cases of rum just offshore from Bimini. The drinks menu extends this speakeasy mileau into your glass with cocktails like "Giggle Water" (Crop organic cucumber vodka mixed with fresh lemonade). Seasonally inventive dishes include fresh breaded Florida pompano or house made gnocchi with Florida rock shrimp and saffron. Outdoor patio seating overlooking the pools adds another dimension of social space under the open sky and swaying palms.
Sister spa to Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island, Marriott Pompano Beach's SiSpa is configured a bit differently, with four treatment rooms connected to a relaxation lounge with private curtained-off recliners overlooking floor to ceiling dune and ocean views. It is here you learn that no perk is better than being asked if you would like a glass of champagne after your massage is complete.
Just in case you're inspired to make it official with your significant other, the resort’s 3,000-square-foot rooftop Ocean Terrace is a wedding favorite outfitted with fire pits and sweeping ocean views.
Photos courtesy of Marriott International. Coverage made possible by participating in a sponsored visit.