Author & Photo credits: Beth Pollock
Why you need to stay here
Are you a foodie who loves staying by the ocean? If so, you won’t do better than The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida. Its gorgeous beach views and lovely pool area are equaled only by its award-winning restaurants. A huge hotel (1000 rooms) that manages to feel intimate, the Diplomat has what it takes to make every guest in your entourage happy.
I stayed on the 18th floor in a King Bed Corner suite, with a wraparound balcony overlooking the Atlantic. Restfully decorated in blues and whites, the suite was airy and light. The living area was enormous, with a love seat, chaise longue, dining table and chairs for four, and a 55” high-definition TV. But who wants to watch TV with a glorious balcony view? I loved watching the view change as the day progressed – deep blue ocean to the horizon in midday; tall shadows thrusting over the water in the late afternoon; twinkly lights in the evening.
Food and Drink
You won’t find a hotel with a better collection of restaurants than The Diplomat. Whether you feel like American or Asian, casual or elegant, you’ll find it here.
I started at Monkitail, the Diplomat’s signature restaurant that serves Japanese. I ordered the Chef’s Tasting Menu: not only was it fabulous, at $65 for a 10-course tasting meal, but it also provided incredible value. The yellowtail sashimi was perfectly tender, and the glazed, skewered shiitake mushrooms were an umami delight. The wonderfully juicy duck scrapple bao bun was the highlight of the meal. My server, Matteo, was terrific, even giving me a tour of one of Monkitail’s soundproofed private karaoke rooms. (Seriously, if you’re there with a group, you have to give it a try.)
The next evening I had dinner at Point Royal restaurant, which specializes in shellfish and grilled foods. If it’s true that you can judge a restaurant by its bread (yes, it’s true), you’ll know from the outset that you’re in for another great meal. The warm cornbread with smoked honey butter was melt-in-the-mouth fantastic. I could have made a case for eating nothing else. Luckily, the tuna tartare, served with crunchy sesame crackers and avocado, lived up to the auspicious beginnings. Ever eat something that just makes you happy from the first bite? That’s the way I felt about the tuna. And the apricot soufflé cake (not too rich, with a sweet apricot sauce on the side) kept that smile on my face the rest of the evening. (Note: if you’re a shellfish fan, Point Royal is known for its daily Oyster Hour, which is actually two hours, from 5:30 – 7:30.)
Playa is a delightful choice for lunch by the beach, offering casual Latin-inspired and seafood options. Daytime eating doesn’t get any better than a beachside table and a Cuban sandwich (although I bet the fish tacos and the chopped salad come pretty close).
Other restaurant options include steak at Diplomat Prime, a cocktail at Nokku, and a sweet treat at Candy & Cones.
Even if you don’t stay at the Diplomat, you have to try at least one of their restaurants. They’re that good.
From the moment you walk into the 14,000 square foot spa, you’ll feel nurtured. I arrived early so I could unwind by the rain wall in the waiting room before my appointment. I had the signature massage, which left me feeling relaxed and ready for another day of sightseeing. If you have time after your appointment, enjoy a smoothie or healthy meal at the spa lounge overlooking the ocean.
Take your hotel stay over the top by renting a private poolside cabana, just a few steps from both the pool and the beach. Being a bit too fair to worship the sun, I loved the generous umbrella that shaded my lounge chair in front of the cabana. The side tables were large enough to accommodate my magazines, a drink, and the enormous plate of fresh fruit my cabana steward brought, without even being asked. The cabana interior features a couch, comfortable chairs, a fridge and a flat-screen TV. (If you got tired of the beach view, you could sit inside and watch reruns of Baywatch!)
If your interests run a little more active, opt for kayak and paddleboard rentals, or a sailing or fishing charter. The Diplomat’s marina is directly right across from the hotel on South Ocean Drive.
A kids’ club will keep the smallest members of your group happy, and a Dip ‘n’ Slide water play area will be welcome if you’re travelling with kids up to 12. (And if you’re not, rest assured that they’re both very discreet.)
The Diplomat is on South Ocean Drive in Hollywood Florida. It’s a short drive north to Fort Lauderdale and its attractions.
Diplomat Resort – http://www.diplomatresort.com/default-en.html
Notes: The author visited as a guest of The Diplomat Beach Resort, which did not review or approve this story.