Coffee, Authentic Mexican Meals and a Wellness Stay in Fort Lauderdale

Headed to Fort Lauderdale?

During my most recent visit, I discovered I liked it so much I might even be able to live there and will absolutely be visiting again soon. The new Miami (at least for spring breakers), Fort Lauderdale is just a 30-minute Brightline ride from the Magic City.

Book a ticket in the select cabin and you’ll have just enough time for some snacks and a glass or two of complimentary wine. Check in at the station early and you can also enjoy complimentary snacks and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) in the Brightline select lounge.

Arrive at the Brightline Fort Lauderdale station and after a quick Uber or Lyft ride, you’ll be checking in at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort.

After a multi-million dollar renovation, each room in the Westin has floor-to-ceiling windows, Juliet balconies and in-room refrigerators, plus a Westin Heavenly Bed, uniquely designed with a plush, pillow-top construction for premium comfort and support.

Bathroom amenities include the brand’s Heavenly Shower, Heavenly Robe and White Tea Aloe products. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you might end up in one of just six guest rooms that’s got its own Peloton bike. Imagine getting your morning workout in with an ocean view in the comfort of your hotel room. This perk really takes “no excuses” to the next level.

Then there’s the hotel’s new restaurant, the award-winning Lona Cocina Tequileria. With celebrated Chef Pablo Salas running it, this is the most authentic Mexican fare you can get on the East Coast—and it is delicious.

Start with a tuna tostada made with chipotle aioli and crispy leeks and a fresh, tangy order of guacamole and chips. Move on to the buttery lobster tacos with black beans and habanero salsa and short ribs from the grill with guajillo caramel, boniato mash and watercress cilantro.

Wash it all down with a few margaritas and save room for churros with chocolate sauce. If you can’t possibly eat it all, grab a couple to-go boxes; this dinner will serve as the most amazing midnight snack or pre-breakfast nosh.

Spend your vacation at the pool or crossover to the beach through a tunnel built for easy and safe pedestrian access. If you’re itching to get off-property, head into a part of town called F.A.T. Village, a warehouse area that features monthly art walks plus co-working spaces, coffee shops and galleries galore.

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For a pick-me-up, visit BREW Urban Cafe, part of a collaboration inside Next Door at C&I.

This coffeehouse/full bar overlooks the train tracks and transports you to a faraway land that could be anywhere but Florida. Grab an artisan coffee, tea or a glass of wine here and decompress for a bit. If you have work to do, this is the perfect place to get it done. The shop gives off super chill vibes, has lots of natural light and plenty of space to set up your laptop and makeshift workspace.

Another fun option for coffee and wine (and flowers!) is Ann’s Florist and Coffee Bar on Las Olas Boulevard. This trendy spot is a flower shop that also sells greeting cards and knick-knacks—the perfect stop when you need to buy a gift for a girlfriend, co-worker or your mom. And what’s more fun than drinking while shopping? You can definitely do that here and no one will be judging you.

For some light bites, cocktails or wine and a side of sunset, there’s Rooftop @ 1WLO, downtown Fort Lauderdale’s first rooftop bar. It’s not often chilly in South Florida, but if it happens to be a bit nippier than usual you can cozy up to the fire pits and watch the sky change colors before heading back to the hotel.

This rooftop patio offers panoramic views of the city and Happy Hour (4-7 p.m.) Tuesday through Friday. It even hosts a weekly movie night, every Wednesday at 8 p.m., and offers complimentary entry and free rosé for the duration of the film. If that doesn’t sound like a good time, nothing will!

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