Located in Ft. Lauderdale away from the city's busy nightlife, this resort aims to provide adults with a relaxing beach getaway while giving kids the fun they want.
As we drove up to the Pelican Grand Beach Resort, I could easily have confused the resort, with its towers, for a palace. It looked like a majestic white castle sitting upon a hill above the Atlantic Ocean. The staff immediately greeted us as we stepped out of our van, and they were very friendly as we checked in. Inside, the lobby was decorated to resemble a country summer home, with many wicker rocking chairs. To make check-in easier for parents, there was also a play corner for kids that had board games, toys, and books.
What I really liked was that the Pelican Grand seemed to be half indoors and half outdoors. Going through the lobby I was inside but, after the elevator ride to my floor, I emerged and found myself outside the building. While I was still technically inside, the guestrooms were reached by walking along balconies open to the view, so it felt like the beautiful beach below was right at my door.
The Pelican Grand Beach Resort has no organized kids clubs, no counselors screaming over a PA system; it is a nice secluded place for bonding during a family beach getaway, away from the crazy party image of Ft. Lauderdale. Most of the 159 rooms at the Pelican Grand are suites. My guestroom was a very inviting one-bedroom unit decorated in soft white, pink and sea green fabrics. The decor was in keeping with the country home theme because instead of a clothes dresser, there was a casual hutch that held a TV behind doors. In the center of the room was the bed, big and white, with pillows that had an almost water-like feel.
A door separated the bedroom from the living room, where children could be put to sleep. The living room had two sofabeds, a small eating area, and another hutch that had another TV, this time with a video game controller for kids to play. It was light, bright and spacious, giving everyone room to spread out. The double rooms which I saw also had a lot of space for a family of four. One downside was that my cell phone had little or no signal inside the room. I discovered that the hotel was built out of concrete to withstand hurricanes (and foil cellular signals), but since this was done for guests’ protection, I can’t really complain.
Inside the hotel, the North Ocean Grill is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Families may want to limit their meals there to breakfast, when prices are in the $10 range. The breakfast buffet had the standard dishes with a good choice of fresh fruit including strawberries, different melons and starfruit. Dinner entrÃ©e prices started in the high $20’s and went as high as $37 for steak.
A real treat for kids is that the Pelican Grand has their very own ice cream parlor called The Emporium. It is half gift shop and half ice cream shop where they serve scoops, shakes, sundaes, and different coffee drinks, while also selling postcards, hotel souvenirs, and items that you might have forgotten to pack such as aspirin, suntan lotion; things like that.
While the kids get ice cream in The Emporium, adults can get dessert in the bar Postcards. They serve lunch, dinner, and dessert with a large selection of drinks. During my visit, a drink of the day was posted on the chalkboard. This is something you can take advantage of on Captain Jack Sparrow’s Thirsty Thursdays, when drinks are 50% off the regular price. Inside the bar they have a beautifully painted ceiling mural of a blue sky with clouds and pelicans. Yes, finding pelicans was like an Easter egg hunt throughout the entire hotel, as pelican paintings and sculpture appear in various places; some expected and unexpected ones, as well.
Outdoor Fun For All Ages
Of course, when you’re in Florida, you don’t want to stay indoors. The Pelican Grand has a quiet beach area where you can get some sun, a pool to cool off in, and a lot of things to do outside. On the sundeck that faces the ocean are dozens of rocking chairs, so the entire family can sit, rock, and take in the view. To cool off from the heat, there are the following two options.
You can take a dip in the pool, which isn’t really that big (it’s a good size for kids), or you can relax on the Pelican Grand’s very own lazy river. The lazy river is a nice escape when you want to be in water, but you really don’t want to swim against the flow. However, kids will love that you can go around as many times as you want. In the future, Pelican Grand will be adding a waterfall to the lazy river’s course, so it will wet riders as they pass underneath.
If you really want to swim, and the pool is too crowded, there is always the beautiful private beach. Hotel guests can reach the beach through an entrance in the pool area and from the deck of the North Ocean Grill. This is a beach you won’t find crowded with tourists and Ft. Lauderdale residents because only hotel guests have access. It’s easy for parents and kids to enjoy because the waves are very small.
When I went in for a swim during my June visit, the water was clear enough to see the fish that came around me. Then, like my mascots, pelicans swooped down and glided across the ocean every so often, as if they knew this was their very own hotel.
Resort Report Card
|Name:||Pelican Grand Beach Resort|
|Address:||2000 North Ocean Boulevard
|Seasonal Rates:||$ – $$|
|Choice of Activities:||A|
|Quality of Amenities:||B+|
|Bonus:||They have their own lazy river.|
|Note:||You can rent pool toys like tubes and beach balls from the pool area.|
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