Edited by: Juan Ruiz
& Keri Stooksbury
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On a recent trip to South Florida, I stayed primarily with family I have in the area, as I normally do. However, I discovered I had an expiring free night reward with Hilton that I wanted to make use of before it expired.
Hilton doesn’t have many luxury properties in the Miami area, and those they do have aren’t all that appealing. In my opinion, the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort is by far the chain’s best property in the area, so I turned there when searching for options to use my free night reward.
As its name would suggest, it’s not exactly an inexpensive hotel, so I felt confident I could get good value for my free night reward that I receive as a perk of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.
The only hurdle would be finding the appropriate award space at the property for the night(s) I needed to stay. Despite it being peak spring-break season, I was able to find availability, so I called Hilton and booked 1 night with my reward certificate and another night with Hilton Honors points — just like that, I was looking forward to a “vacation from my vacation” in South Florida.
Read on to find out what it’s like to stay at the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort and what you can expect if you book a stay of your own.
The Conrad Fort Lauderdale is located right in the middle of all the action on Fort Lauderdale Beach, directly across A1A (North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard) and just a few steps from the beach.
The neighborhood behind the hotel is filled with cafes, bars, and restaurants and is quite walkable.
The Conrad Fort Lauderdale is located just over 7 miles from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and about 34 miles from Miami International Airport (MIA). From FLL, the journey typically takes around 20 minutes but can take much longer if traffic is heavy. From MIA, you can expect a journey of around 40 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic conditions.
I drove to the hotel from the nearby city of Sunny Isles Beach, so I didn’t take a taxi/Uber to or from the airport, but as of this writing, Uber quotes a price of $20 to $25 for a trip from FLL to the Conrad.
As I alluded to earlier, I combined a free night reward and Hilton Honors points to book my stay 2-night stay. Thanks to my Hilton Aspire card, I receive a free night reward each year from this card and I’m consistently able to get great value thanks to (almost) free stays at top Hilton properties such as the Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort in Maui and the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club.
Automatic Hilton Diamond status, an annual free night, and a travel and resort credit make this the perfect card for those who stay in Hilton hotels.
The information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
Paying hundreds of dollars for an annual fee on a co-branded hotel card might seem ridiculous, but you should know that the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is much more than your run-of-the-mill hotel credit card.
The Hilton Aspire card is not only a phenomenal card for Hilton Honors loyalists, but even those who visit Hilton hotels just a few times a year can still get excellent value out of all the benefits that are packed into this card.
So let’s have a look at what makes the card so valuable to travelers.
In the past, I’ve combined a free night reward with points to make a 2-night stay, enough for a great getaway. And this stay in Fort Lauderdale was no different. The property showed Standard Room Reward availability for both nights I was looking to stay, which meant I could use a free night award for 1 night and points for the other.
I booked 1 night using 95,000 Hilton Honors points and the second night with my free night reward after placing a call to Hilton to apply it.
Interestingly, Standard Room Rewards at this property could book into several room types: Studio 2 Queens Intercoastal, Junior Suite Partial Ocean View, 1 Bedroom Suite Partial Ocean View, or 1 Bedroom Suite Limited View.
Usually, standard availability gets you into base-level rooms, but several types of suites were available at this Conrad, which I thought was interesting and added even more value to my free night reward.
Since I was solo on this stay, I chose the 1 Bedroom Suite Partial Ocean View. If I had chosen to book this stay with cash, it would have cost me $613 per night, before any taxes and fees.
We value Hilton Honors points at 0.5 cents apiece. This means I got at least 0.6 cents in value for the points I redeemed for 1 of the 2 nights at the property.
Resort fees are waived for Hilton Honors members who book stays with points, a great perk of the program. However, if you were paying cash, the $40 resort fee includes internet access, 2 bottles of water in the room and on the pool deck, 2 beach chairs, an umbrella, sunrise yoga classes, 2-hour bike rentals for 2 adults, and 20% off spa services.
Hot Tip: Read about all the best ways to redeem Hilton free night certificates for maximum value!
Check-in time at the Conrad Fort Lauderdale is quoted at 4 p.m. I arrived at around noon, not expecting my room to be ready since it was several hours before check-in time — and it was spring break week on Fort Lauderdale Beach for many colleges and universities.
As I expected, my room wasn’t ready, but the friendly check-in agent got to work on his keyboard and informed me that a King Studio with a partial ocean view was available.
Even though this room type was a step down from what I had booked, I was happy to take it because I didn’t need the extra space and my primary concern was a view of the ocean. He also told me that this room would be on a higher floor, which would make the view of the ocean even better than what I had.
I took the King Studio room without hesitation since I was ready to go upstairs, shower, and head to the pool. And I knew that since the resort was so crowded with spring breakers, it may have been a while before my ideal room would be ready.
After the room was assigned, the check-in agent reminded me of the other benefits I’d be able to take advantage of as a Hilton Honors Diamond member (a perk I also receive thanks to the Hilton Aspire card). These included a daily food and beverage credit of $25 (which I used for breakfast each day), late checkout, and bonus points for my stay.
I received my room key moments later and I was on my way to the 22nd floor to check out my room.
Like most of the hotels on Fort Lauderdale Beach, the Conrad isn’t a sprawling property, though it offers plenty in the way of amenities. Here’s a look at what’s on offer.
One of the centerpiece features of this property is its pool deck. Found on the sixth floor, the pool is located on the side of the building rather than in the front like many of the properties elsewhere on the beach.
This may not seem like the biggest deal, but if you’re planning on spending long days in the sun, this is a huge advantage. At hotels with pools in the front that directly face the beach, the sun goes behind the buildings relatively early in the afternoon, resulting in the pool deck losing sun during its prime hours.
At the Conrad, however, the pool location on the side of the building ensures that it isn’t obstructed by the building, and guests see the sun for several more hours each day.
The pool is an appealing oval shape and was surrounded by loungers with comfortable blue cushions.
I somehow found myself a lounger — I was surprised because the pool was quite busy when I arrived — and set up camp for a few hours to catch some rays and get a bit of work done.
Walking toward the beachfront, there’s a dedicated sun deck with several rows of (unpadded) lounge chairs. I prefer seeing the pool when I’m lounging, so I stuck to a chair surrounding the pool, but it’s a nice option to have if the pool is too busy at any point.
In between the pool deck and the sun deck is the property’s pool bar and restaurant, Spinnaker Pool Grill (more on that later).
There’s another area in the corner that looked to be set up for a private event — I can imagine the hotel hosts many weddings and utilizes this space for various festivities.
The fitness center is found on the sixth floor and can be accessed 24/7 with a hotel room key. The gym wasn’t especially large, but it was bright with plenty of floor-to-ceiling windows to let in the light. There were cardio and weight machines available, as well as a free weight area.
Guests breaking a sweat can also help themselves to water, towels, headphones, and some fruit near the entrance.
The spa is found adjacent to the fitness center, also on the sixth floor. It’s open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and offers a range of pampering treatments, including body wraps, facials, massages, exfoliation sessions, and couples treatments. You can review the menu with more details of the treatments on offer.
As I’ve mentioned a few times, Fort Lauderdale Beach is located directly in front of the hotel, but you must cross the street to reach the sand. It’s quite literally a few steps away, but since I was visiting during spring break, I preferred to spend my time at the pool during this stay.
Regardless, the beach was pleasing to the eye. On the last day of my visit, I strolled along the beachfront and observed as chairs and umbrellas were being arranged in orderly rows.
If you do decide to go to the beach, the resort fee includes the use of 2 chairs and an umbrella. Food and beverage service is also offered on the beach, though note that it’s an abbreviated menu compared to what you’d find up at the pool.
The Conrad Fort Lauderdale offers valet parking for $48 per day. Self-parking is unavailable. I drove to the property so I valeted my car and the $96 for my 2-night stay was charged to my folio. Interestingly, the hotel’s website quotes a daily rate of $55, but I was charged $48 per night.
Luckily, the up to $400 annual resort credit from the Hilton Aspire card also applies to valet charges.
I found the Wi-Fi to be reliable and strong throughout the property, no matter where I was. It didn’t stretch to the beach, but I wasn’t expecting it to as it was across the street from the hotel itself.
Unfortunately, the Conrad Fort Lauderdale is not a pet-friendly property, though service animals are allowed. If you are traveling with a service animal, you must advise the property before arriving.
Guest rooms at the Conrad Fort Lauderdale are all generously sized — even standard rooms. Let’s take a look at what my King Studio room was like.
I opened the door into a long hallway covered in tasteful marble. To the immediate right was a door that could be opened into an adjoining room and to the left was the door to the bathroom.
Continuing through the hallway, there was a kitchenette on the right side which was well-equipped with a 2-burner stovetop, plenty of counter and cupboard space, a microwave, and a half-size refrigerator. I say half-size because this refrigerator was much larger than those you’d typically find in hotel rooms, so I hesitate to call it a minifridge.
It was stocked with several beverages, including soft drinks, water, beer, and wine, and otherwise, there was plenty of space to store leftovers, which I appreciated since it’d be easy to heat up leftovers with the microwave or stovetop. Beverages in the minifridge were considered to be part of the minibar, which meant they were available for purchase. Fortunately, housekeeping was proactive about leaving complimentary water bottles in the room, so I wasn’t lacking for hydration.
One of the cupboards beneath the center housed a kettle as well as a roll of paper towels.
And at the end of the counter was the room’s Lavazza-branded coffee maker, complete with several pods and a couple of bottles of water, which is always appreciated.
From there, the room opened up into the main area — directly to the left was the supremely comfortable king-size bed.
The bed was topped by a tufted leather headboard and an intricate piece of art depicting what seemed to me like a beach scene of some sort.
On either side of the bed were handsome side tables that didn’t have too much clutter on them, which I always appreciate since I usually have many devices to charge while I travel. Power outlets were close to the bed, a necessity in any modern hotel.
To the left of the bed was the room’s closet, which contained an extra pillow and linens, a robe, a luggage rack, some hangers, and one of the largest laundry bags I’ve ever encountered — I definitely took that home with me.
And on the other side was a desk with a view out to the patio and built-in power outlets. If you wanted to get some work done in this room, you’d have no problem doing so.
Across from the bed was a large media console that had plenty of storage drawers and a large flat-screen TV.
To the right was the room’s minibar which had several miniature bottles of liquor, some mixers, and assorted snacks.
The safe was built into a drawer that pulled out from a cupboard.
Continuing through the room, there was a full sitting area next to the balcony that had a large sectional sofa, a sitting chair, a coffee table, and another flat-screen TV.
The balcony wasn’t the largest, but it was fairly deep and had 2 comfortable chairs and a small table.
It had a view of the new Four Seasons hotel next door and a large expanse of the ocean, which was beautiful, especially in the mornings.
The bathroom was bright and spacious, with a double vanity topped in smart gray marble.
I found several products on the vanity including a large bottle of Byredo Mojave Ghost body lotion, mouthwash, soap, and more. I have seen Byredo products in several high-end Hilton properties and I’ve come to like them quite a bit.
To the left of the vanity was the spacious shower that I found to have great pressure — and it got plenty hot.
The shower products were also full-size Byredo Mojave Ghost — I loved them.
To the right of the vanity were the toilet and soaking tub. If I were someone who enjoyed baths, I would have been a little put off by having the toilet so close, but I never take baths, so I had no issue there.
I really enjoyed my room at the Conrad. Despite accepting a lesser room type, I really didn’t need anything more as this room was very spacious for me and I found it to be the perfect mix of practicality with beachy vibes and high-end luxury.
The Conrad Fort Lauderdale offers 4 options for eating and drinking on the property, though keep in mind that there are many, many restaurants — from beachy dives to high-end waterfront restaurants — up and down Fort Lauderdale Beach, and many of them are within walking distance of the hotel.
But, if your plan is to stay on the property, you won’t go hungry. Here’s a look at what’s on offer.
Takato is the hotel’s signature restaurant that serves up Korean and Japanese fusion dishes designed for sharing. I visited Takato 3 times during my stay — once for dinner and twice for breakfast.
The restaurant is set in a prime oceanfront position, which means that if you’re coming from the hotel you’ll exit the main lobby and cross the porte cochere to find the restaurant’s entrance. I did just that at around 8 p.m. on the first night of my stay.
I was dining alone and had plans to meet up with friends just about an hour later, so when I walked in and saw how busy it was — at 8 p.m. on a Monday — I got nervous that I wouldn’t have time to check out the restaurant.
However, I had no problem getting a seat at the sushi bar, but other guests in larger groups were quoted waits of an hour or more. If you have multiple people in your party, be sure to make a reservation in advance.
The restaurant was lively and had a fun vibe — the music was loud enough to keep you awake through a long dinner, but not too loud that it was obnoxious.
There was a large, round bar in the center of the restaurant that was both indoors and outdoors — definitely a cool feature.
Service was prompt and I had a waiter giving me a rundown of the menu moments after I sat down.
I can honestly say I wanted to try one of everything on the menu — it all looked delicious. I was kicking myself for not inviting my friends to join me. But then again, more of that property credit all to myself!
I started the meal off with a Shikoku Margarita ($17), made with tequila, mezcal, pineapple, and a Tajín rim. It was excellent — spicy and a little bit sweet, the perfect way to kick off a night in South Florida.
My miso soup ($6) came just after my cocktail. I love miso soup, and I can’t say no when I see it on the menu. This particular version had plenty of green onions in it, just how I like it.
Next up was the hot hamachi ($24), which was served with a yuzu soy sauce and serrano pepper. It was delightfully fresh and light and paired perfectly with my cocktail.
I also ordered the spicy tuna ($16) which consisted of fresh tuna and spicy mayo atop a bed of crunchy rice. This is one of my go-to dishes at sushi restaurants and Takato’s version didn’t disappoint.
Finally, I had the wagyu gyoza ($24), which was served with a spicy onion and ponzu sauce. The dumplings themselves were delicate and the wagyu filling was decadent and savory — the perfect way to finish out a great meal.
Instead of dessert, I ordered a Fugu Cup cocktail ($18), which consisted of tequila, watermelon, and Thai basil ginger, served in a fanciful cactus glass with plenty of shaved ice to top it off.
I also ate breakfast each morning at Takato. I ordered the same thing 2 days in a row: the veggie omelet ($16) and a fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice ($8).
I asked to make my veggie omelet … not vegetarian … by adding sausage and cheese each morning. The menu said no substitutions were possible, so I wasn’t surprised when I was met with a bit of resistance, but my asking paid off and I was able to have the omelet the way I preferred.
As I’ve experienced at Hilton properties in the past, breakfast was taken off entirely on my folio upon checkout, despite exceeding the $25 daily food and beverage credit I had during my stay.
Takato is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. On Sunday through Thursday, it’s open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday, it stays open until 11 p.m.
As its name would suggest, Spinnaker is the poolside bar and restaurant that serves lunch items, smaller snacks, fresh salads, and more. There’s also a full bar that can serve you anything from a cold beer to a handcrafted cocktail.
I ate by the pool on 1 occasion. I ordered the Fresh Salad ($14): greens, tomatoes, radish, cucumber, and green papaya served with a “tropical ginger vinaigrette.” I added mahi mahi ($10) and Parmesan cheese as well. To wash it down, I asked for a High Noon hard seltzer ($8).
Spinnaker is open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and a menu is available online.
Found a few steps below the hotel’s lobby, Atlas Cocktail Lounge is an absolutely stunning bar that serves up a menu of handmade cocktails and light bar snacks.
Behind the bar is a luminescent blue installation with images of a map — echoing the nautical themes I picked up on throughout the property.
The bar features seating areas with comfortable and beautiful-looking furniture separated by gorgeous wooden archways.
I didn’t have the chance to enjoy a drink here this time, but I saw many people in the bar, particularly during happy hour.
Atlas is open daily from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and happy hour is daily from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Cornucopia is the Conrad’s grab-and-go market, located in the entrance vestibule. For breakfast, you can expect items like pastries, muffins, yogurt parfaits, and bacon-egg-and-cheese sandwiches. After breakfast, Cornucopia serves primarily sandwiches and pizzas.
Cornucopia is open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and hot breakfast is served daily from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
As you’d expect, the Conrad Fort Lauderdale offers in-room dining to guests. You can order breakfast daily between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. Dinner is served on Monday and Wednesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. On Tuesday, you can order dinner items from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.
I found the service to be great at the Conrad Fort Lauderdale. From the check-in agent carefully and clearly explaining my options as they pertained to my room, to each and every one of the employees I interacted with at the various dining establishments, I have nothing but good things to say.
The hotel was noticeably busy during my stay, but the staff remained calm, cool, and collected. I never experienced any long waits or a lapse in service.
I had a great stay at the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. I find it to be a beautiful but relaxed property and it offers everything you could want for a getaway to the beach.
I had a spacious, well-appointed room, the pool deck was great (and had sun almost all day!), there was plenty to eat and drink, and the service was superb.
It’s a pricey property, but that made using my free night reward that much better. And when combined with the perks and property credit I received from my Hilton Aspire card, the fact that I essentially got this stay for a grand total of $28 makes me grin from ear to ear.
I have no doubt I’ll stay at the Conrad Fort Lauderdale again in the future. At the very least I’ll make a reservation at the hotel’s premier restaurant, Takato — but with friends the next time around.
The information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
Yes, Conrad is one of Hilton’s high-end brands, along with LXR Hotels and Resorts and Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts.
The Conrad Fort Lauderdale has 1 outdoor pool along with a Jacuzzi.
The hotel’s website advertises a cost of $55 per night, but I was charged $48 per night for valet parking.
Yes, you can redeem Hilton Honors points for stays at the Conrad Fort Lauderdale. Expect award nights to start at 95,000 Hilton Honors points per night.
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This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.