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Old May 18, 00, 1:46 pm   #1
 
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Marriott Harbor Beach Resort in Ft Lauderdale

Anyone stayed at this property recently? I'm planning a 3-night vacation stay this fall in the Ft Lauderdale area and it's between this and the Hyatt Regency Pier 66. Main objectives are to relax, swim and enjoy the beach in a beautiful setting. Both hotels seem to have comparable amenities and are in the same area, but the Marriott is considerably more expensive. On the other hand, the reward points sure will add up... Thanks for the input.
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Old May 18, 00, 2:11 pm   #2
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I have stayed at Harbor Beach the last 2 years and might stay there again this summer. Very nice hotel and great location. I really have nothing bad to say about this property. Be sure to check out the vacation club which is not too far from Harbor Beach - the tour and sales pitch was worth the $100.00 and 10,000 points they gave me last year. I am actually considering the vacation club this year over HB, however, have yet to make up my mind.
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Old May 18, 00, 4:04 pm   #3
 
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A few comments. First, a warning - according to the web site, http://marriotthotels.com/FLLSB/ , the hotel will be entering the second phase of a major renovation from July through November. When I tried to book a room for the fall earlier today, I found deeply discounted "renovation" rates, with the warning of "major construction". It seems room renovations were completed last year, and now they are renovating the common facilities, which may mean noise and limited services - but who knows (they say to call for more details). As for the hotel generally, I've always found the location spectacular, right on the beach, with a large pool and nice poolside bar, along with beachfront cabanas that you can rent, but the room quality and level of service to be below what I would expect for the rates they charge. So I stay there, enjoy the beach, enjoy the Marriott points, but am disappointed in the total experience - which they could improve with training of staff (and a room renovation that perhaps has perhaps addressed room quality since my last stay). I have also stayed at the Vacation Club location jamflyer mentions, and it's worth a look. It's a Marriott timeshare, but you can book rooms/suites just like a hotel, by the night. I stayed in a one bedroom suite, which included a full kitchen, large bathroom, living room and bedroom. It's located on top of a two story outdoor mall, with a host of hot shops and popular restaurants (if you stay there avoid the ocean view rooms - they face the bars/restaurants and the noise goes on late into the night - take the quieter Intracoastal view). It is across the street from the beach, so it means using the public beach (you can rent chairs) as opposed to the more private beach at the Harbor Beach end - and you can't really get room service and the maid service is a more limited "tidy" than the full cleaning you'd get at a full service hotel. But if you're travelling with a family it's a great set up, and you get Marriott points. See http://www.vacationclub.com/rentals/resorts/bp.asp for a description; click the banner at the top of the page for reservations/rates. As for the Hyatt - its not on the beach at all, so if you're looking for beach activity you'll need to drive down to the public beach, or pull into the Harbor Beach Marriott's garage (located on the side of the building) and sneak onto their beach (not that I would every do such a thing).
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Old May 18, 00, 8:46 pm   #4
 
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jamflyer & BeantownFlyer: I had not checked Marriott's website lately and was unaware that the renovations were unfunished! The Vacation Club was an idea I hadn't considered. Thanks for all the info.
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Old May 22, 00, 12:38 pm   #5
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The Vacation Club is really a super-desirable location and should be your top choice, everything else being equal. Harbor Beach is off the beaten track -- not my choice, even ignoring the renovations. Hyatt Pier 66, which you considered, is only slightly closer to the beach than Marriott's Marina Hotel (just across the Intracoastal on 17th Street). If you prefer Marriotts and don't care too much about being directly on the beach, the Marina is a good candidate. You'll save some money. They have a shuttle bus to the beach, incidentally.

Bruce
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Old May 22, 00, 4:12 pm   #6
 
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BD - Mrs BeantownFlyer reminds me of three things she really disliked about the Vacation Club: (a) the elevators had long waits (even in this new highrise!); (b) the garage requires you to maneuver through a somewhat narrow structure up to the fourth or fifth level before you reach the Vacation Club parking area. She reminds me that both my brother and my assistant wrecked rental cars in the garage (fortunately I did not have such a problem - yet). It seems the garage loves to rip off sideview mirrors on rental cars; and (c) the pool loses the sun by about 3 or 4 pm - getting blocked by the highrise.
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Old May 22, 00, 5:58 pm   #7
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Beantown,

I didn't know that! I've never actually stayed at the Vacation Club; I just know its location is superb. Thanks for the additional info.

Bruce
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Old Aug 9, 00, 4:15 pm   #8
 
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Marriott Harbour Beach - Fort Lauderdale

Just a warning that you may want to STRONGLY consider NOT staying at this Marriott property for quite a while (i.e. May 2001).

The property is under a MAJOR rennovation and there is no swimming pool (they will bus you to another property), elevators are out of order, and best of all LOTS of jackhammering from 8:30 am - 6:30 pm.

Yes they give you a small discount in the rate, but after one night here, I'm checking out to the Sheraton!!

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Old Aug 9, 00, 6:55 pm   #9
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All the renovations in the world are not going to make Harbor Beach very attractive to many experienced paying vacationers. There is a structural deficiency in the operation of the resort eg., recreation memberships are sold to the surrounding community. This insures crowded (and very noisy) conditions throughout the complex, especially at the pool area, where it is frequently impossible to find any quiet relaxation. A a rule, only those travelers with children find it really attractive, because the kids can make so many friends.
Therefore, let us take back seat's warning to heart for the next few months and after that, STRONGLY consider NOT staying there if you are not bringing the kids with you, unless they stop bringing in the neighborhood.
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Old Aug 10, 00, 12:42 am   #10
 
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I stayed here last year and there was no concierge floor or lounge. They did offer me a free breakfast in the restaurant, which was quite nice, but there was nothing about the property which would make me want to stay again. I was there on business and gone by the time most of the vacationeers were getting out of bed so that wasn't an issue.
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Old Aug 10, 00, 1:06 am   #11
 
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Has the FtLaud Marina hotel been brought up to date? That is, besides the rates!
Hotel is Not the best layout, but adequate.
The FtL airport has one of my least favorite hotels there, the HILTON.

[This message has been edited by ROADRUNNER (edited 08-10-2000).]
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Old Aug 10, 00, 1:12 am   #12
 
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I just recalled from a trip last November, that there is a recent timeshare Marriott (Beachplace?) right on the main beach in FTL. It is about $150.00 Introductory special price or so for 3 nites in a studio. A few dollars more for a 1 bedroom. Many restaurants up and down the blocks from the hotel. Plus some other goodies included!
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Old Aug 10, 00, 5:59 am   #13
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Yes, the time-share property is far superior, but unavailable in peak months. The Marina Marriott is suffering some from the massive bridge construction going on outside their front door for a couple of years now. Also, they recently (2000) began charging $5 per day for parking, which annoys me. I switched my business to Ft. Lauderdale North.

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Old Aug 10, 00, 8:46 am   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by sfpaul900:
I stayed here last year and there was no concierge floor or lounge. They did offer me a free breakfast in the restaurant, which was quite nice, but there was nothing about the property which would make me want to stay again. I was there on business and gone by the time most of the vacationeers were getting out of bed so that wasn't an issue.
SFPAul 900 You are correct there is truly nothing about that property that would make me want to come back to it again. !
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Old Aug 10, 00, 9:46 am   #15
 
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A few thoughts: (a) according the Marriott's website, the first phase of the renovation is complete (i.e. the rooms), and the second phase (i.e. the common areas) will be complete before the peak winter season, so putting off a stay until next may is not necessary, at least because of the renovations; (b) I have always had mixed feelings about this hotel. It is the only decent hotel on the beach, and I've enjoyed its proximity to the airport - where else in Florida can I fly in and be on the beach 20 minutes later. If you go out on the beach it always seems uncrowded and relaxing (although they charge for the beach chairs). Yet the service level at the hotel has never been up to the rates they dare to charge. I've never really been troubled by the fact that they sell memberships to locals - I've never had trouble getting a chair at the pool even in peak weeks - but it is noisy (so as was noted, my kids love making friends). The rooms are oversized, which is nice; (c) I've stayed at both the Marina location and the timeshare (Beach Place Towers). At the Marina the rooms were always somewhat inferior, and the pool was tough to find a seat if the hotel was sold out. In fact I used to stay there, drive to Harbor Beach, park in their garage, and sneak out onto their beach. I liked the rates and the outdoor bar at the Marina. At Beach Place Towers (which costs alot more than $150 unless you're doing their timeshare tour), you have the disadvantage of being across the street from the beach (so you need to walk across the street and use the public beach). Also the elevators are slow. But the rooms are great, with kitchens, jacuzzis, etc., and there's a hot two story mall with lots of shops and restautants down below. Be careful in the garage - I know several people who hit posts and wrecked their rental cars because there are some tight turns. Also - skip a room with an ocean view - they also face the hot mall, and the noise goes on late into the night. Intracoastal view is quiet and nice. So overall, I'd stay at Harbor Beach again - but I don't expect alot in terms of service.
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