Finding a hotel in Ft. Lauderdale is so frustrating for me. It only takes us about three hours to drive there so we’ll sometimes plan a quick getaway weekend. It’s just far enough away that driving there and back for the day is a pain (especially if we stay late for something), but it’s still close enough to home that we don’t want to spend a bunch of money for a hotel room for one night.
All of the hotels near downtown charge extraordinarily high rates and some of them even charge an additional resort fee as well as mandatory valet parking. I learned this when a free night at a Hilton ended up costing me over $65.
As this was going to be a truly quick trip, I had a few main requirements. The room would preferably be free and relatively close to Ft. Lauderdale. After looking with IHG, Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt there were no good options to redeem points. Even the base hotels were costing a tremendous amount of points in relation to the cash price. Since it looked like I was going to need to pay for the room, I focused on Hilton since Sharon needed a stay to keep her account active. I found a decently priced hotel and booked it for the night, and figured out a way to get it for free, while I was at it.
Hampton Inn Ft. Lauderdale-Commercial Blvd – Tamarac, FL
4499 W. Commercial Boulevard, Tamarac, FL
A Hampton Inn would be just fine for us for this stay. The hotel is located just 1/4 mile from the Florida Turnpike and 4 miles from I-95. It’s about a 15 min drive to Ft. Lauderdale, without traffic and 12 miles from Ft. Lauderdale Airport.
For the most part, it’s your typical 90s era Hampton Inn that’s been renovated. There are 82 rooms spread across three floors
We arrived rather late at night. The front desk agent was very friendly and efficient. While checking us in he thanked Sharon for being a Hilton Honors member, asked what brought us to town for one night (cruise, flight, etc.), told us how to log onto the hotel WiFi and let us know the time for breakfast the next morning. He also offered us some fresh baked cookies, well I guess they were fresh when they were warmed up; we were getting there rather late.
We were assigned our room on the second floor. When getting out of the elevator, we both said the decor was along the lines of “Homage to the Golden Girls.”
Our room, number 225, was located about halfway down the hall.
Upon entering the room, there was everything we could need. A bed, desk, TV…I didn’t have a nightstand on my side of the bed but the desk was close enough to put my phone so I could hear my alarm.
The bathroom was exactly what you’d expect from a Hampton Inn. Bath/shower combo. Cheap plastic toilet seat. Lots of fluorescent lighting. Huge mirror against the wall and a selection of Neutrogena toiletries.
This is the second Hampton Inn where they’ve had this interesting design on the shower overlay. I guess it’s meant to appear like marble but it ends up looking like someone smeared something on the wall.
There was an in-room fridge as well.
My main complaint was that I was never able to get my iPad to connect to the WiFi. Sharon’s computer connected fine, as did my phone, but no go with the iPad. I didn’t have the time nor the patience to troubleshoot as it was late and I wasn’t going to do anything important anyway.
From our second floor window, we had a nice view of the hotel parking and the apartment complex across the street.
We stopped by during breakfast in the morning, even though we had plans for brunch so we didn’t eat anything. It wasn’t as mobbed as I’ve seen some breakfasts.
The hotel also has a small pool and hot tub area with some lounge chairs and tables with umbrellas for shade. It’s located adjacent to the parking lot and just off the main road so not much ambiance. At least the hotel doesn’t try to charge a resort fee for use of the pool.
I like the niche Hampton is trying to carve out with their branding. They add just a few splashes of lightheartedness to the decor. Things that give you a smile. We might have LOL’ed to the Awesome Sauce sign on the elevator door (Note from Sharon: I don’t care how old the term is, I still use it. A lot LOL!).
Oh, and about the price and how was I able to get the hotel for free? The room rate, after tax came to $161 for the night. We charged the room to our Barclays Arrival+ card.
After the charge hit the statement, I went online and used 16,171 Arrival points to offset the charge for the room. And that’s how we didn’t have to pay for our night in Fort Lauderdale.
We’ve stayed at several properties in Fort Lauderdale over the last few years. I haven’t found any of them to be fantastic but none of them have been horrible. This hotel was a little farther away than the other places we’ve stayed but I was willing to drive an extra 5-10 minutes to save a few extra bucks or points.
The hotel, while being a bit out of date outside of the lobby area, was perfectly acceptable. The staff we encountered were all pleasant and the property was well maintained as far as we could see. In all, everything you would want from a Hampton Inn located just off the Florida Turnpike.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary