Fort Lauderdale’s Riverside Hotel Is The Heart Of Las Olas Boulevard

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Fort Lauderdale, once the Spring Break capital of the Florida is an adult paradise. Called the Venice of America it has more miles of Intercoastal waterways than any other city in the state. Sunshine, palm trees, miles of beaches and a shopping/entertainment strip named las Olas Boulevard that will keep you occupied for hours. There is only one hotel on Las Olas and it is the historic Riverside Hotel. Steps away from over 30 restaurants, 12 art galleries, 3 museums, 75+ retail stores and yacht charters for cruising the waterways of America’s Venice. The only thing you can’t do at the Riverside Hotel is to step out onto the beach, however, there is a Water Taxi that can take you right there. For my money I want to be in at the centre of all the evening action and you can’t do better than the Riverside Hotel.

Riverside Hotel from the New River view

If Fort Lauderdale is your main destination in Florida you can fly directly into Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and then it is only a 15-minute drive to the Riverside Hotel.

After flying in my first stop is the hotel. Park the car, unload my luggage and hit the town. First stop, of course, is registration and check in. It’s possible I was greeted by the friendliest hotel staff I’ve ever encountered. They recommended I drop my bags off quickly because the hotel hosts Happy Hour from 3-7 pm daily and all drinks are 50% off. You don’t need to tell me twice.

Riverside Hotel lobby registration

Straight up to my room I go. A nice security feature of the hotel is that the elevators are key locked, so only those with a key can access your floor.

At first glance of my room, all I can do is smile. It is a great size with a huge King bed, seating area, view of Fort Lauderdale towards the ocean and a massive work desk and entertainment station.

First look inside my room at the Riverside Hotel Fort Lauderdale

It may not be for everyone but the work desk is fully outfitted with every plug and connection imaginable. Plug in your laptop, smartphone, you name it. You can even connect your devices to the TV to stream Netflix onto the larger screen. WiFi is free at a decent download speed, but for those that need more they do have faster options available on a per pay day basis. The free option was more than adequate for my needs.

Work & entertainment centre in my room at the Riverside Hotel

Multimedia plug in at workstation desk

Did I say I had a view? Check out the early morning view direct from my balcony. When I took this photo it was 7:30 am and already 22°C (72°F).

Good morning view from my balcony at the Riverside Hotel

I’m getting ahead of myself, though. After dropping off my bags I headed straight back down and grabbed a street side seat at one of the three restaurants at the Riverside Hotel. A happy hour cocktail is needed. They aren’t 2 for 1, they are 50% off. God, I love happy hours.

Happy Hour cocktail at the Riverside Hotel Fort Lauderdale

Location wise, you really can’t do better than the Riverside Hotel for exploring some of the best shopping & entertainment Fort Lauderdale has to offer. Every morning starts here with a coffee, reading and a killer Corned Beef Hash breakfast. Every evening also starts here with a happy hour cocktail and snack. It is nice to plan out your day and evening activities while relaxing and people watching.

Morning coffee and writing time at the Riverside Hotel

Corned Beer Hash at Indigo Restaurant Riversaide Hotel Fort Lauderdale

If you think all the activity on Las Olas Boulevard happens in the shops or restaurants you are wrong. Chances are good some event or festival will be taking place as it did during my stay. Part 1 of the 29th Annual Las Olas Art Fair took over the strip in front of the hotel. Even at 10 am the street was packed with shoppers and admirers.

Las Olas Art Fair saturday morning

You really don’t need to stray far from the Riverside Hotel to enjoy some of the best Fort Lauderdale has to offer. Park the car and enjoy the city on foot. I’ll have three options to explore the city car free for you in a separate story so check it out… by Segway, trolley or water, a car-free Fort Lauderdale for visitors.

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Disclosure: General

Thanks to Visit Florida and Fort Lauderdale for supporting this travel series and making it possible. All views and opinions are 100% my own.


About Author

Marc Smith is a single, 45-year-old, gay urbanite, living in high-rise heaven in Vancouver’s chic Yaletown neighbourhood. After a ten-year career as one of Vancouver’s pre-eminent event planners, he decided it was time for a change and posted on his Facebook page “I am ready for a change. What shall I do with my life?” 30 Day Adventures was born from that status update.

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