Fort Lauderdale, Florida – Marriott’s BeachPlace Towers

I cannot believe it has taken me so long to write this post! This was one of our favourite hotel stays and I definitely want to go back to the BeachPlace Towers again. We stayed at this hotel for four nights in February of 2015 (2 bedroom villa, room 1116). The hotel is located right on the beach, within walking distance to restaurants, shops, playgrounds, entertainment and lots of beautiful scenery. 

THE GOOD

Our two-bedroom villa was huge and fully wheelchair accessible! We had two full bedrooms, each with a king-sized bed, two bathrooms (one was fully accessible), a huge jacuzzi tub, kitchen, dining area, living room, pull-out sofa, washer and dryer, balcony, etc. 

IMG_4490

Jacuzzi Tub

The view from our balcony was absolutely amazing. We got to watch boats come and go all day long and admire the gigantic houses across the water. Watching the sun go down and taking in the city lights from that vantage point was really quite breathtaking. 

This hotel was absolutely perfect for families. There was lots of room to explore, there was a splash park in the pool area and there was a huge playroom on the main floor of the hotel with a giant wooden ship for them to climb around on. The kids absolutely loved it. The hotel had a program of activities with things like craft time and movie night. They also had video games, board games, chess and other activities for older kids. 

The pool area was accessible. There was a ramp to get from the pool area to the hot tub area. The pool was equipped with a lift (the hot tub was not). There was also a pool-side bar where you could order food and drinks to enjoy by the pool or to take up to your room. 

The location of the hotel was perfect. It was set back a little bit from the road but it was in a complex with lots of restaurants and fast food options. We had a very short walk across the street to get to the beach. 

About 10 minutes away on the same street as this hotel, there was an accessible playground and mats for wheelchair users to get closer to the water. The kids had a ton of fun playing there. They had convenient foot showers and sprayers located at the entrance to the beach so you could get the sand off after playing.

THE BAD

The entrance to this hotel was through a semi-sketchy parkade and it felt a bit strange walking through there after dark. 

A portion of this hotel is a timeshare for Marriott Vacation Club. We definitely got the timeshare vibe when we were staying there. We were invited to a sales pitch, which we declined. 

We checked out the Fort Lauderdale water taxi, which stops about a 5 minute walk from this hotel, but it was not accessible. There was no way that someone in a wheelchair could get themselves up the huge step to get onto the water taxi. That was a real shame as it would have been a great, inexpensive way to see more of Fort Lauderdale.

THE UGLY

There was nothing ugly about this hotel. 

OVERALL

This place was one of my favourite vacation stops for a number of reasons. The weather and the beach in Fort Lauderdale was amazing. It was sunny and humid and the evenings were absolutely beautiful. Having the two bedrooms with a full kitchen and washer and dryer was so great. I could make food for the kids that I knew they would eat and save us from having to eat out for every meal. 

The location of this hotel was perfect. We were right in the middle of the action and a stone’s throw away from the beach. We took the kids to play in the sand and ocean every morning and then came back to shower off and have lunch. At dinnertime, we would walk to a nearby patio, listen to live music, sip piña coladas and watch the cruise ships sail away. Just thinking about it makes me want to go back there! 

Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites Red Deer South – Red Deer, Alberta

We stayed at this hotel for a family get-together in December of 2014. There are two Holiday Inns in Red Deer but this is the one located at 37471 Hwy 2 SouthRed Deer, AB. It is visible from Highway 2. We stayed here with a group of twelve people, so we got a good feeling for what the various rooms were like and for what different people’s experiences were.

THE GOOD

This is a newer hotel and, in my opinion, is currently the best place to stay in Red Deer. The hotel is easy to access right off of Highway 2, whether you are coming from Edmonton or Calgary. There was ample free parking and check-in was a breeze. We had no issue getting the two cribs that we needed for our kids. We also had no issue getting rooms on the same floor as the rest of our family so that we could be close by. 

Cribs Provided by Hotel

Cribs Provided by Hotel

I understand that there are two fully-accessible rooms at this hotel. The accessible room we stayed in (room 303) was absolutely massive! There was a king-sized bed, a huge chair and ottoman, a desk, a dresser, a flat-screen TV, a mini-fridge, a microwave, a Keurig coffee machine, an iron and ironing board and a large accessible bathroom. The room itself had a huge living area with lots of space for the kids to run around and play. 

Accessible Room - King-Sized Bed

Accessible Room – King-Sized Bed

Chair and Ottoman

Chair and Ottoman

Play Time!

Play Time!

In the bathroom, there were grab bars by the toilet, there was a wheel-under sink and there was a large wheel-in shower with grab bars and a portable shower bench. The floor in the bathroom was tiled and there was a drain in the middle of the floor in case you are like me and happen to soak the bathroom while showering. 

Toilet With Grab Bars

Toilet With Grab Bars

Wheel-Under Sink

Wheel-Under Sink

Wheel-In Shower

Wheel-In Shower

Portable Shower Bench

Portable Shower Bench

There is a wide variety of non-accessible rooms at this hotel as well. I have stayed here before with my niece and nephew in a room with bunk beds for the kids. One couple in our group got upgraded to a room with a jacuzzi and fireplace, which was very nice. The room with two queen beds is standard and pretty much exactly what you would expect from a traditional hotel room. 

There was a large, warm pool at this hotel with a waterslide which was great for the kids and adults alike. There was a large hot tub as well with jets that could be turned on or off. The pool area was located on the main floor just off the lobby and it was accessible by wheelchair. There were stairs in the pool and the hot tub that a wheelchair user could bounce down on in order to ease into the water. 

There is a 24-hour gym at this hotel that can be accessed in a wheelchair. It is mostly equipment but there is room to do some free weights (available in the gym) or exercise bands if you travel with those. 

The restaurant at the hotel (same floor as the lobby area) was really amazing. It was called Boulevard Restaurant & Lounge and the food at lunch and dinner was very impressive. We learned when we were there that the chef at this restaurant has won awards for the food and it is not surprising when you see the presentation and experience the food for yourself. Prices range from about $10 to $17 per entrée. They have one area full of booths and another area of tables, so they can easily accommodate larger groups and they regularly served our party of 12 with no problems. 

Kids eat free at this restaurant if you are staying in the hotel. You have to ask for coupons from the front desk that you present to the wait staff in order to get the free meals. The kids’ menu consisted of grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken fingers, pizza, burgers, mac and cheese or grilled chicken. Each meal came with a drink and a side of fruit, veggies or fries. For dinner the kids even got free ice cream. At breakfast, the kids were able to choose from yogurt and fruit, pancakes, eggs and bacon, or oatmeal and fruit. The portion sizes were quite substantial.

The hotel was very clean. There was not a single time I passed through the lobby that I did not see someone mopping. The pool maintenance staff checked and tested the hot tub every time we were in the pool and it appeared that the staff was really on top of the cleaning. 

THE BAD

In terms of accessibility, the only bad thing was that the sink in the wheelchair accessible room was too deep. There was no foam on the bottom of the sink to provide a protective barrier either, so you would have to be very careful when using hot water not to burn your legs. We did mention this to the hotel and they indicated they would look into placing foam on the bottom of the sink.

The waterslide in the pool was very fast. And by very fast, I mean probably one of the fastest hotel pool slides I have ever been on. Some people liked it and it was too fast for others.  

THE UGLY

There is nothing ugly about this hotel. 

OVERALL

This is a nice, new hotel located in a very convenient spot just off the highway. I highly recommend this for a stay in Red Deer, whether you are in a wheelchair or not and whether you are travelling alone, as a couple or as a family.