Booming Beach - Fort Lauderdale’s Fabulous Beach
In part two of our feature on Fort Lauderdale’s Fabulous Beach, we explore the various attractions, upcoming events plus established and new businesses that make this area the exceptional gay mecca it is today.
International Swimming Hall of Fame
The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF), for instance, is a big draw to the area. Located on Seabreeze Boulevard, the ISHOF is the international showplace for annual swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming competitions. You may be surprised to know that there is even a museum, library and archive which feature the world’s largest collection of aquatic memorabilia and the single largest source of aquatic books, manuscripts and literature. ISHOF Aquatic Complex is the only one of its kind in the world that offers two 50m pools, a diving well and swimming flume.
Of course, we can’t forget the only gay bar on the beach - Dudes. Under the new ownership of Eric Rosenblatt and Wade Bolton, there are many changes and improvements taking place over the next few months. In addition to their already stellar entertainers Tony & Gloria and Mickey Havens, they will be bringing in some new performers. Dudes will have hot dancers performing nightly for your viewing pleasure. Although they are currently open, a grand opening event is being planned, with a date announced soon.
There’s always something exciting happening at the guest houses on Fort Lauderdale Beach - t-dances, pool parties, movies being filmed, and incredibly sexy guests from all over the world to mingle with. These guest houses are definitely what make the beach unique. Besides, where else in the world would you find such a large collection of gay resorts?
The Grand Resort is known for its lush, tropical setting and its extraordinary service and attention to detail. They received the honor of being listed as one of the Top 10 Gay Spas in the Country by Out Traveler.
These gay guesthouses, which are located next door to each other, are about to celebrate their 12th anniversary. From friendly to frisky, you get the best of both worlds in a beautiful setting.
Villa Venice was named the top-rated Luxury Gay Guesthouse in Fort Lauderdale by PinkChoice 2006 through 2010. Guests and locals rang in the New Year with a pool-side t-dance with local entertainers and a cash bar and no cover charge.
Built in 1939, Coconut Cove Guest House looks like a property you would find in Key West, with plantation-style wooden verandas and louvered doors. Quite a few movies have been filmed at the property, which is also home base for charity events for the Bears of South Florida.
Royal Palms opened in its original location in 1991 and continue to raise the bar. The new, revamped version of the guesthouse opened this past April on Breakers Ave. They began having t-dances in the summertime which have become insanely popular. They have also started a Friday Dinner Show with Cashetta and a Tuesday Pizza & Movie Night. They feature the works of popular photographer Dennis Dean in each room, in their gym and their spa. Royal Palms isn’t the only guesthouse under the company’s umbrella. They also have the Flamingo, Crystal Sands, the Lush Royale - all in a 2 block radius of the beach. In addition, they own The Schubert Resort in Fort Lauderdale, away from the beach.
Fort Lauderdale Beach has several world-renowned and gay-friendly hotels. These gorgeous properties have all been a big draw to the GLBT community.
W is known for being gay-friendly and all-out glamorous. This hotel has been the setting for many gay events (including an extremely successful networking event by MACK Planet) and has been known to reach out to the gay community.
This luxurious hotel has always had a gay following. The reason for the draw? Could be the modern décor or handsome Chef Todd English’s amazing Da Campo Osteria Restaurant.
Atlantic Hotel, with its 124 rooms and 54 suites with balconies, overlooks gay Sebastian Beach. Known for being gay-friendly, they have a beautiful restaurant, Trina, which has fantastic views of the ocean.
UP AND COMING
A North Beach Art Walk has just started and will take place on the first Saturday of each month, from 7 to 11 p.m., from A1A to the Intercoastal on 32nd and 33rd Street, just north of Oakland Park Blvd. This event is a great opportunity for art aficionados to check out the area’s boutiques and restaurants, while enjoying a night of culture.
Royal Palms continue to roll out exciting and new ventures. They will be opening a new Italian bistro a block away from the guesthouse this year called The Plaza Bistro. It will feature al fresco dining, brick oven pizza, steaks and salads.
"We’re all very proud of the menu," said Alan Carley, Executive Chef/Corporate Food and Beverage Director.
Carley said that this is just the beginning of the Royal Palm’s vision for the North Beach Village area on Fort Lauderdale Beach. They are hoping to revive the area with more retail and entertainment. They have a whole plan to bring the entire neighborhood to life, Carley explained.
"We’ll move as fast as the economy will let us," he said.
Carley said that everything they’ve done so far has been centered on the gay community, but they want to create an atmosphere where everyone is welcome.
"We’re all one human family," he stated.
EVENTS AT THE BEACH
Josh Winston, Associate Director of Sales of Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), said that more gay events are going to be taking place in Fort Lauderdale Beach, including Beach Bear at the Courtyard by Marriot in May and Winter Heat on Fort Lauderdale Beach in 2013. And no doubt, more events will be coming to the sensational sandy shore.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
As you can see, there are many reasons to check out Fort Lauderdale Beach. Of course, don’t forget its original draw of beach, boys, sun and fun - all the elements of a perfect day. It’s easy to see why 11 million tourists from around the world flock to fabulous Fort Lauderdale Beach.
Gay Resorts/Guesthouses on Fort Lauderdale Beach:
Alhambra Beach Resort
La Casa Del Mar
The Flamingo Resort
The Grand Resort and Spa
Palm Plaza Resort
Windamar Beach Resort