Back in November my mom and I went on a 7 night Western Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas out of Fort Lauderdale. We decided to head down to Florida a day early because even though we’ve cruised out of Port Everglades many times we’ve always flown in the day of the cruise and never actually explored the Fort Lauderdale area. Fort Lauderdale is not only a very busy cruise port it’s also a popular vacation destination in its own right so when it came time to look for a hotel there was a plethora of options.
I’ve already shared with you our preference for extended stay hotels so after reviewing all available options we decided to stay at the GALLERYone, which is a Doubletree Suites by Hilton hotel. I’m not sure if I’ve ever stayed in a Doubletree hotel so I was excited to check this one out, especially when it had such positive reviews on Trip Advisor and Cruise Critic. I booked the room through Expedia and was able to apply my Expedia+ points, so the out of pocket price I paid for the room was $162.74 which I felt was a great price. I also used Ebates, which I highly recommend.
We only had one day in Fort Lauderdale so I wanted a hotel that was centrally located to all of the things we wanted to do. I bought a Groupon for the Water Taxi and there is a stop right at the hotel so that was definitely a plus. My mom and I were supposed to go to dinner at the Texas de Brazil restaurant in our hometown prior to the cruise but that never happened, so the fact that there was one within walking distance of the GALLERYone was another advantage. There was also an upscale mall within walking distance and a nice outlet mall within about 30 minutes if we (ok, if I) decided to do some shopping. We ended up not going to either mall but it was nice to have those options. We didn’t need the hotel to be right next to the cruise port (there are several hotels that are very close to Port Everglades) but we wanted to be within a 20 minute Uber ride and we were with the GALLERYone. Finally, we wanted to be near a Publix to pick up any food or miscellaneous items for the room and/or cruise and there was one within walking distance.
I think our flight arrived at FLL around 2pm, so by the time we collected our luggage, arranged the Uber and arrived at the hotel I expected our room to be ready for us. Once we arrived at the hotel we soon realized that might not be possible because it was clear that there was an event being held there. We waited in the lobby for about an hour recharging our electronics and people watching, but we got bored and decided to leave our luggage with the valet and explore the surrounding area. My mom went out to the pool area and found the dock for the Water Taxi so that was helpful. We walked out of the hotel and headed left, where on the left side of the road was the mall and on the right was a small shopping center with the Publix. Just a little further on the right was the Texas de Brazil, and we were really glad to see it because it meant we could definitely walk there for dinner that night.
We didn’t explore for very long and when we got back to the hotel our room still wasn’t ready so we sat in the lobby a bit longer. My mom was getting a bit frustrated by this time and went to the reception desk to ask for an ETA on when we would be able to access our room, and the receptionist gave us two vouchers for a $5 credit at the little store so we could buy a drink. That was very nice of her and we appreciated the gesture.
Finally, we were notified that our room was ready so we headed up to check it out. I booked us in a 2 Queen Bed Suite with Balcony and Canal View. They do offer suites with two separate bedrooms but since we were only going to be there one night we decided the standard suite would be fine this time. I really liked our room and it was more than enough space for the two of us. I decided to do a room tour this time instead of taking pictures and you can see the video below:
After we settled in, we walked to Texas de Brazil for an early dinner. You do have to cross a busy road to get there but there is a crosswalk with a signal and there were always several other people walking too so it is a pedestrian-friendly area.
Dinner was amazing and afterwards we went back to the hotel to catch the water taxi. We weren’t planning on getting off at any of the stops and were just using it as a little tour of the area, but a few of the other passengers were using it to bar hop and I could see that being really fun. I think the guide mentioned that there was a way to connect to one of the taxis that goes to the Hard Rock hotel in Hollywood, FL and if we had more time we definitely would have done that. Since it was November a lot of the homes on the canal had their holiday lights up and it was very pretty to see them from the water. The full loop tour with no stops took about an hour and I would definitely recommend it. After the tour, we returned to the hotel and called it a night.
Unlike most extended stay hotels, breakfast wasn’t included with our room and we decided not to buy the breakfast buffet at the onsite restaurant. We made the quick walk to Publix and got some brunch there to bring back to the room. After we ate we went down to the lobby to check out and head over to Port Everglades. The hotel does offer a shuttle service but we decided to use Uber instead.
I can definitely see myself staying at this hotel again if I’m ever in Fort Lauderdale. The rooms were very spacious and the general area seemed nice and I preferred it to the area close to the port.
Coming up next: a trip report of our cruise on Allure of the Seas!