The motel restoration trend gets a Florida twist
In 1949, the three-building Escape Hotel opened a few blocks west of A1A, the first year-round hotel to open in Fort Lauderdale. Over 70 years later, it’s been restored to a freshened-up version of its 1950s glory as the Kimpton Goodland, an Art Deco, midcentury diamond ideal for a few sunny days in Florida. Its old bones have been turned into white, open-air hallways and its doors have been painted pastel blue. They wrap around private courtyards and a verdant garden pool. Now, at the Kimpton, it’s all soft edges and ocean breeze.
The courtyards host daily yoga classes, live music and occasional installations, while the pool is lined with hammocks, plush seating areas and a breezy poolside bar. That bar serves up an impressive array of original cocktails and food from Botanic, the hotel’s restaurant. On the eighth floor of the adjoining condo tower sits a soon-to-open rooftop pool available to all guests. This one sports a panoramic view of the Intracoastal Waterway and downtown Fort Lauderdale, giving guests the opportunity to enjoy the city from the quiet confines of the hotel.
Two minutes from the beach, but far enough away for quiet
The Kimpton Goodland sits in an area known as North Beach Village, a little residential enclave on the western side of Fort Lauderdale Beach. Stroll the streets nearby and you’ll encounter friendly locals walking their dogs, a handful of cars and not much else.
That said, it’s also only a few blocks off A1A — the same beachfront avenue Vanilla Ice made famous — so if you’re looking for action, you won’t have to go far. The beach is literally a two-minute walk out the front door, as are the W and Conrad hotels with their bevvy of bars and restaurants. Stroll a little further south on A1A, and you’ll find the heart of Fort Lauderdale Beach, which during March and April is a total spring break scene. Even when the spring breakers are busy at school or at their summer internships, the beach stays pretty lively. Don’t worry if you’re not here to rage. The Kimpton Goodland is far enough removed from the action that you’ll barely know the party center of the universe is less than a mile away.
However, Fort Lauderdale is not just a beach. Here is some other cool stuff nearby:
- Just north of the hotel on A1A you’ll find Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, a long swatch of undeveloped wilderness by the water, where you can kayak through Florida as it once was. Keep your eyes peeled and you may even spot some gopher tortoises!
- Most of Fort Lauderdale’s best restaurants line Las Olas Boulevard, which sits about a mile south and west of the Goodland. Borrow a bike from the front desk and get prepared to eat.
- Grab the Water Taxi at Shooters Waterfront, about a mile north of the hotel, and cruise the Intracoastal Waterway into downtown Fort Lauderdale.
- The historic Bonnet House Museum and Gardens is about a 10-minute walk from the Kimpton Goodland. The historic estate is filled with unique art and surrounded by lush gardens, and can be done in about an hour.
- Live music abounds in Fort Lauderdale, and though your only option for it on the beach is the legendary Elbo Room, you’re less than 20 minutes from both Culture Room and Revolution Live, which host nationally touring acts.
- The Broward Center for the Performing Arts and the Museum of Discovery and Science both sit in downtown Fort Lauderdale, about 10 minutes away by car.
- For what to do in nearby Miami, check out our full guide here.
Cool, comfortable, modern rooms with retro touches
For a quick weekend getaway to the beach, the rooms at the Kimpton Goodland are just about perfect. Though not large, they’re bright and cool and have beds that make you want to sleep all day. Each room comes with a retro, pastel mini-fridge and 1950s-style speaker with Bluetooth and auxiliary cord. They’re all adorned in light wood floors and white tile bathrooms, a stylish step forward for the hotel’s midcentury resort past.
Although, if you’re looking for a long-term stay, this might not be the place for you. While each room does offer a small closet, that’s about it in terms of places to unpack. The bathrooms, while stylish, don’t offer much in the way of counter space, or anywhere to hang towels or wet bathing suits. Still, for a few days on the beach it’s about as good as it gets in the under-$300 range.
The Kimpton Goodland has three basic categories of rooms, all of which include robes, large flatscreen TVs and two bottles of water:
Essential Rooms – The Goodland’s smallest rooms come in double, queen and king bed options, with a wooden desk, small seating area and a houndstooth-tiled bathroom filled with Atelier Bloem bath products. At around 300-360 square feet, space will be limited, but you will be chic and comfortable.
Premium Rooms – These rooms come with pretty much the same stuff as the Essential class, but it’s all expanded into a space of 440-500 square feet. They also come with an extra plush chair for relaxation and a slightly larger bathroom.
Junior Suite – The Kimpton Goodland has only two of these single-room corner suites, which offer the most spacious take on their basic Essential design. Each comes with a king bed that has its feet pointed toward a curved wall of windows and a double sink bathroom. Though bigger than the other room options, the Junior Suite only outpaces its closest competitor by 30-90 additional square feet. Unless the curved wall really does it for you, this room doesn’t offer a significant advantage over other Premium rooms.
Room rates begin at around $161 per night.
Two pools, beach chairs and a champagne shower caddy
The Kimpton Goodland tacks on an additional $38 resort tax per night, so make note of that when perusing nightly rates. That said, for your $38 (plus tax) you get a free daily yoga class, coffee in the lobby, plush bathrobes, two beach chairs at the beach, free Wi-Fi and two bottles of water per day. (Pro tip: If you ask nicely, they’ll probably let you have more.)
The hotel also has bikes available to all its guests on a first-come, first-serve basis, so you can explore Fort Lauderdale Beach. You’ll get to take part in the traditional Kimpton social hour, where red and white wines are poured complimentary by the pool from 5-6 p.m. There’s also a 24-hour fitness center on the ground floor, complete with cardio equipment and weights. And, for an extra charge, the Goodland will set up a shower caddy complete with champagne and two glasses, if you enjoy your bubbly with a side of steam.
The Goodland also has two swimming pools, one on the ground level and a second on the eighth floor of an adjoining condo tower. As of publication, the latter is not open to guests, but will be by fall 2021.
Food and Beverage
Just off the garden pool on the ground floor you’ll find Good Bar, which looks like an unassuming poolside cocktail shack but is much more. First, you’ll find the hotel’s spectacular cocktail menu here, with original drinks ranging from spicy tequila creations to fruity stuff like the Welcome to the 954. It also boasts a bar menu that goes way past the traditional burgers and chicken strips, offering addictive chicken bao buns, mango guacamole and other warm-weather treats.
Botanic is far more than just a place to enjoy some food next to the pool. The indoor/outdoor spot is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a menu of fresh, Caribbean-inspired food that fits the vibe of the hotel perfectly. Think ceviches, seared tuna sliders and seafood in a coconut lemongrass broth.