Rooms with Spectacular Views: The Diplomat Beach Resort overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and
… [+] © Laura Manske
Pillow Talk. Hollywood’s much-beloved, award-winning, 1,000-guestroom The Diplomat Beach Resort rises 39 stories with spacious rooms and generous balconies. In 2017, the iconic property (a member of the Curio Collection by Hilton) underwent a $100 million transformation. Its soaring three-story lobby strategizes a layout that harbors both hideaway nooks with indoor cabanas (for romantic canoodling or biz meetings) and conversation-starter seating with grouped furnishings that foster islands of camaraderie. The ample entrance is experiential. Don’t just pass through it; interact with it—admire towering palm trees under a natural-light glass ceiling and artwork that summons attuned minutes of wide-eyed lingering.
What is it about palm trees that make us smile?
© Laura Manske
Even the broad, swanky open-air lobby bar—facing the sand, the water, the sky—beckons your notice. Throughout this property, a distinct sense of place intoxicates—evident in its decor and artwork: beach-motif fabrics, tropical prints, driftwood accents, nautical touches, soothing colors: sea-foam greens and an array of blues.
Life’s a Beach: The Diplomat’s art selections are joyful eye-openers.
© Laura Manske
In guest rooms, dressed with a mix of mid-century and natural wood furnishings, plantation shutters divide bathroom and bedroom. And then there are the quirky, artsy,
wow-this-is-cool design extras, such as a floor lamp that has a thick nautical rope-column seemingly floating like magic. A hundred little aha! somethings add up to a big impressive everything. Kudos to design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates. Appreciate the resort’s floral, verdant flourishes and landscaping lushness. Most of all, understand the pervading message: You are here to celebrate the mingling of sea, shore and shared smiles.
Looking Good: This enormous vibrant artwork hangs in the lobby of The Dipomat Beach Resort.
© Laura Manske
There are two sun-sparkled pools, 25 private waterfront cabanas (attended by pool concierges) and action-packed diversions: jet skiing, ocean kayaking and paddle-boarding. Al fresco Frolicking.
Bird’s-eye View: In addition to an adults-only oasis, the resort cheers children at a Dip +
… [+] © Laura Manske
Palate-pleasers. The Diplomat Beach Resort shines as a South Florida culinary brainstorm—home to several of Hollywood’s most outstanding restaurants. Among The Diplomat’s eight eateries, Monkitail—a Japanese gastropub masterminded by renowned restaurateur and chef Michael Schulson and executive chef Taka Lee—excites. Give yourself over to its full sensory experience, reveling in the aromas, tastes, textures and deft presentation of Monkitail’s moxie menu. Expect ace ambience—sophisticated yet earthy, the restaurant is outfitted with handsome woods, metals and leathers; smooth service by an informed staff; a balanced wine list; interesting sake choices and specialty cocktails, such as the Monkitail (bourbon, rye, vermouth with attention-provoking barrel stave smoke); Zen Mist (gin, Chartreuse, yuzu, green tea and grapefruit); and Ming Mule (Shōchū, lychee, mint and ginger beer).
On Fire: Monkitail’s cocktail mastery is applause-worthy. Here, its namesake drink combines bourbon,
… [+] © Laura Manske
Orchestrate a symphony of communal plates for your table-mates. Among favorites: shishito peppers (with aioli, chili and lemon); duck scrapple bao bun (with maple teriyaki, cucumber and chili); mushroom gyoza (with ginger, truffle and ponzu). Its Kobe beef and lamb chops are prepared robatayaki style (similar to barbecue in which food is heated over hot charcoal). Go all out for sweet endings: chocolate Genmai Cha (a classic Japanese green tea mixed with toasted, popped rice) and milk chocolate crémeux, caramelized chocolate financier and crispy rice; “cotton” cheesecake (cream cheese mousse, Chantilly cream, mandarin gel and orange segments). Every Wednesday at The Diplomat,
Schulson teaches an Art of Sushi Making class. Also ask about Monkitail’s discreet cocktail lounge, Nokku, which offers private rooms for karaoke. Slip into that backroom and sing your heart out.
Bites Just Right: Monkitail’s sushi, sashimi and bao bun variations supremely satisfy.
Esteemed chef, restaurateur, television personality and author,
Geoffrey Zakarian contributes Point Royal to The Diplomat’s restaurant roster. With a focus on what Zakarian calls Coastal American Cuisine, executive chef Daniel Siegelman expertly serves up a diverse bounty of dishes, small and large, such as grandma’s classic chicken soup with dill; risotto with fresh-shaved truffle, mascarpone and truffle pecorino; butter-poached lobster roll; grilled branzino with fennel, cilantro, local greens and citrus vinaigrette; and macaroni gratin with smoked gouda, mozzarella, scallions and NDUJA—a spicy, spreadable, Italian pork salami. Enjoy a festive raw bar extravaganza with seafood galore.
Dine indoors or outdoors at Point Royal, a restaurant by Geoffrey Zakarian with an
… [+] ©LauraManske
In the lobby’s bar, a Saturday music series called Sunset Sessions, arranged by Latin Grammy-nominated artist and producer
Mr. Pauer, spotlights top talent who perform footsteps away from where Frank Sinatra and other yesteryear headliners once crooned.
Diplomat Prime Steakhouse sizzles under the direction of executive chef Rashaad Abdool. In many ways, it feels like a coveted throwback to 1950s and ‘60s Madmen-like indulgences. Classic cocktails (Manhattan, Negroni, Old Fashioned, award-winning martinis), thick aged prime beef, robust wine selections (from the New and Old World)—served in a comfy, formal roominess with white linen-covered tables. Abdool finesses a reimagining of what reigned best in that era: jumbo lump crab cake (refreshed with carrot butter, apple chutney, salsa criolla and onion ashes); Ōra King salmon (envisioned anew with pink peppercorn beurre blanc, poached asparagus and shiitake mushroom chips); sweet corn bisque (made more thrilling with blue crab, black truffle, crème fraîche and caviar); and bone-in filet mignon (offered with béarnaise, bordelaise or au poivre sauce, of course, as well as unexpected chimichurri).
Candy & Cones: A kaleidoscope of color.
© Candy & Cones / The Diplomat Beach Resort
For tempting treats any time of day, don’t for a second think that the only customers in the
Candy & Cones shop are families with kids. Adults eagerly ogle the house-churned ice creams, colorful cupcakes, cute cake pops, sizable ice cream sandwiches and other sugar rushes. Everything about this upbeat dessert parlor pleasantly screams: “Holy confection!”
Just say, “Spa-ahh!” Among Florida’s many reinvigorating hotel spas, The Diplomat Beach Resort’s self-care sanctuary excels. Its 14,000-square-foot, full-service Spa + Wellness facility has 10 treatment rooms with a range of body therapy and beauty boosters, Vichy shower, aromatherapy sauna and wall of gentle rain-like water in the middle of a dimmed resting area with private chaise lounges for serenity. The 24/7, two-story fitness center revs up with state-of-the-art equipment: a cardio deck with elliptical, stationary bikes and treadmills—all hosting integrated docking stations. Core Fitness Training classes are popular.
Melting Pot. One of Hollywood’s strengths is its scope of cuisines from around the globe. There are many to sample, fine dining to very casual. Some authentic, inspired standouts hail from South America, such as Viva Brazil and Runas Peruvian Cuisine.
On North Ocean Drive, dive into seafood and snap selfies with spectacular sunsets at
GG’s Waterfront Bar & Grill, owned by veteran restaurateurs Dan and Lise-Anne Serafini, where chef Russ Aaron Simon reels in such crowd-approved dishes as harissa-spiced octopus (with marinated peppers, golden raisins, cured olives, potatoes and Moroccan chermoula); elote (Mexican street corn with cotija-crema aioli, tomatillo salsa verde and popcorn shoots); and local Wahoo crudo (with juzu-chili marinade, spicy mayo, shiso, radish and micro-flowers).
Hollywood Beach bingo.
That’s just for starters. Main courses include seared ahi tuna (with black garlic tapenade, eggplant, cauliflower, balsamic onion, charred radicchio and arugula), cioppino (with clams, mussels, scallops, shrimp, calamari and local fish); and roasted salmon (with miso-ginger glaze, baby carrots, snow peas, bok choy and shiitake mushrooms). Save extra eating energy for pastry chef Dani Veit’s bananas Foster bread pudding (with Valrhona milk chocolate, caramelized white chocolate, candied walnuts, brûléed banana and butter pecan ice cream); chocolate bombe (with chocolate mousse, salted caramel, dark chocolate crumb and black raspberry sorbet); and Key lime pie (with macadamia-graham crust, white chocolate, strawberry coulis and dehydrated lime). At Sunday brunch, listen to live Caribbean music.
For prized Japanese
kaiseki—the traditional multi-course meal— Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood Hotel & Casino’s Kuro restaurant is a must. Executive chef Alex Becker oversees fab-fashioned maki, sushi,
sashimi, zensai and tempura. Try koji lamb (with cauliflower, kabocha croquette and blueberry jus); Wagyu donburi (with braised shortrib and onsen tamago); and snapper nitsuke (with root vegetables, soy-dashi broth) in a luxurious, gargantuan setting. Rising maestro pastry chef Ross Evans’ Japanese doughnuts (with anko ganache, peanut butter and matcha anglaise) and apple tobanyaki (with roasted pecans, whiskey ice cream and soy caramel) are memorable. Always leave room for his creations.
Savor kebabs and mezze at
A la Turca, a family-run tribute to Turkish cuisine. Owner and chef Gerardo Avila devises a comfort-food menu that melds Mediterranean, European and American flavors. Taste the beyti (with minced lamb breast and garlic, folded into a flat lavash bread, then topped with tomato sauce, garlic yogurt and hot butter) and the vegan-style stuffed eggplant. Sweet tooth? Zero in on the baklava (a filo pastry comprised of pistachios and honey).
Sunlight and Sparkles: Oh so pool!
© Laura Manske
Culture Connection. The Downtown Hollywood Mural Project curates more than 20 murals painted on buildings. These contemporary outdoor images by local, national and international artists enhance and enlighten the visual tapestry of the Hollywood community. Cinema Paradiso is Hollywood’s art-house theater and screens some of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival movies; this 34th anniversary year’s presentations are held in November. The Art and Culture Center of Hollywood is an exuberant mecca for gallery exhibitions, quality education endeavors and live stage shows. Currently jazzed-about is the Artists Draw Their Studios project for which 60 creators reveal their private workplaces (through January 5, 2020). The 10-acre Arts Park at Young Circle promotes concerts, movie nights, food trucks and meet-ups with artists (painters, glass blowers, jewelry designers).