The tell tale sign that someone is a local in any given city is usually their lack of knowledge about their own city. Seriously. Think about it. People generally tend to explore more when they visit a new place as opposed to when they actually live there. I know there are some tourists out there who know more about New York than I do, and I lived there for ten years!
Is it because we put off exploring thinking that we have all the time in the world to do so? Is it “grass is greener on the other side” syndrome? I have no idea, but what I do know is that I am extremely guilty of this, especially since moving to south Florida after two incredible years of living in Spain.
But 2017 is the year for me to start changing that so when the Diplomat Resort and Spa invited me and a few other local bloggers to check out their newly remodeled property, I jumped on the opportunity to do so.
Walking into this Hollywood, Florida resort feels like taking a step onto the beach. The spacious lobby with its large glass windows that reach to the ceiling letting in natural light and its wooden floors, wicker furniture and patches of sand topped with driftwood, all signal the beginning of a relaxing vacation, whether you’re visiting for a few hours or for a week. They even have real palm trees in there that have been frozen (don’t ask me how that works) in order to preserve them and add more of that beach-y vibe to the lobby. If the lobby alone was so impressive, you can imagine it was only uphill from there.
From the lobby, we headed to Point Royal, one of several restaurants within the Diplomat Resort property, to enjoy some buffet-style brunch. Now, I’m usually very skeptical of buffets, especially when it comes to breakfast, and espeeeeecially when it comes to breakfast at a hotel or resort, but Point Royal took my doubts and drowned them in gravy smothered biscuits and maple-soaked waffles along with other goodies. They single-handedly proved that buffet breakfast does not equate to barely seasoned eggs, stale croissants, and questionable cold cuts that look like they came out of a Lunchables box.
Everything from the unique lychee yogurt topped with apple-tarragon compote and roasted macadamia nuts to the freshly-made omelettes and drool-worthy selection of high quality charcuterie all sent pure joy from my tastebuds straight to my heart.
I loved everything I tried at Point Royal, but there were three items in particular that stood out to me: the avocado, tomato and roasted corn salad, which sounds simple but with the chef’s added touch of salsa roja that salad became an explosion of slightly spicy flavor; a chocolate out that was moist on the inside but also had a slightly crisp exterior sitting underneath its perfectly creamy chocolate glaze; and last but not least… one of the BEST tortilla española I’ve ever had in my life.
Now, I’m no food critic, but having lived in Spain for two years means I’ve eaten my weight in tortilla española so I know my study when it comes to this traditional dish. Believe me, this is one of the best I’ve tried. The egg, onion and potato ratios heavenly and cooked to perfection– not too hard and not too mushy or soft. What really made this dish stand out, though, was its topping: a chorizo aioli that gave the tortilla just the right amount of kick to it. I had seconds… ok, thirds of the tortilla española and would gladly go back to Point Royal for that alone.
With full bellies and happy hearts, my fellow bloggers and I headed to the lobby to start our tour around the rest of the Diplomat Resort, and it was just as impressive as the brunch. In addition to Point Royal, which serves dinner too, by the way, the lobby is also most notably home to Diplomat Prime, an elegant “boutique” steakhouse, as well as a bar appropriately named, The Hotel Bar. Even though we didn’t get to stop at the bar, which I actually discovered later is an indoor and outdoor bar, it caught my attention immediately with its drink menus that looked like passports. And that small detail– not lost on a travel lover such as myself– was quite intentional as the bar’s signature drinks sample from classic conceptions made famous in historic hotel bars around the world. Some south Florida-born cocktails are also featured on the menu, and almost all drinks are made with freshly squeezed juices. I’ll definitely be bak soon for a chance to drink my way around the world at The Hotel Bar.
And if steakhouses or tasty cocktails aren’t your thing (don’t know how that’s possible but still), then cross the street to the other side of the resort property to an area known as the Diplomat Landing. There you’ll find Portico, a beer and wine garden that also serves light Italian food, and Bristol’s Burgers, an old school meets new school restaurant that has their signature meats sitting in a giant smoker outside the place hours before they open. Both dining options offer various forms of entertainment and gorgeous views of the Intracoastal Waterway where yachts and smaller boats regularly pass.
Back at the main, beach-facing side of the resort, we had two more stops on our tour: thee rooms and the pool. As if everything else we had already seen of the property wasn’t enough to convince me to staycation at the Diplomat, the rooms and poolside cabana only steps away from the beach definitely sealed the deal. The room we visited was modern and chic like something you’d see at a fancy boutique hotel in South Beach, and from its balcony were stunning views of the ocean and pool below, which is where we headed next.
We ended our day enjoying champagne and wine in the colorful poolside cabana fully equipped with plush towels, a comfy couch, a television and a fridge stocked with water bottles. I could just imagine sitting by the pool and relaxing with the sea breeze in my face after treating myself to some spa treatments. **Sigh** what an ideal day that would be.
With all the restaurants, entertainment and even shops within the Diplomat Resort and Spa, you’d never have to leave the property (although you might want to given the resort’s ideal location for exploring both Fort Lauderdale and Miami). I thoroughly enjoyed my half day staycation at the Diplomat and will definitely be back to check out the other bars and restaurants we didn’t get to indulge in. At the very least, I’ll be back for some more tortilla española. Seriously… SO. GOOD.