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The Atlantic Resort & Spa

Poshbrood chose to escape a few hot & suffocating summer days and headed south to the Sunshine State. Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in June may not be the first choice when one needs to make a clean break from Washington, DC’s oppressive humidity, but the inviting and luminescent Atlantic Resort and Spa made me forgot all about my schvitzing troubles.

The Atlantic served as a welcome oasis, away from thoughts of the national obsession with congressional texting and my own community’s hyper-focus on keeping our toddlers busy and engaged every mili-second of their summer vacations. The staff at the Atlantic took away my family’s literal and virtual baggage effortlessly. Restoration of mind, body and soul seems to be their mantra.

Upon driving up to the entrance, Poshbrood was taken in immediately by the outdoor archways with dramatically draped linen to invoke the feeling that you have entered a private beach cabana. My travel weary and nap deprived toddler caught the same whiff of paradise and stretched out on all the lounge seating available beginning at the valet station and ending at the check in.  

With his energy restored temporarily, he rebounded and tried to escape back through the doors we had entered. Score one for the Atlantic for placing sliding door sensors higher than a 3 year old’s head! He waited patiently for the doors to open, while I cheered silently that they remained firmly shut. Seriously, it’s the little things like this that I’m grateful for when travelling with my kid.

Due to our earlier than expected arrival, the hotel staff took our cell phone number & promised to find us as soon as our suite was ready. They pointed us in the direction of The Ocean Terrace Bar & Cafe where we relaxed and drank lemonade while peering at the outdoor pool and gorgeous view of the ocean. Not ten minutes later, the manager met us at the restaurant and handed us our key card.

Although most solo travellers don’t spend their vacation in their room, when you travel with small children, it’s vital to have a few amenities available to ensure your sanity. Our one bedroom suite with living room, kitchen and balcony allowed us to spread out and not be on top of each other. Our balcony, which had two locking mechanisms, made it both family friendly and offered a partial view of the ocean and beach below.  The balcony was on the smaller side, but it was large enough for two lounge chairs and a table.  

What really thrilled Mama was the generously stocked kitchen complete with sink, fridge, electric cooktop, microwave, dishware, glassware, and silverware.  Kudos to the staffer who provided a colander along with the pots and pans. Pasta was a definitely possibility for a low key meal en suite.  In addition, there were wine glasses, decanter and a corkscrew. The only missing necessities were dish soap, dishtowels and a pot holder. Later when I returned from the store with these items, I felt slightly sheepish when I discovered that the maid service had come and cleaned up our stack of dishes.  No doing chores on vacation….I guess that’s just part of the full treatment from the Atlantic. 

For our entertainment, the suite provided two large flat screen televisions, one in the bedroom and the other in the living room, with access to channels our preschooler enjoyed like Disney and Cartoon Network. Anything more than a few basic cable channels needed to be purchased through their on demand service.  A small stereo was provided, as well.

Around 6pm, the maid service provides a turn down service complete with updated weather information and a tiny gold box. The box contained two chocolate truffles from Le Belge chocolatier. Poshbrood would like to tell you that everyone in the family enjoyed them, but the truth is my family is still blissfully unaware of their existence.  You never know when one might develop food allergies and I was just trying to protect them (Right? Who’s with me?) On our final night there, I was utterly devastated to return to our room, peek in the bedroom and see nothing on the pillow. Literally my heart sank until I heard a faint knock at the door. I almost bowled over my son racing to answer it. I found a very sweet woman holding a tiny golden box and then I heard the angels sing. I literally went from utter sadness to pure enlightenment in a span of 30 seconds. 

My son spent the half hour before bedtime jumping all over the king-size bed, even though a perfectly comfortable twin sized rollaway bed was provided. After demanding that he stop jumping, he turned to me with a serious and sly face that only three year olds can get away with and said, “But mommy, I’m getting my exercise.” Thank you to the Atlantic for inspiring my son to embrace his inner Jane Fonda. By the way, the rollaway bed greatly added to our comfort after he collapsed into a deep sleep. The Atlantic also provides cribs for the babies and connecting rooms for the families with teenagers.

Speaking of getting a good cardio workout, we ventured to the Atlantic gym, which shares the same floor as the spa and the outdoor heated pool. You step off the elevator and the smell is undeniable… it smelled like the ocean. The restfulness lured me into the gym for an hour workout while my family played poolside. Thankfully, the treadmills are all lined up by the window to offer a fantastic view of the ocean and pool, so I was able to watch the merriment ensue outdoors while I enjoyed an hour to myself. 

The pool was truly beautiful and perfectly set up for families with children of all ages. The depth ranged from 3-4 feet and had easy access on several sides.  Every day I looked forward to hearing the calls of Marco Polo, while watching my son jump from the ladder into his dad’s arms. It became our morning and a nightly ritual. The hotel provides towels for both the pool and the beach for free and relies on the honor system to return them.  A very thoughtful staff member saw my son playing and brought him some pool toys. The wait staff offers lunch and drinks either pool side or on the terrace. 

Another perk of the Atlantic is its prime location directly across from the A1A beach. It’s a 2 minute walk from door to seashell.  It’s not affiliated with the hotel, so we rented a few necessary items: $20 for a standing umbrella & $10 for one lounge chair for an all-day rental. An outdoor shower on the beach is available, too. Although we didn’t visit it, there is a kids’ playground on the sand a short walk from the hotel. For older children, there’s a volleyball court.

The Atlantic has two eating establishments. The Ocean Terrace offers upscale bar food, snacks and poolside drinks and cocktails while Trina is a fine dining experience.  If it’s a quieter dinner or night life you want, the full concierge service at the Atlantic will arrange babysitting services for your children.

When you go to Trina, all you need to know is three little words: Black. Truffle. Burger. Forget the beaches, sun and co-eds on spring break. The black truffle burger should be reason enough to head to Ft. Lauderdale. For dessert, homemade ginger beer ice cream came on a bed of sand (crushed cookie crumbs, I assume) with seashells shaped out of white chocolate. The kids menu had very reasonably priced options for every meal. At breakfast, our son enjoyed a healthy serving of delicious warm blueberry compote on light fluffy pancakes. The adorable menu was a coloring book with games and activities that kept both of us engaged while we waited a short time for our meals. 

Finally, both Poshbrood parents had an opportunity to experience The Spa Atlantic. The signature treatment, Mediterranean Lullaby, was provided by Michelle, a former nurse and an expert healer. First came an exfoliating body scrub which was followed by a full body warm mud treatment. Scented oils such as oregano, thyme and basil reminded me of my garden at home.  While covered in mud and wrapped in warm cocoon of blankets, Poshbrood enjoyed a peppermint scented scalp and face massage. I can only describe the feeling of this blissful state as floating in water and being enclosed in a comforting hug. After a private bath for 20 minutes to soak off the mud, a massage and moisturizer application completed the 130 minute treatment. 

When it came time for Poshbrood’s other half to experience the Atlantic’s signature Beer Treatment, he was a bit hesitant at first. The Beer Treatment, a similar massage and soak with the essence of beer infused along the way, was originally created as an Octoberfest promotion. It became so popular, they kept it on. My husband left our room saying he couldn’t imagine lounging at the spa for 2 hours and he was sure he would leave early. Well, he came back three hours later, deeply appreciative of the treatment he received from Michelle.  He walked in a spa rookie and left a spa true believer.

Our stay at the Atlantic was made even more special by the genuineness of the staff. Whether it was the manager fist-pumping my son or hearing the attendants warmly say “Welcome back” when we drove up to the valet station, the Atlantic strives for an exceptional and memorable experience for each and every guest. Even, the bell hop took special care not to take my son’s first rolling suitcase away from him!

Studios starting at $169 per night offer a kitchenette complete with dishware, cookware and appliances. One bedroom suites start at $299 (ocean front starts at $409), Two bedroom suites start at $599 and Penthouses start at $1,100. The suites and the penthouses offer full kitchens.  Don’t forget to check out their summer specials. You might get the room and experience you want at the right price: http://www.ir1mail.com/ath/2011/06/summerspecials/

Submitted by Karen Nudelman. Check out her fab site "Cooking with Karen!" http://www.karencooking.com/

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