In Miami and Fort Lauderdale, no hotels allow you to wake up, open your balcony door and step right on the beach in a matter of seconds— but go north to Lauderdale-By-the-Sea, and this privilege exists at Plunge Beach Resort. Here’s our expert Plunge Beach hotel review.
Plunge Beach Resort, a former budget hotel that completely rebranded in 2017, is a resort sanctuary in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, a quiet beach town in Broward County, which includes Fort Lauderdale, and Miami is just adjacent. If you want a vacation that’s away from the crowds, with the luxury of having a beach all to yourself, check out our Plunge Beach review.
Plunge Beach Resort in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Review
The rebranding of Plunge Beach was thoughtful and even courageous: Plunge has an ultra-modern and edgy vibe in a town other hotels (however charming) play it safe.
In fact, with its new makeover, Plunge Beach Resort aims to seduce the millennials and hip, young families that typically vacation in South Beach— and it now has the allure to make that happen. Guests at Plunge Beach Resort can expect Instagram-ready backdrops and visually engaging aesthetics, like hand-painted murals and chalkboards in the hotel rooms, colorful and modern furnishings, and contemporary artwork in public spaces.
But the design detail that truly makes Plunge Beach Resort stand out is that it’s the only hotel in the region with a room that offers direct beach access.
Plunge has three buildings for accommodations: Island, Beach and Bungalow residences, each with its own distinct flair and identity. Guests who want direct-beach access will have to specifically book the “Island View Bungalow” in the Bungalow section—and it’s surprisingly affordable. Keep reading.
It’s extremely rare for me to stay at a resort that caters to families, but I read about the Bungalow residences, a self-contained, adults-only section of the resort with its own pool, and I checked in for two nights with Ruby (yes, Plunge Beach Resort is very pet friendly!).
The two-level Bungalow oasis has 20 rooms surrounding the pool, though the best rooms are those directly facing the ocean.
I booked the Island View Junior Suite Bungalow on the ground floor. This was ideal, since it came equipped with a private green yard (great for Ruby). The bungalow is steps from the adult pool, but the true highlight: it’s right on the beach. You do not have to get in an elevator, cross a street, walk across a resort or take a bike, like other resorts in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, to get to the beach. Once you’re on your private lawn, the only thing separating you from the sand is a glass partition.
Being right on the beach is a rare privilege you’ll find in few places in the world (like Maldives and Thailand) as a result of existing zoning laws, especially in the US. That’s right. There are very, very few hotels in America that have hotels with rooms directly on the beach (not even Hawaii), so this is a real treat for guests, and it’s why we had to do a Plunge Beach Resort review.
The Island View Junior Suite Bungalow has two separate bedrooms, each with its own king bed, 50” TV and respective, private bathroom. Anyone booking this suite will get their own designated bedroom, rather than two beds in one space, which is a nice surprise if you’re booking with a friend or family (tell them about our Plunge Beach Resort review to get them excited!)
The suite is also equipped with a kitchen (with dining table, microwave and fridge), living area with pull-out couch and sliding glass doors that open to the yard, entrance to the adult pool and the beach. The “Ocean View Junior Suite Bungalow” is directly above the Island View suite, which has unobstructed, direct views of the sea.
I was impressed with the design of the suite. It was cheerful, colorful and fun, and I loved the octopus artwork on the walls. I could tell that Plunge Beach Resort put a lot of time and thought into making the rooms stand out, and it was appreciated.
I should also mention these bungalow suites are a phenomenal deal, selling at approximately $330 a night. There’s true value in that, considering you’re getting *two* bedrooms with *two* bathrooms—not to mention it’s right on the beach. In Miami or Fort Lauderdale, a $330 room will be one single room, likely in a high-rise hotel and more than likely will not include a kitchen, adult pool and close proximity to the sand.
If you want to stay in the Bungalow residence without the direct-beach access (but still very close enough), bungalow rooms are still affordable, but you’re not doing it right if you’re not traveling in style. That Florida sun is HOT, and when you’re squinting all day, you’re gonna get wrinkles! SO definitely bring sunglasses. I actually splurged on this amazing pair at Bloomingdales. I think they have the best selection, and I found some that were surprisingly affordable.
Plunge Beach Resort includes a small, 24-hour fitness center, a main pool, hotel bicycles, free Wifi and several food and beverage outlets, like Backflip Beach Bar, Octopus Lobby Gastropub (serving breakfast, lunch and dinner) and a coffee shop serving bites like baked goods and sandwiches.
Also, it was apparent to me the staff were happy to be here, which is a good sign for a hotel. During my stay, I met a waiter/bartender who previously worked at Montage Deer Valley (an upscale resort I stayed in while vacationing in Park City, Utah), and he relocated to Florida. Rather than working at a similar five-star resort, he chose to work at Plunge Beach Resort. This speaks volumes in terms of level of service the resort is going for.
And, of course, the sunsets are as good as they come!
Do you want to add to our Plunge Beach Resort review? Let us know what you thought in our comments below.
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