blue polo interactive Florida’s town of Hollywood has a more relaxing vibe than its Californian namesake
Florida’s town of Hollywood has a more relaxing vibe than its Californian namesakeFORT LAUDERDALE’S Hollywood is a cool bohemian haven where you can hit the beach and explore the waterways in style.11:35, 27 DEC 2014Updated09:51, 9 JAN 2015There’s a seven mile stretch of golden sand
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SLICING slowly through the mirror flat pool of the waterway, our little boat sails steadily towards the jetty.
A smiling maitre d’ waits on the dock, extending a hand to help us climb up. “Welcome to Billy’s” he beams, all white teeth and golden tan, menus clutched underarm as he shows us to our waiting table.
This is Florida’s dock and dine experience. Forget pitching up at a restaurant in a lowly taxi. In Fort Lauderdale, in an area that’s earned the reputation as America’s Venice, this is how they roll.
We have arrived in Hollywood. Well, the other Hollywood and it’s not just the small matter of 3000 miles that separate the two.
This Hollywood, part of the Greater Fort Lauderdale area on the south east coast of the Sunshine State, is not so much for self obsessed A list actors as a haven for cool bohemian types.
With an old style beach boardwalk and a quaintly historic downtown area, Little H has an altogether more laid back vibe than its Californian cousin.
And the food isn’t too bad either. At Billy’s, a legendary Stone Crab joint,
hubby and I are treated to melt in the mouth grouper and snapper while the juniors munch happily on catch of the day goujons.
Shop for bargains at the Sawgrass Mils Outlet mall
After a full on week further north at the Disney theme parks, Billy’s and the Hollywood vibe are the perfect antidotes to the 90mph fries with that Orlando thing. We watch the sun set behind the bobbing boats beside our table and wonder if life can really get much better than this.
During the summer months, the appeal of a direct Scotland to Orlando flight from Glasgow with Virgin Atlantic is too tempting to resist.
The route is pretty much rammed with families from March to October, a lesson surely that direct flights to more US destinations from Scotland would be welcomed.
I was a bit apprehensive about the nine hour journey but the airline’s impressive entertainment system (Disney’s Frozen, wall to wall Peppa Pig) kept our girls, age two and three, engrossed.
Disney ed out after our frantic theme park week, a four hour drive south lowered the blood pressure.
We split our stay between two fantastic Westin Hotels, the Diplomat Resort Spa in Hollywood, followed by the Westin Beach Resort and Spa right on Fort Lauderdale beach.
Both are next to the sands, with stunning ocean views, and being in a luxurious suite with wrap around balcony didn’t hurt.
The favourable exchange rate for Brits makes a little bit of luxury affordable. It’s five star but in a laid back way, with restaurants that cater for the little ones and the Diplomat Spa and fitness suites to keep the grown ups happy too.
A playground for the entire family, there’s a kids’ club where little ones aged 4 12 can be kept busy while mum and dad check out the golf and tennis club. We’ll definitely be back.
Fort Lauderdale has an average of 250 sunny days per year. The seven miles of palm shaded white sands are a haven for a mixed bag of snowbirds, families and city types enjoying a weekend retreat on the coast.
So far, so tempting. But what about a holiday with little ones? We were pleasantly surprised. A couple of thundery days were taken care of with indoor activities.