We are trying to decide between these two properties. We will be using points, so cost difference is not a factor for us. We will have a rental car, though we would prefer not to drive everywhere if we don't have to.
We are a family of 4: mom, dad, son 15, and daughter 10. Mostly we are looking for some good beach time, though we would also like some relatively wallet-friendly food as well. We will be here for three nights pre-cruise.
Another factor is our friends. We have another family of four joining us who will need a nearby budget-friendly hotel. So, proximity to other hotel choices (for them) is a factor in our decision.
Any thoughts or suggestions?
I can highly recommend the Harbor beach, I've been going there for 20 years. I have not stayed at the Marriott Hollywood Beach as it does not look as good as the Harbor Beach. Also, there is not so much to do in Hollywood. The Harbor Beach occupies a huge site with a magnificent large pool, an amazing spa with its own (but tiny) pool, and a truly amazing beach. There is no road to cross, the hotel is right there on the beach. I was there last year before the new restaurants opened on site but friends tell me they are very good but not too cheap so you might need to eat outside the hotel to save your family dollars. Fort Lauderdale has some excellent restaurants, both cheap and expensive. There is a Bubba Gump Shrimp factory restaurant located on the strip on the beachfront and I can highly recommend Big Louies itailian restaurant which offers massive food portion at very cheap prices. There is so much choice around town. There is also the Galleria Mall which is an very large indoor mall and this has a good food court for inexpensive food as well as some wonderful shops including a large Macys and Dillards. There is a good selection of restaurants at the Riverfront complex and a large multiplex movie house. You wont find parking cheap at the Harbor Beach but its location makes it worth the while.
I agree with the others. Marriott Harbor Beach is a wonderful hotel. If you can get a room with a pool ocean view, which we prefer to the better ocean front. There are areas close by to get more economical meals as well as shopping and other activities. The service at this location is super.
the Marriott Harbor Beach is a beautiful property. In fact we are getting married there June '11. It's right on the beach and is walking distance to the strip (A1A) that has many options to shop, eat and drink...also nightly entertainment. I will tell you though that it is pricey to eat and drink there....
The Ft. Lauderdale Beach Courtyard is also just a short walk up the street on A1A and is very nice...
You also might consider Marriott's Beachplace Towers, again just a short walk up the street and they feature very nice timeshare villas. A two bedroom villa is about 1100 sq ft...plenty of room for 6 people or so. It's a high-rise that sits above 3 floors of shops and restaurants and is right across the street from the beach and next to the Ft. Lauderdale Ritz Carlton. We visit the area 3 or 4 times a year and Beachplace is our first choice...
Congratulations on your wedding in June, The Harbor Beach will be a wonderful setting. Personally i dont like Marriotts Beachplace. When it first opened the shops below where of a high standard, ie, there were well known popular brands like GAP and a really good restaurant (name escapes me now), anyway, the restaurant and the GAP and the other branded shops all closed down and it became cheap, tatty shopping. There was a lot of noisy entertainment in the square directly below the apartments, which I have to say are very nice indeed and large. However, the pool deck area leaves a lot to be desired, up on a high level with limited space. The neighbouring Ritz Carlton, although a stunning hotel, also has one of these high level pool decks and this and the Beachplace apartments are over the busy road to get to the beach itself. When you compare any of the hotels on the strip to the Marriott Harbor Beach there is just no comparison. The Harbor Beach's footprint is huge, so is the pool and pool area, it sits right on the beach and there is direct access without having to cross any roads so very safe for children. I consider the Harbor Beach to be the best hotel in Fort Lauderdale, even if its not as grand as something like the Ritz Carlton, it does have better facilities and thats why I go there year after year. (and so does Mr Marriott!).
I have never been to Harbor Beach and I see lots of wonderful comments here about the property. However, I must put in good word about the Hollywood Beach Marriott. The hotel is beautiful, and we enjoyed time there a few summers ago just after it had been renovared. The rooms were beautiful, the staff was super, it was right on the beach, and there was a paved "boardwalk" that had many inexpensive pizza shops with great pitcher and beer specials if you are looking for a cheap night out. It was a very short drive to Fort Lauderdale, we went to Las Olas for a more upscale dinner. So I have to give it thumbs up.
Since you will be using points, I agree that Marriott's Harbor Beach is ideal for pre-cruise 3 nights. A few years back we booked 10 nights in Fort Lauderdale. To get the lower airfare, the first 3 nights were at Harbor Beach using Marriott Rewards PointSavers and then we moved to Marriott Vacation Club at BeachPlace Towers for the week on an Interval exchange. This was an ideal arrangement as our 3 guests joined us for a week at BeachPlace and had there own bedroom and bath plus a pull-out queen sofa to use. We enjoyed all of the comforts of home with a fully-loaded kitchen even washer/dryer.
Booking BeachPlace Towers on Marriott Rewards Points is feasible and cost-effective for 3 nights. Like Harbor Beach, BeachPlace is a Category 6 and will require 30,000 points per night. However, 30,000 points gets you only two double beds and 1 bath at Harbor Beach. At Beachplace you have 2 bedrooms and 2 baths plus a pull-out sofa in the living room and pull-out sofa in the guest room for sleeping accomodations up to 8 people. It's 5,000 points additional per bedroom for a total of 40,000 points per night.
Above: BeachPlace Towers Living room with pull out sofabed.
Below: Master bedroom suite with 4 fixture master bath including jacuzzi tub and separate shower.
Above: BeachPlace Towers dining/kitchen. Kitchen is fully loaded with refrigerator, stove, microwave, dishwasher, service for 8 and Washer/Dryer.
Below: BeachPlace guest bedroom has private bath, kitchenette and pull-out sofabed.
Considering that one can buy up to 50,000 points at $12.50 per 1,000 points, it would be very wallet-friendly for your friends to share the cost of buying the additional points on a cash basis so all can enjoy sharing the larger accomodations. With a fully-loaded kitchen, 3 days groceries combined with take-out will be wallet friendly too.
If you are renting a car and parking is a consideration, do note that Harbor Beach charges $25/day vs. Hollywood Beach at $15/day for on-site parking. BeachPlace charges $14/day for parking - so for 3 nights worth considering all options.
Beachplace is located directly on the Fort Lauderdale strip w/in walking distance to several dining venues. The beach is across the street. IMO, Harbor Beach is more isolated and private - which might be just perfect for the beachtime you're hoping to enjoy. Plus, if you are looking to leave the home experience, home and enjoy full service luxury - that's Harbor Beach!
That is an easy one... MHB is outstanding in every aspect.... been to both with wife and three childeren/teenagers... and both are nice but MHB is a step above... short and easy cab ride to pier for ship... walk to restaurants ranging from Subway to Shula's... great beach and pool area... you can't miss with MHB... and I'm usually overly critical.