I decided to stay here at the Residence Inn by Marriott Fort Lauderdale Pompano Beach Central because it is close to my office location in Pompano Beach. I also need some more nights and spending to re-qualify for Ambassador Elite with Marriott Bonvoy. The Residence Inn by Marriott Fort Lauderdale Pompano Beach Central offers complimentary parking as well.
The Residence Inn by Marriott Fort Lauderdale Pompano Beach Central is located next to I-95 but in a very secluded area. Access to the hotel is through a small neighborhood street that runs through an industrial area. The hotel is located next to a small lake. It’s not a lake for swimming or boating, but it gives the property a more tranquil feeling. It’s also a good spot to watch the sunset.
There is a Tri-Rail station not far from the hotel as well as a few restaurants and gas stations. It’s better to drive there as it would be a bit of a walk and there are no sidewalks next to the streets leading to the hotel. More restaurants and other recreational places are within a short driving distance as well, like Butterfly World. From the hotel it’s about a 40-minute drive, with no traffic, to downtown Miami and about 30 minutes to West Palm Beach. So you are right in the center and can visit all the attractions up and down the coast.
After a late arrival at MIA and the usual long wait to pick up my luggage from the baggage claim, I took the 40-minute drive to the hotel in Pompano Beach. I arrived around 11 p.m. and went inside to check in. My first surprise was the main entrance. It consists of 2 sets of sliding doors, which is very common in hotels, and even that it has two sets of sliding doors. One thing not so common, at least in my experience, is to have two different styles of automatic sliding doors. The outside one is a bi-part sliding door, while the internal one is a single sliding door.
There was nobody at the front desk and it took a while for someone to show up. I was standing there for quite a few minutes. As I should find out later during my stay, this is a normal situation, that the front desk is unattended and people have to always wait to get the attention of someone. Once I got the help from an agent, check-in was easy. I was hoping for an upgrade, but they were sold out for the night. Which I was already expecting, as Florida has almost no Covid-19 restrictions anymore and people are more reluctant to wear masks anyway even tho it is still required by Marriott and this property. The hotel staff was wearing masks all the time, at least when I saw them in public places and were interacting with guests.
1 King Studio (Room 427)
Immediately after entering the room, you have the kitchen area to your left. It comes with a full-size fridge, stovetop, large microwave, kitchen sink, a small dishwasher, and a small countertop as a dining area with high chairs. Besides all the appliances you also get a stocked kitchen with utensils, dishware, and pans, and pots for the stovetop.
Past the kitchen area is a dressing mirror and a small shelve which is great to put your keys and wallets to easily find them. On the other side of the kitchen countertop is an L-shaped sofa bed. Directly across from the sofa bed, against the outside wall is an office desk with a chair and a small closet with a drawer in the corner. Right next to it is a TV mounted on a higher table. The TV swivels around to be watched from the sofa, desk, or even the bed.
In the right outer corner of the room is the King bed with a large headboard and nightstands on either side. Between the bed and bathroom is a small area that features a full-size closet on the left and a counter with drawers and some shelves directly opposite the closet. The perfect spot for your suitcase and easy access to all your clothing.
On the left side of the bathroom is the vanity with a large wall-mounted mirror. On the right side is a walk-in shower with a glass wall. The shower has no doors or curtains to separate it and stop water from getting outside of the shower. Even tho the entrance to the shower is on the other side of the showerhead, water can still get on the floor outside of the shower. Strange is also that they placed the switch to turn on and off the water of the showerhead on the opposite side of the shower. Usually, it’s located right underneath the showerhead. It’s not a big deal at all, I just noticed that while using the shower.
The lobby is spacious and has a very tall ceiling with extra windows around the top edges of the ceiling. There is plenty of seating in the lobby area with comfortable chairs. Next to the main entrance is a business center comprised of a PC. This area also doubles as part of the breakfast area and has a long countertop table near the breakfast area of the lobby. More about that later.
From the lobby, you have also direct access to the outdoor swimming pool. You need your room key to open the door to the pool. The main entrance area to the pool is around the corner from the lobby, down the hallway. There are also restrooms for the pool area, the fitness center, and the guest laundry. The pool is nice and big and is perfect to relax and hang out in the hot Florida weather. There are many loungers around the pool and even some tables with chairs. The far end of the pool area features a BBQ grill. To enjoy the evenings you can gather around the fire pit in the pool area.
Access to the fitness center is only possible with appointments. Your room key card won’t open the door to the fitness center. This is temporary during the Covid-19 pandemic. Which makes no sense at all, as almost none of the guest are wearing masks anywhere in public areas and Florida is wide open for business.
If you have to use the guest laundry, I recommend you to use the big washer and dryer. Seen at the front of the picture above. First of all, I was able to fit more stuff in the bigger washer and the dryer actually got my clothes dry. I had used one of the smaller dryers before and when I got my clothes back they were still a little wet and I had to hang them up in the room to completely dry or put them in for another run. In both scenarios I had the dryer set to hot. Even there is a sign which states that the dryer cycle is 30 minutes, it is actually 45 minutes if you use the big dryer in the front.
Another extremely weird thing was that you could only access the building through the main entrance. There are doors on each side of the building. You can get out, but your room key won’t work to unlock the doors. I don’t know how that makes this place any safer. If you have a room key, you have the right to be in there anyway. If you want to “smuggle” someone in, you still can, by going in yourself and then walk over to one of the side entrances and open the door. People even put wooden sticks in the door to stop it from locking. I really have no idea what’s going on with this policy. It would make it so much easier, if you park at the side of the building, to get in right there, and then I could even take the stairwell up to my room. I wasn’t able to figure this policy out. Especially as Florida has relaxed all the Covid restrictions for months already.
Normally Residence Inn hotels offer a hot continental breakfast. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic hotels offered limited breakfast service and mainly grab-and-go stuff. However, this is probably one of the worst breakfast offerings I have seen so far. Florida has almost completely re-opened as of right now (May 2021). Bars and restaurants are open, it’s rare to see people wearing masks anywhere in southern Florida, but the hotel only offers a very limited grab-and-go breakfast. This hotel is definitely using the pandemic as an excuse to save money but still charging high, almost pre-pandemic rates. Even at hotels during peak times of the pandemic in very locked down states, I got a better breakfast than here. They only offer a few items, mainly stuff you should avoid anyway. Their offering included toast bars, which actually are supposed to be heated up in an oven but can also be enjoyed at room temperature. Just interesting that the rooms don’t feature an oven, just a microwave. Besides the toast bars, you find mini donuts, granola bars, yogurts, muffins, oatmeal, and fruits. For the coffee, they don’t even offer a selection of flavored creamer, just regular creamer of a brand I never heard of. There were also water bottles for grab-and-go. Unfortunately, they didn’t offer any kind of juice, which is no problem as they are available in small bottles as well. Therefore the pandemic can’t be blamed for not offering those.
Besides the breakfast offering, there is a 24-hour marketplace right next to the front desk. There you can find small snacks and drinks. The market however tends to run out of certain stuff and it won’t get re-ordered. I even asked for some of the missing things and got told it will be re-ordered and available again soon but after two weeks, still nothing.
I used UberEats and Doordash a few times during my stay and they will deliver all the way to your room door if you choose to do so. There are also plenty of restaurants within a short drive from the hotel. UberEats lets you earn Marriott Rewards points when ordering food and you get bonus points when you do it while staying on a Marriott property.
Overall the hotel seemed rather new and my room was great. But lots of small details brought my overall excitement down. Limited housekeeping was no issue for me. I always try to opt-out of daily housekeeping. That was no issue for me, but it seems important to other people. But for example, there were only a few hand sanitizers, and all are located in the lobby area. Nothing near the elevator or on the different floors. Also, no disinfecting wipes were provided in the room but it’s advertised on their in-room TV. I also don’t see anybody at the hotel cleaning high-touch areas, also advertised. Then they ran out of toilet paper. Yes, but its not because of the apocalyptic conditions in Florida, rather than poor management. Of course, the official answer was a shipment hasn’t arrived due to Covid-19. However, all the supermarkets and even Costco is full of toilet paper. Shouldn’t management make sure that in a situation like this, they use other sources of getting toilet paper? Maybe it was just an excuse to not hand out any at all to guests as another cost-saving measure besides the terrible breakfast.
But that doesn’t surprise me at all. I am used to the less-carrying culture here down in Southern Florida. I can’t say the room wasn’t clean but I am almost positive that housekeeping didn’t spend a lot of time thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the rooms. Heck, the refrigerator is even wabbling because it was just put in place but never set up right by adjusting the feet to give it a good and solid stand.
Peter has a passion for Traveling, Photography, and Geocaching. These are the best ingredients for amazing adventures all over the globe. “Traveling is fun, no matter if you stay in a luxury hotel or travel like a backpacker.” Peter shares his experiences on his Blog www.gatetoadventures.com
Some of Peter’s photos are published on corporate websites, in-flight magazines, travel guides, and much more.