What makes the best Florida hotel? You have to be right on the beach – that’s why you are here – plus have lovely pools with comfy lounge chairs. Throw in family activities, friendly staff and huge rooms. Add easy access to the Fort Lauderdale airport, good food, top notch spa and luxury touches like cabanas and Lago Mar Beach Resort & Club has it all.

Best Florida hotel is paradise for kids at Lago Mar, Fort Lauderdale

The family-friendly Lago Mar has a playground on the beach. Photo: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

Hotel Review: Lago Mar Beach Resort & Club

Fort Lauderdale made a name for itself with spring break parties and cruise ship departures, but there is another, more genteel side of the area, represented by the classic Lago Mar Beach Resort & Club. This family run hotel (they also own a sister property in Costa Rica) is ideal for families that want quiet pampering, with lots of space, great amenities and easy access to Fort Lauderdale’s attractions.

Loaded with Amenities 

The best Florida hotel might be too cold to swim, but the Lago Mar pool in Fort Lauderdale looks lovely

The lagoon pool, as seen from the balcony of our ocean view suite. Photo: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

The Lago Mar is so loaded with amenities, so many that this alone could merit a separate article. First and foremost: the 500-foot private beach, with soft white sand.

If you aren’t a sand person, you can swim in either pool; a lagoon pool that attracts families, and a quieter pool suitable for dips between book chapters. Plenty of lounge chairs surround the pools with large pool towels. And between the pools and the beach are a couple of hammocks for further relaxation.

There is also a playground on the sand before you get to the beach. Imagine laying in a lounge while your kids frolic on the climbing structure.

Find the best Florida hotel in Fort Lauderdale; the Lago Mar Beach Resort & Spa has it allThe resort has six tennis courts, a couple of volleyball nets and a 9 hole miniature golf course. All are free to use. There’s also a giant chess set, a fun way to introduce your kids to the game.

The resort has a lovely spa, with a signature, intoxicating scent that wafts over you as you head to the fitness center. The full-service spa offers couples massages, prenatal massage, body wraps, and teen facials. There are even lower priced teen manicures and pedicures.

The fitness center has treadmills and stationary bikes with individual screens, plus free weights, strength machines, and weight benches. It gets cramped when there are more than a handful of people using the space, but there are plenty of ways to get exercise outdoors.

Dining

You don't have to leave the Lago Mar Resort to eat.

Healthy lunch at the Lago Mar. Photo: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

The Soda Shop has breakfast items like oatmeal topped with fresh berries, egg sandwiches, and French toast; at lunch, there are burgers, wraps, paninis and salads. If you are out by the pool or beach, grab sandwiches or pizza at the outdoor Ocean Grill.

If you want heartier food, the Palm Garden has a huge breakfast buffet with plenty of fruit, cereals and egg dishes. At lunch, there are big salads; I had the Key West shrimp, with avocado, jicama, mango and greens. There was also a lobster salad and salmon with kale and blue cheese. The only vegetarian option for non-fish eaters is an appetizer of hummus with raw vegetables.

Acquario, the modern bistro, has choices like scallops with cauliflower puree and persimmon relish, wild mushroom ravioli and acorn squash and poached pear salad. Acquario is only open for dinner, and like all the other places to eat on site, there is an extensive children’s menu.

The Room at the Best Florida Hotel

The family friendly Lago Mar Resort & Club in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Our room at the Lago Mar. Photo: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

Rooms are large, with kitchenettes or full kitchens, balconies, flat screen televisions, and daily newspaper delivery. Our suite had a separate living room with a pull-out couch, a kitchenette with a microwave, mini fridge and coffee maker, along with a second sink, plenty of plush towels and spa robes. We also had a balcony overlooking the lagoon pool and the beach.

The bathroom was surpassingly claustrophobic, though. A sink room, accessed by the bedroom and the hall was fine, but this led to an interior room with a toilet and a tub that was quite cramped. I spied several rooms with much roomier bath areas (some suites have two bathrooms), so if this matters to you, be sure to request that.

Plenty of room for families at the Lago Mar, with kitchenette and living room.

Kitchen area of our room, with living room – and beach – beyond. Photo: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

What works for families

  • Easy beach access
  • Large rooms with separate bedrooms; there are two and three bedroom suites with two bathrooms and connecting rooms for large family gatherings
  • Microwaves and mini-fridges in all rooms
  • Kids menu at all the dining establishments
  • On-site playground
  • Teen spa treatments
Did someone say free? Keep kids busy paling mini golf at the Lago Mar

Free mini golf at Lago Mar keeps kids entertained. Photo: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

What doesn’t work for families

  • There is no wading pool
  • There is no hot tub (my kids, as teens, loved to hop from pool to hot tub)